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Jeanne d’Arc | May 30th, 1431

580 years ago, today, those English bastards killed nineteen-year-old French revolutionary Jeanne d’Arc. Funny how things never change.

Joan of Arc or The Maid of Orléans (French: Jeanne d’Arc) is considered a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed Divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII.

The people who came after her in the five centuries since her death tried to make everything of her: demonic fanatic, spiritual mystic, naive and tragically ill-used tool of the powerful, creator and icon of modern popular nationalism, adored heroine, saint. She insisted, even when threatened with torture and faced with death by fire, that she was guided by voices from God. Voices or no voices, her achievements leave anyone who knows her story shaking his head in amazed wonder.

—Stephen Richey

Joan asserted that she had visions from God that instructed her to recover her homeland from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several more swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims and settled the disputed succession to the throne.

France at the outset of Joan of Arc's career. The dot that represents Paris is near the centre of the Anglo-Burgundian-controlled region. Rheims lies to the northeast of this area.

À treize ans, Jeanne affirme avoir entendu les voix célestes des saintes Catherine et Marguerite et de l’archange saint Michel lui demandant d’être pieuse, de libérer le royaume de France de l’envahisseur et de conduire le dauphin sur le trône. Après beaucoup d’hésitations, à seize ans, elle se met en route. Arrivée à la ville voisine, elle demande à s’enrôler dans les troupes du dauphin. Sa demande est rejetée deux fois, mais elle revient un an plus tard et Robert de Baudricourt, capitaine de Vaucouleurs, accepte de lui donner une escorte, résigné face à la ferveur populaire de la ville où Jeanne avait acquis une petite notoriété, notamment en allant rendre visite au duc malade Charles II de Lorraine. Avant son départ pour le royaume de France, Jeanne ira se recueillir dans l’ancienne église de Saint-Nicolas-de-Port, dédiée au saint patron du duché de Lorraine.

Cette statue de Jeanne d'Arc est une statue équestre de Jeanne d'Arc située a la Place des Pyramides, dans le 1er arrondissement

She was captured by the Burgundians, sold to the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court, and burned at the stake when she was 19 years old.

Twenty-five years after the execution, Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent and declared her a martyr.

Painting, ca. 1485. An artist's interpretation, since the only portrait for which she is known to have sat has not survived. (Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris, AE II 2490)

500 years on…

Jeanne was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is — along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux — one of the patron saints of France.

Statue of Joan of Arc in Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral interior, Paris

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