Jeanne D’ Arc is one of the most interesting female saints in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Aside from the claim of receiving visions from God, which would qualify her as a prophet, she was a peasant girl who managed to inspire a nation and rise to a point where she commanded armies. For a peasant male to have done so in 15th century France would have been unusual enough but for a woman to have done so, especially one so young is remarkable in the course of human history.
Jeanne’s life has been well documented in movies, video games, music and more. It’s known she fought in battle wearing armor and overriding the current military leaders to take an aggressive stance. Her courage is hard to doubt during the assault on the English fortress of les Tourelles she was wounded in the neck by an arrow but still got up and lead the final charge still wounded. Near the end of her time when she was wounded in the leg by a crossbow she still continued leading the fight in Paris. Of course in the end she was captured, tried and convicted for witchcraft. The trial itself was a farce with the English altering aspects of the trial to make her look guilty and several questions deliberately intended to trick her all of it intended only to find her guilty so that she could be burnt at the stake. The sentence was carried out on May 30, 1431 while a peasant held a cross where she would be able to see. The charge itself was formally lifted on July 7, 1456 during a retrial requested by her mother and the Inquisitor General Jean Brehal and then finally in 1920 she was formally canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church.
A common question raised both by Christians and Non Christians relates to if she was really a prophet and why God would intervene to put French king on the throne. As to her status as prophet her simple piety, wisdom at trial, talent in strategy and her accuracy all suggest this (she recognized the king at court without having met him before and while disguised to hide his status and as she said would happen he was crowned). As for why God would intervene in politics like this two reasons come to mind. First the Hundred Years War lasted in total 116 years, with a few breaks of peace, and Jeanne’s actions were instrumental in bringing about its end (although it took another 22 years). The greater reason has had far greater implications that were instrumental in the foundation of the United States (the following information was first pointed out to this author by a priest of his acquaintance). Jeanne helped bring the idea of freedom into the western mind. She helped bring to an end a century of the French battling the English so that they could be ruled by their own kings. Jeanne was a major factor in giving France its chance as well as standing as an example that even someone with humble beginnings could rise to lead a nation. In short Jeanne is an excellent example of how God can use a single person who without appearing to have any great importance and through them makes enormous changes for the better.
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