On May 30, 1431, nineteen-year-old Joan of
In 1429, an illiterate peasant girl residing in the tiny city of Domremy, France, began a relentless pursuit to gain an audience with the heir to the French throne, Charles VII. How she managed it is a story in itself and will not be dealt with here. That she received it, is, of course, documented fact. Her mission, she said, was twofold: First, to end the Hundred Years War thereby freeing France from the yoke of England; and second, to ensure that Charles VII was crowned king of France, thereby allowing him to rightfully ascend the throne.
Toward that aim, she was given command of the military might of an entire nation, and after almost one hundred years of constant defeat and humiliation, the cowardly and hopelessly outnumbered armies of France were, as if by magic, transformed into a military machine, steamrolling mercilessly over anything that stood in its path. Seasoned officers, with twenty and thirty years field experience, unquestioningly obeyed the orders of a child. The rampant criminal element which pervaded her troops-men who had never in their lives paid heed to anyone’s orders but their own-loyally obeyed the orders of Joan of
Then, when she deemed the time was right, Joan, almost by force, took the sniveling Charles by the hand, and accompanied by her armies, escorted him through still heavily-occupied France to the city of Rheims where he was crowned the king of France. Not a drop of blood was spilled along the way as a dozen or more English-held cities, one after the next, surrendered to the child.
Two months it took her to all but end a war that had gone on for close to a century.
At various points during her two years in the limelight, Joan of
Then, for political reasons too involved to delve into here, she was betrayed by a traitor hidden deep within the ranks of the king’s entourage. A trap was set resulting in Joan’s capture. For a year she lay starved and beaten in a dungeon, her wrists and ankles fettered by close and heavy chains. ‘Why?’ I hear you roar, was there no attempt to rescue her? How could an entire nation be so ungrateful as to allow their savior to be treated thus? And at the hands of those very oppressors from whom she had so recently freed them? Alas, that was the way of the French. Joan of
My gentle reader, should you doubt my words, then hear these: The last two years of Joan of
And just as Jesus on the cross forgave his executioners, so too, Joan of