Joan of Arc’s Heavenly Voices
Posted by foryourfaith on July 9, 2010
Joan of Arc was born in about 1412 in Domremy in France. For much of her short life she minded her father’s sheep, and boasted that she sewed and knitted as skilfully as any lady in Rouen. But at the age of 16 she left her village for the royal court, encouraging first her country’s leaders, and then its soldiers, to rise against their foes – the English and the Burgundians. Her brief military career was spectacularly successful, until the day she was captured by her enemies.
Joan believed that messengers from heaven direct her – angels, who first appeared to her at the age of 13, and the saints Catherine of Alexandria and Margaret of Antioch. There is no firm evidence that either saint ever existed, and their cults were officially suppressed in 1969. Joan herself was declared a saint, but not until nearly 500 years after her death.
Until she died at the age of 19, not a day passed without Joan hearing voices, and they never failed her when she asked for help. Her saintly visitors were real people to her – she embraced them, touched them and smelled their celestial fragrance. At her trial, after rigorous and lengthy questioning, the judges decided that her visionary figures were devils in disguise sent to lure her into sin. When Joan refused to accept this verdict, she was branded a heretic and handed to the secular authority.
Joan’s voices gave her a remarkable gift of prophecy – one of her biographers lists 65 accurate predictions. But in one respect they seem to have misled her. Joan told her judges the voices had promised she would be saved, but the history books say she was brunt in the marketplace at Rouen on 30 May 1431.
Soon after, there were rumors that it was not Joan who was burnt. French historians Pierre de Sermoise and Emile Grillot de Givry, writing in 1973 and 1983 respectively, suggested that enough evidence exists to prove that she did not go to the stake. They say that the person who was burnt was wearing a hood to conceal her identity – a “real” witch substituted for Joan. Five years later Joan is said to have married Robert des Armoises and lived as a wife and mother for 18 years after her supposed execution.
|Share this post :|