Frequently Asked Questions Relating To
The Life And History of Saint Joan Of Arc
Who was Joan of Arc? Joan of Arc was a young women who led the armies of France to several key victories over the English during the Hundred Years War. A great hero to the French she was hated by the English who ultimately captured her and had her burned at the stake
for heresy. The full history of Joan of Arc is both fascinating and inspiring so please visit some of the other pages at MaidOfHeaven.com to learn all about Joan.
Why is she called Joan of Arc? Joan of Arc is an English bastardization of her name that was never used while she was alive. She preferred to be called "Jehanne la Pucelle" or Joan the maid.
At her trial, Joan herself testified that: "In my town they called me Jeannette, and since I came into France I have been called Joan." For more about Joan's name try our page about Saint Joan Of Arc's Name.
What did Joan of Arc believe? Joan was a Christian who loved God and believed in Jesus. She practiced the Catholic faith which, at the time she lived, was the only Christian church. For more about Joan's Faith Go Here.
When was Joan of Arc born?
The exact date of Joan of Arc's Birthday was not recorded but is generally accepted to be January 6, 1412. A contemporary of Joan's wrote in a letter that: "It was during the night of the Epiphany of Our Lord (January 6, Twelfth Night), when men are wont most joyfully to recall the acts of Christ that she first saw the light in this mortal life." At Joan's trial in the Spring of 1431 she was asked how old she was and she replied: "As far as I know, about nineteen years old."
Where was Joan of Arc from? Joan was born in the little village of Domremy in the Eastern part of France known as Lorraine. Learn more about where Joan was from on the Long Biography and History page.
Who were Joan of Arc's Parents?
Joan of Arc's parents were Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romee. One of Joan's godmothers later described Joan's parents as: "Simple laborers, honest in their poverty, for they were of small means." Learn more about Joan's parents and her family on the Long Biography and History page.
What was Joan of Arc like when she was young?
One of Joan's friends when she was young named Hauviette described her as being "good, simple, and sweet." Another young friend of Joan's named Mengette later said the following about Joan: "My father's house and the house of Father d'Arc joined. Thus I knew Joan intimately. Often we spun together and performed in company the household labors, by day or by night. She had been nurtured in the Christian faith, and was of good habits: loved to go often to church and gave alms of whatever she received from her father. She was a good girl, simple and pious, so pious that her comrades and myself told each other that she was too much so. She went gladly to confession ; and many times I have seen her kneeling before the curé of the village.
I want to know what Joan of Arc was like. I mean what did she look like, how did she act, what were her personal traits?
The best way to really understand what Joan of Arc was like is to read the personal descriptions of her by the people who knew her while she was alive. Visit the Descriptions of Joan of Arc page for a long list of quotes relating to different aspects about her like her appearance, faith, childhood, as a soldier, death, etc.
What kind of work did Joan of Arc do when she was growing up?
Joan of Arc was just like all of the other peasant girls in her small town and helped around her house and occasionally aided her father by tending his animals in the fields with other youngsters. Joan's friend Hauviette described her work this way: "Joan busied herself like any other girl; she did the housework and spun and sometime- I have seen her- she kept her father's flocks."
Why is Joan of Arc still remembered?
All that Joan was able to accomplish at such a young age is unparalleled in history. Only 17 when she was put in command of the French army, she is the youngest person to ever command the armies of a nation. In only a couple of months she was able to completely reverse a war that had been going on for almost 100 years that the French were about to lose. The victories she won at Orleans and Patay are considered among the greatest in all of history. Add to all of this her prophetic ability that was always correct, her personal devotion to God and commitment to purity and it is a story that can only be described as incredible.
What were Joan of Arc's greatest military victories?
The battles of Orleans and Patay are considered among the greatest victories in the history of warfare. Orleans was remarkable because it turned the tied of a war that had been going on for almost 100 years that the French were about to lose. The city of Orleans was the last great city that the French held and it had been under siege by the English for almost 7 months and was about to fall. Saint Joan went there and, in only three days of fighting, reclaimed the strongest fort the English possessed which caused them to lift their siege and retreat. The battle has been compared to other key turning point battles like: Marathon, Stalingrad, Gettysburg, Midway.
Learn more about the battle of Oleans on the Long Biography and History page.
Patay was remarkable because of the overwhelming margin of victory that she achieved in the battle. The French suffered few losses while the English army was annihilated with losses in the thousands. Patay is often compared with Agincourt and described as a mirror image, which is ironic since it was Agincourt that had pushed France to the edge of defeat necessitating the miracle that she provided. Many of the renowned great generals in history never had so overwhelming a victory as Saint Joan had at Patay.
Learn more about the Battle of Patay on the Long Biography and History page.
Do you suppose that Joan of Arc was actually hearing voices from God or it was just her conscious?
I do not think that there is another plausible explanation for all that Joan of Arc was able to accomplish other than that she was under the guidance of supernatural beings from God. One interesting point about her trial is that to the learned ecclesiastics examining her there was never any question whether or not she heard Voices, only whether the Voices were from God or from Satan. I should also point out that they were more that just voices because Joan said several times at her trial that she could see them plainly with her "corporal eyes." Joan also stated at her trial that other people like Charles VII had seen and heard her Voices. I know that in our so-called modern age it is hard for people to believe in anything that they can not tangible prove with science but the alternative explanations that have been offered to explain Joan's life take more faith to believe in than the explanation that Joan herself gave of being under the guidance of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.
You can learn more at the Joan of Arc's Voices page
How reliable is the history that we know about Joan of Arc?
The Catholic Church officially examined Joan of Arc's life three different times. First, before she was given command of the French army the King asked the Church to examine her. For three weeks, they questioned her about herself and her motives. The also sent their agents back to her village of Domremy for a report on her from the people who knew her best. She was only 17 at the time but she was able to amaze the priests who examined her with her answers. At the end of this examination, the Church proclaimed that they had tested her according to the requirements of scripture and affirmed her mission from God. The written record of this examination was lost or destroyed but the testimony of the people involved in the examination remains to give historical evidence about why she did what she did.
The second time her life was examined was when she was put on trial by the part of the Church controlled by the English. To me this is some of the best historical evidence because this examination was conducted by her enemies who were trying to destroy her reputation before they killed her. Fortunately for history, the head recorder refused to alter the record, even though he was threatened with death to change it, so we have an accurate record of what was said at her trial. This trial record has proved invaluable to historians because it is extremely in-depth and touches on just about every aspect of her life.
The third time her life was examined began about 20 years after she died when Charles VII, the King she had crowned, decided he would clear the record. He asked the Church to again examine her life and the trial that the English had conducted. This last examination may have been the most thorough of all since it took place over a period of 6 years and included testimony from witnesses that had known her throughout her life. The hearings took place at several cities and included people from all walks of life. Friends who had known her as a child, knights who had fought with her, and most of the surviving priests who had been involved in the trial conducted by the English. As with the trial records, some of the most convincing testimony comes from those who had been her enemies who at this point in time had great remorse for being a part of her trial and execution.
How long did Joan of Arc's trial last?
Including the preliminaries, Joans trial lasted about 4 or 5 months during which she lived in a prison cell chained up and guarded by rough English soldiers. The English put pressure on Cauchon, the bishop in charge of the trial, to speed things up but Cauchon wanted to create a legal basis for killing her, probably to protect himself with the Church. The difficulty that he had in doing so is seen in the records from the trial. Cauchon did not expect her to do as well as she did in defending herself against his handpicked judges so he used every trick he could to concoct charges against her. When this trial was overturned and nullified by the Church twenty years later it was Cauchon who was accused of heresy for his part and Saint Joan who was declared to be a martyr.
You can read the complete trancripts of Joan of Arc's Trial here at MaidOfHeaven.com.
What events might not have happened without Joan of Arc saving France?
Without Joan of Arc it is very doubtful that France would have become the strong unified nation that it became. Without a strong France many of the later events that occurred in Europe and around the world would have been much different. It is even conceivable that American independence from Britain would never have happened because it was the French military assistance that made the difference and directly caused the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Do you think France would've existed to this day without Joan of Arc's actions?
Joan helped to give the people of France a national identity. Before Joan people would identify themselves as being from parts of France such as people from the region of Burgundy calling themselves Burgundians. After Joan of Arc the people were much more likely to identify themselves as being French. It was having a national identity that helped forge the great nation that France became and still is today.
I love this quote by Joan of Arc: "I am not afraid...I was born to do this." Can you tell me when and where she said this?
Since I don't know who originally translated and paraphrased the quote you give I can not be completely sure of the original source but this quote sounds very similar to words that Joan spoke as she was leaving Vaucouleurs to begin her journey to Chinon to see Charles VII . When she was asked how she thought she could successfully make such a journey though enemy territory she replied: "I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God, my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to messire the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!"
I wrote more about this quote and the proper derivation on my Joan of Arc Blog and there is a page here at MaidOfHeaven.com discussing the false quote I am not afraid...I was born to do this and giving Joan's orginal words in french and a proper translation.
Why couldn't Charles VII help Joan of Arc when she was sold to the English?
It was not that Charles couldn't help Joan but that he chose not to do anything to help her after she was captured. The most viable time for Charles to have rescued Joan was during the first six months after she was captured when she was a prisoner of the Burgundians. Under the traditions of warfare that then existed, Joan could have been exchanged for one of the high-ranking prisoners that the French held or Charles could have paid a ransom for her release that feudal custom would have obliged the Burgundians to accept. Of course Charles could also have recalled the same army that Joan had led who would have again fought hard to save their beloved maid. There is no reliable historical evidence that Charles ever tried to do anything to save Joan.
The question historians have tried to answer is why Charles chose to do nothing. Most have come to the conclusion that it was a matter of his self-centered personality that he became threatened whenever anyone around him became too popular or too successful. He even removed his own son Louis XI from command when he started to have what he felt was too much military success. Once Joan had served her purpose in helping Charles gain his crown he seemed to no longer care what became of her.
Did Joan of Arc send a letter to the Hussites threatening them with destruction for rebelling against the Catholic Church.
A letter was sent in the name of Joan of Arc to the Hussites but it is doubtful that Joan had much to do with the letter. Her chaplain Father Pasquerel signed the letter and probably wrote it and got Joan's cursory approval as she was busy dealing with pressing matters in Reims and authored two letters to the citizens of Reims around the same time that the Hussite letter is dated. You can read a translation of the letter at
Letter to The Hussites
Why was Joan of Arc burned at the stake?
Joan of Arc's trial and execution was completely political and most reputable historians accurately refer to it as murder. The English had been fighting the French for almost 100 years and were just about to win the War, which would have given them control of all of France. Suddenly this young girl shows up saying she is sent from God and the War completely turns around. The English leaders hated her and believed that if they could just get rid of her that could resume winning. The Duke of Bedford, the overall English leader, made a deal with the part of the Church loyal to England to put her on trial for heresy so that it would ultimately look like the Church killed her instead of the English.
Why were male guards guarding Joan of Arc? Wasn't that against the Inquisitorial procedure?
Under the rules of the Church at the time, Joan of Arc should have been held in a Church prison and guarded by women. The fact that she was always guarded by English soldiers is part of the great proof that her trial was rigged by the English for political gain. Years later when her trial was overturned by the Church this violation of rules was part of the evidence that was cited to prove that her trial had been illegal and that Joan had been "wrongly executed by corrupt partisan clergy abusing a Church trial for secular purposes."
Was Joan of Arc Tortured?
During Joan's trial she was taken to a special room in the castle where she was being held and threatened with torture but the trial records and later eyewitness testimony indicate that she was never actually tortured. You can learn more about Joan or Arc and torture HERE
When was Joan of Arc burned at the stake?
Joan of Arc was burned to death on May 30, 1431 in the French town of Rouen. Learn more about Joan's execution on the Long Biography and History page.
When did Joan of Arc become a Saint?
The Catholic Church offically made Joan a Saint on May 16, 1920 at a ceremony at the Vatican in Rome. You can read a translation of the Pronouncement of Canonization of Saint Joan of Arc here at MaidOfHeaven.com. As for her being a Saint most of the people who
knew her considered her to already be a Saint while she was alive. The most convincing prononucement comes from her enemies who executed her. There are numerous recorded statements from her executioner and other English soldiers and officials who suffered great remorse because they said they had burned a Saint.
I heard that St. Thérèse of Lisieux was devoted to St. Joan and wrote about her. Is this true?
Yes, it is true. St. Thérèse wrote several poems and a play about St. Joan and you can learn more at
St. Therese and St. Joan of Arc.
Did Joan of Arc's actions only affect France or did they have an impact on the whole world?
Joan of Arc is not only a hero to people in France but has become a great hero to people all over the world. Since she died, people have continued to look to her as a symbol of resistance whenever freedom has been threatened. In both WWI and WWII, the Allies rallied behind her name as a symbol of resistance to tyranny. Joan also inspires people to live devoted to God as she did so that they can achieve great deeds as she did. By changing the way that so many people live and believe she has had, and will continue to have, a great an impact on the entire world.
What is Joan of Arc's legacy?
Joan of Arc has come to mean many things to many people but I would have to say that her most important legacy is what the Bible teaches that "with God all things are possible." Joan was described by her contemporaries as being a simple young country girl very much like all the other young girls in her village where she grew up. The only aspect about her that was different was that she had a deep devotion to God for which she was teased at times by some of the other children. When you look at where she came from and then at all that she accomplished it is really hard to come up with a reasonable explanation for her life other than God.
Where can I find a Joan of Arc Church?
On this page, List of Churches and Chapels devoted to St. Joan of Arc you should be able to find a Church or Chapel named in honor of Saint Joan of Arc. Many contain beautiful pictures, statues and other mementos to memorialize the life of Saint Joan of Arc.
How did Joan of Arc inspire you to create this website?
Studying Joan's life has taught me many great lessons about life and ultimately brought me to a deeper faith in God. This is something I would like to share with as many people as I can which is why I wrote my biography Maid of Heaven and created the website MaidOfHeaven.com. My goal with both is to simple present the complete and true history of Joan's life, which, thanks to her three official examinations by the Catholic Church, is the best documented of any person to live outside of modern times. As another of Joan's admirers and biographers once stated: "The story of Joan is the wonder tale of the ages and needs little embellishment. The facts alone are marvelous enough. My effort has been to present them, without bias and without neglect."
DID YOU FIND THE ANSWER YOU WERE LOOKING FOR?
If you did not find the answer to your question about Joan of Arc on this page then you can probably find it somewhere else at MaidOfHeaven.com. The best place to start researching Joan of Arc's life is on the Learn the History of Joan of Arc page which gives links to all of the other pages devoted to teaching the history of Saint Joan of Arc.
There is also a question and answer interview with Ben D. Kennedy about Joan of Arc and Maid of Heaven with Answers to Joan of Arc Questions Here
If you are still unable to find the answer to your question then you might try reading through the blog articles about Joan of Arc and if that doesn't answer your question then ask your question in the comment box below and I will try to help you.
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