Military Defence

Joan of Arc: Military Leader and Patron Saint of France

The Nickname of Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc or Jeanne d'Arc in French was born c. 1412. She was nicknamed 'The Maid of Orléans' or 'La Pucelle d'Orléans' Joan was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France.

The Legacy of Joan of Arc

A peasant girl living in medieval France, Joan of Arc believed that God had chosen her to lead France to victory in its long-running war with England. Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War. With no military training, Joan convinced the embattled crown prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead a French army to the besieged city of Orléans. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted only nine days later. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII's coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction, which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English and put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. In the trial that followed, Joan was ordered to answer to some 70 charges against her, including witchcraft, heresy and dressing like a man. The Anglo-Burgundians were aiming to get rid of the young leader as well as discredit Charles, who owed his coronation to her. In attempting to distance himself from an accused heretic and witch, the French king made no attempt to negotiate Joan’s release. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.

In 1456, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She went on to become the Patron Saint of France.

Why we are Grateful4Her

Joan of Arc is a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, and she was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, and one of only four women, along with along with The Virgin Mary, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Saint Petronilla.

Joan of Arc showed leadership, determination, commitment to her King and her country and unwavering bravery. She also matched the men she fought alongside in military prowess and agility, despite not having their training or strength. She then led them into battle and into victory. Her story and the ways of her capture and death have resulted in Joan of Arc remaining in people's hearts as a popular figure immortalized in literature, painting, sculpture, and other cultural works. Since the time of her death, and thousands of famous writers, filmmakers and composers have created works about her with cultural depictions of her have continued in films, theater, television, video games, music, and performances to this day.

Interesting Life Facts

Not to be swayed from her true calling from God, and her service to her country, at the age of 16, after her father attempted to arrange a marriage for her, Joan of Arc successfully convinced a local court that she should not be forced to accept the match.