JOAN of ARC/JEANNE d’ARC

My wife, Lori;  had picked up a print of a famous painting of Joan of Arc by  Jules Bastien-Lepage http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/435621. This print hung on our wall for a long time till once as I walked by it - I was APPREHENDED!.  I stopped and looked at it; was taken aback and knew in my spirit  -  there was more to this story than meets the eye.  I asked Lori to get me some books on Joan of Arc.  She went to the library and signed out four books.  That weekend I devoured them.  I was amazed at the Lord’s intervention in the affairs of men through this “Maid Incredible”.

After reading the books; I knew the Lord worked with Joan of Arc to make changes in our earth.  I like to talk about “HIS STORY”.  Others say history, but when I study - I see He has been working to continue His plan that He started in the beginning and it is so encouraging to see Him working yesterday and today in the affairs of men, and that gives me faith for tomorrow. “ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.“ (Revelation 22:12)

After reading the books, there was a desire to go to France and see what there was to see.  Later my brother’s daughter took a student exchange trip to France.  She stayed in a home and went to school there.  A girl from France had come and lived in their home.  The desire came to visit our niece and see where Joan of Arc was from, and we (Lori, my brother Terry and myself); toured France and Orléans.  It is one thing to read about something that occurred in the past (around 600 years ago) and it is another thing to arrive in Orléans and see in the City Square a statue of her. http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_pictures9f.asp

We went to the Jeanne D'Arc Museum in Orléans and  we learned that for close to 600 years there has been an annual celebration commerating the lifting of the seige by Joan of Arc.  Every year a girl is chosen to represent Joan and she rides into town on a horse to commemorate the Liberation.  (Note: the only years missed were during the Second World War.)  When you realize that the people of the town have commemorated these events for this long - you realize they are true.  They are not just “made-up, feel good” stories, but actually happened.  People do not celebrate fictional events.  This brings more awe to His handiwork in her life.

Here are quotes from others who were apprehended about her life -

According to his official biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, Samuel Clemens's (Note: His pen name is Mark Twain). interest in Joan of Arc was sparked early in life when he was working as a printer's apprentice in Hannibal, Missouri. Paine writes in a chapter titled "The Turning Point"

He was on his way from the office to his home one afternoon when he saw flying along the pavement a square of paper, a leaf from a book. ... He caught the flying scrap and examined it. It was a leaf from some history of Joan of Arc. The "maid" was described in the cage at Rouen, in the fortress, and the two ruffian English soldiers had stolen her clothes. ... there arose within him a deep compassion for the gentle Maid of Orleans, a burning resentment toward her captors, a powerful and indestructible interest in her sad history. It was an interest that would grow steadily for more than half a lifetime and culminate at last in that crowning work, the Recollections, the loveliest story ever told of that martyred girl (Paine, p. 81). Logical or not, Twain's passion for Joan of Arc was longstanding, and his public praise of her lavish. Writing in a 1904 Harper’s essay, he referred to her as “by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.”

“Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years.”  Sir Winston Churchill

"She was the bravest of the brave."

                        Andrew Lang comparing Joan to William Wallace and other brave leaders

"I spent the last six years attempting to give people a proper understanding of the incredible beauty of St. Joan of Arc as I have been blessed by God to have been able to see in what at most has been a brief glimpse. I now realize it is an impossible task due to the severe limits of human expression. "

                        Ben D. Kennedy-Author of Maid of Heaven and Creator of MaidOfHeaven.com  (I do highly recommend the website MaidofHeaven.com)

Who was Joan of Arc?

Her story is one that can only be comprehended by acknowledging that she was helped “from on High”.  Her story is incredulous and this vignette will only touch on those pieces that assist us in understanding more of “HIS STORY”.

She was born around January 6, 1412.  When Joan was thirteen she first heard a Voice from God in her father's garden. She was apprehended by our Lord for His task.  In the Old Testament we see many incidences where the Lord apprehends one to do His will.  Examples are Moses, with the burning bush; the anointing of Saul and the anointing of David.  The Lord chose them for deeds he desired accomplished.  The Lord apprehended Joan.  He used what she called “Voices” of Saint Michael, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret to talk to her.  They told her that the Lord had a task for her and that she needed to stay clean.

The following quotes are from: “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Creasy M.A.” and can be found at

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4061/4061-h/4061-h.htm

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Fifteen Decisive Battles of The World
From Marathon to Waterloo, by Edward Creasy

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

“According to her own narrative, delivered by her to her merciless inquisitors in the time of her captivity and approaching death, she was about thirteen years old when her revelations commenced. Her own words describe them best: [Proces de Jeanne d'Arc, vol. i. p. 52.] "At the age of thirteen, a voice from God came near to her to help her in ruling herself, and that voice came to her about the hour of noon, in summer time, while she was in her father's garden. And she had fasted the day before. And she heard the voice on her right, in the direction of the church; and when she heard the voice she also saw a bright light. Afterwards, St. Michael and St. Margaret and St. Catherine appeared to her. They were always in a halo of glory; she could see that their heads were crowned with jewels: and she heard their voices, which were sweet and mild. She did not distinguish their arms or limbs. She heard them more frequently than she saw them; and the usual time when she heard them was when the church bells were sounding for prayer. And if she was in the woods when she heard them, she could plainly distinguish their voices drawing near to her. When she thought that she discerned the Heavenly Voices, she knelt down, and bowed herself to the ground. Their presence gladdened her even to tears; and after they departed she wept because they had not taken her with them back to Paradise.” (from  Chapter IX. -- Joan of Arc’s Victory over the English at Orleans, A.D.)

The quote is from her trial for heresy.  Some facts we can gain from her statement.  

At age 13, the Lord apprehended her.  Even as we wonder why the Lord used past Saints - the same as we can discuss why the Lord used a burning bush with Moses.  I do not know the answer, and we can ask Him in due time.  We can assume or postulate as to why - but what is important is that the Lord apprehended her for a task.  The same as he did over and over in the Old Testament and  the New.  He had something He purposed to accomplish and He chose a vessel to do it and provided the means.  Today, the Lord will apprehend us for certain tasks and we need to follow through on His desires.  I was apprehended by the Lord to learn about his servant, Joan of Arc; and to share this.

When the “Voices” spoke to her - they told her to keep herself clean and that the Lord would use her to save France.  As a girl, she was pious; first to church when the bells sounded.  The “Voices” started teaching her when she was 13, and at 17 years of age she started on her task.  

Some background first.  France and England had been in the “Hundred Years War”.   It started in 1337 and ended in 1457  see http://www.britannica.com/event/Hundred-Years-War for more information.  In 1415 the disastourous Battle of Agincourt took place in France.  This battle set the tone for the French.  From http://www.britishbattles.com/100-years-war/agincourt.htm    “It is believed that some 8,000 Frenchmen died in the battle, including many of the most senior nobles of France. English losses are thought to have been in the hundreds. .”

The French were disheartened and the Northern part of France fell to the English and their ally - The Duke of Burgundy.  Oct 12, 1428 The English lay seige to Orléans, the last fortified city  to the south of France.  If it falls, the English will have free rein to all of France and France will cease to exist as a separate nation.   For the Lord’s reasons - this was not meant to be and He raised up help through a most unlikely person -  Joan of Arc -  A peasant girl.  She plays the pivotal role that restores France to the French.  She is 17 when she starts on her mission.  Remember this is medieval Europe - there was no women’s lib  - it is medieval chivalry at its zenith.  The only women near armies were the “camp followers” or prositutes.  

In reading, there were passages that described the French situation as the lowest of low, there was no rescuing available.  The Nation was at the bottom.  In reading this, it made me think that sometimes we need to get to our “bottom” before we can be rescued.  This was the case for France - doomed to become English and if there was no heavenly intervention - there would be no France today.  (Why the Lord chose to rescue France is one of the mysteries we can ask Him?).  

From  “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Creasy M.A. At this time, also, one of those devotional movements began among the clergy in France, which from time to time occur in national Churches, without it being possible for the historian to assign any adequate human cause for their immediate date or extension. Numberless friars and priests traversed the rural districts and towns of France, preaching to the people that they must seek from Heaven a deliverance from the pillages of the soldiery, and the insolence of the foreign oppressors. [See, Sismondi vol. xiii. p. 114; Michelet, vol. v. Livre x.] 

Sounds like - if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  (2Chronicles 7:14)

 Her “Voices” had been telling her she needed to go to the Dauphin (the title given to the French Prince who was not yet  crowned and anointed King), and to take charge of the army, lift the siege of Orléans and get the Daupin anointed King in Rhiems. The Cathedral at Rhiems is where the kings of France had been anointed to be King since Clovis in late 496 (and that is another HIS STORY!).

The first step was to leave her home and secondly to get a letter of introduction to the Dauphin.  Not an easy thing to accomplish in those days and especially for a seventeen year old peasant girl.  BUT there had been a legend of old - that people began to remember. According to the American historian, Albert Bigelow Paine, a generation before Joan's birth - the French mystic, Marie of Avignon, prophesied to the then King of France, Charles the Sixth, the following:

"France, ruined by a woman, would be restored by a maid from the borders of Lorraine."

Mr. Paine goes on to say that this prediction was fairly well known as Joan had heard and quoted it herself.

France was betrayed by the French Queen, Isabel of Bavaria by signing the  The Treaty of Troyes . The King, Charles VI had bouts of insanity.  The Queen negotiated a treaty whereby her daughter Catherine would be married to the English King Henry. When Charles VI died King Henry of England would also be King of France. This Treaty also voided the Dauphine’s right to the throne. So, France would be ruined by a woman.  Joan d’Arc was from the small town of Domrémy in the region of Lorraine.  So people began believing Joan was the “Maid from Lorraine”.

Another quote from “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Creasy M.A.

At last the tidings of the siege of Orleans reached Domremy, Joan heard her parents and neighbours talk of the sufferings of its population, of the ruin which its capture would bring on their lawful sovereign, and of the distress of the Dauphin and his court. Joan's heart was sorely troubled at the thought of the fate of Orleans; and her Voices now ordered her to leave her home; and warned her that she was the instrument chosen by Heaven for driving away the English from that city, and for taking the Dauphin to be anointed king at Rheims. At length she informed her parents of her divine mission, and told them that she must go to the Sire de Baudricourt, who commanded at Vaucouleurs, and who was the appointed person to bring her into the presence of the king, whom she was to save. Neither the anger nor the grief of her parents, who said that they would rather see her drowned than exposed to the contamination of the camp, could move her from her purpose. One of her uncles consented to take her to Vaucouleurs, where De Baudricourt at first thought her mad, and derided her; but by degrees was led to believe, if not in her inspiration, at least in her enthusiasm and in its possible utility to the Dauphin's cause.

The inhabitants of Vaucouleurs were completely won over to her side, by the piety and devoutness which she displayed and by her firm assurance in the truth of her mission. She told them that it was God's will that she should go to the King, and that no one but her could save the kingdom of France. She said that she herself would rather remain with her poor mother and spin; but the Lord had ordered her forth. The fame of "The Maid," as she was termed, the renown of her holiness, and of her mission, spread far and wide. Baudricourt sent her with an escort to Chinon, where the Dauphin Charles was dallying away his time.

She gets her letter of introduction and heads to Chinon, south of Orléans where the Dauphin is holding his court.  She travels through enemy territory at night and gets to Chinon.  The Dauphin agrees to meet with her and lets her into his court, but as a way of testing her  -  he puts someone else on the throne and pretends to be a lowly courtier.  She goes straight to him and bows and announces that he is the Dauphin and that the Lord has sent her to help him.  In some of the books it says that she also tells him something in confidence that only the Lord knows and this helps him to believe that she has been sent by the Lord.  She proclaims over and over that she has been sent by the Lord and He will lift the siege at Orléans through her.

Again from “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Creasy M.A.

This question seemed to her countrymen to be decisively settled in her favour, by the austere sanctity of her life, by the holiness of her conversation, but, still more, by her exemplary attention to all the services and rites of the Church. The dauphin at first feared the injury that might be done to his cause if he had laid himself open to the charge of having leagued himself with a sorceress. Every imaginable test, therefore, was resorted to in order to set Joan's orthodoxy and purity beyond suspicion. At last Charles and his advisers felt safe in accepting her services as those of a true and virtuous daughter of the Holy Church.

Some of the books describe a scene that deserves recounting.  In them, she asks the Dauphin of France - the lawful heir to the nation; to sign over ownership of France to her.  He hesitantly agrees and the paper is signed making her lawful “owner” of France. She then prays and gives the nation to the Lord.  The Lord is now the lawful owner of France.  Then in prayer - she offers the nation back to the Dauphin as the Lord has chosen Him to be His authority over the land.  This scene is incredible!!!

The Dauphin then bestows upon her the office of the “General-in-Chief of the Armies of France”.  A 17 year old peasant girl is in charge of the Armies!  This is hard to comprehend and if we try to imagine today - a 17 year old girl being given the title - “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” of the US Military.  It is unimaginable!   Our minds are not able to wrap around the concept.  And yet, the boy David defeated the mighty Goliath.  The Lord has done this in the past.  But 600 years ago! Not in the Old Testament or in the New Testament - but in HIS STORY!!

She takes the army to Orléans and is Joyously Welcomed to town. She firsts goes to the church for prayer.  Then she brings holiness to the army - she disbands the camp followers and calls on the leadership and army to go to Mass.  She cleans up the army and even outlaws cursing within the camp.  She brings Holiness.  

There are many wrtings about the details of the battle for Orléans - but there is one event that again makes us realize - she was sent from God.  Before the battle she told others that she would be grievously wounded during the battle, but that victory would come.  And it came to pass, she was wounded by an arrow that was shot down from the battlements. Everyone around her is dismayed - but she pulls the arrow out and tells them that she was foretold of this and that victory would be theirs.  She waits till evening and when the breeze comes, she rallies the troops and overcomes the enemy.  A truly miraculous victory!

From “The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World from Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Creasy M.A.

Within three months from the time of her first interview with the Dauphin, Joan had fulfilled the first part of her promise, the raising of the siege of Orleans. Within three months more she fulfilled the second part also; and she stood with her banner in her hand by the high altar at Rheims while he was anointed and crowned as King Charles VII. of France. In the interval she had taken Jargeau, Troyes, and other strong places; and she had defeated an English army in a fair field at Patay. The enthusiasm of her countrymen knew no bounds; but the importance of her services, and especially of her primary achievement at Orleans, may perhaps be best proved by the testimony of her enemies. There is extant a fragment of a letter from the Regent Bedford to his royal nephew, Henry VI., in which he bewails the turn that the war had taken, and especially attributes it to the raising of the siege of Orleans by Joan. Bedford's own words, which are preserved in Rymer, [Vol. x. p. 403.] are as follows:—

Note: this is Old English and hard to understand, but he says they were defeated by the “Pucelle”  (one of her titles  - maid, virgin).

"AND ALLE THING THERE PROSPERED FOR YOU TIL THE TYME OF THE SIEGE OF ORLEANS, TAKEN IN HAND, GOD KNOWETH BY WHAT ADVIS.

"AT THE WHICHE TYME, AFTER THE ADVENTURE FALLEN TO THE PERSONE OF MY COUSIN OF SALISBURY, WHOM GOD ASSOILLE, THERE FELLE, BY THE HAND OF GOD AS IT SEEMETH, A GREAT STROOK UPON YOUR PEUPLE THAT WAS ASSEMBLED THERE IN GRETE NOMBRE, CAUSED IN GRETE PARTIE, AS Y TROWE, OF LAKKE OF SADDE BELEVE, AND OF UNLEVEFULLE DOUBTE, THAT THEI HADDE OF A DISCIPLE AND LYME OF THE FEENDE, CALLED THE PUCELLE, THAT USED FALS ENCHANTMENTS AND SORCERIE.

"THE WHICHE STROOKE AND DISCOMFITURE NOT OONLY LESSED IN GRETE PARTIE THE NOMBRE OF YOUR PEUPLE THERE, BUT AS WELL WITHDREWE THE COURAGE OF THE REMENANT IN MERVEILLOUS WYSE, AND COURAIGED YOUR ADVERSE PARTIE AND ENNEMYS TO ASSEMBLE THEM FORTHWITH IN GRETE NOMBRE."

The next battle was at Patay.  This link provides details of the miraclous victory the Lord provided.  http://www.maidofheaven.com/joanofarc_patay_battle.asp

In summary, a stag got spooked and ran into the hidden English Army, allowing the French to pinpoint their location and to attack before their defences were intact.  A major rout of the English!

Joan led the army and the Dauphin safely to Rheims for the anointing at the Cathedral.  There are many paintings of the scene and they show how important Joan was.  Joan then tells the new King that her task was done and that the King would be able to drive the remaining English from her soil.  Joan wanted to return to her native town to be with her family and tend the flocks.  But the King and his court wanted to keep her around (the army idolized her) and to make a long story short - she did a few small battles and then she was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English.  The English had her tried for heresy and found guilty and she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.  

Why did she have to die? - not sure,  my wife has a theory that sometimes when our task is done - it is time to go home, maybe.  But whatever, she died a martyr and because it was a long trial and fully recorded - we have court documents to prove it all happened. It took another 20 years for the final expulsion of the English from France’s shores.  Then King Charles had another trial which overturned the ruling of the first court case proving her to be innocent.  So there are two sets of court documents verifying her story.  In 1920 the Catholic Church made her a Saint.

To me the Lord’s intervention in the affairs of men is incredible.  I am not sure that there is a more telling story (outside of the life and death of our Lord Jesus) of how much our Lord loves us and is involved in our affairs.  We sometimes think that after the Old and New Testament stories that our Lord has left us to our own devices.  To me this story is one of many, but it is the  most dramatic of all showing His miraclous involvement in man’s affairs.  We sometimes think we are on our own drifting through time - but I see that His Hand is at the helm and He is ensuring we go the way He has planned.  As we look back through HIS STORY and see His involvement, it makes us confident that HE is working Today to accomplish His plan in the Earth.

 The Lord taught us to pray your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10  

Amen and Amen!