Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

The Trial of Joan of Arc
By W.P. Barrett

Chapter 19: The Digest is Submitted to the Assessors

Thursday, April 5th. The digest is submitted to the assessors

The following Thursday, April 5th, we conveyed our schedule of requisition, with the said statements, in the following form to each of the doctors who to our knowledge were in this town.

"We, Pierre by divine mercy Bishop of Beauvais and brother Jean Le Maistre Vice-Inquisitor, etc., demand and beseech you for the faith's sake to deliver to us in writing under your seal a salutary counsel upon the following assertions, namely whether, being respectively seen, weighed, and discussed, they or some of them are contrary to orthodox faith or suspect with regard to Holy Writ, opposed to the decrees of the Holy Roman Church and the canonical sanctions, scandalous, rash, noxious to the public weal, injurious, enveloped in crimes, contrary to good customs and in every respect offensive; or whatever shall be said of the statements in the judgment of the faith. Written this Thursday after Easter, April 5th, 1431

Here follows the tenor of the said assertions

"And firstly this woman says and affirms that in the thirteenth year of her age, or thereabouts, she saw with her bodily eyes St. Michael, who would console her, and at times St.


Gabriel, and they appeared to her in bodily form. Sometimes also she saw a great host of angels; and since then, St. Catherine and St. Margaret have appeared to the said woman who saw them in the flesh. And every day she sees them and hears their speech; and, when she embraces and kisses them, she touches them and feels them physically. She has seen, not only the heads of the said angels and the saints, but other parts of their bodies, whereof she has not chosen to speak. And the said St. Catherine and St. Margaret spoke to her at times by a certain fountain, near a great tree, commonly called 'The Fairies' Tree'; in the matter of the fountain and of the tree, the common report is that it is the frequent resort of witches, that many sick of the fever go to this fountain and tree to recover their health, although these are situated in an unhallowed spot. There, and elsewhere, on several occasions, she has adored them and done them reverence.

"In addition she has said that St. Catherine and St. Margaret appeared and showed themselves to her, crowned with rich and beautiful crowns. And from that moment, taking up the matter afresh on divers occasions, they said to this woman that God had commanded her to go to a certain prince of this world, promising that, by the aid and effort of the said woman, this prince would recover by force of arms great worldly dominions and glory, and that he would overcome his enemies; and also that this prince would welcome her, and lend her soldiers and weapons to fulfill her promises. Moreover, the said St. Catherine and St. Margaret instructed this woman, in the name of God, to take and wear a man's clothes: and she has worn them, and still wears them, stubbornly obeying the said command, to such an extent that this woman has declared that she would rather die than relinquish these clothes.

"She has made this declaration simply and purely, adding at times 'except at Our Lord's command.' She has preferred


to be absent from the office of the Mass, to be deprived of the Holy Sacrament of Communion, at the times when the Church commands the faithful to receive the said Sacrament, rather than wear woman's clothes once more and relinquish male costume. These saints would seem to have shown similar favor to this woman when, unknown to and against the will of her parents, in the seventeenth year of her age or thereabouts, she left her father's house, joined with a company of men following the profession of arms, living with them day and night, and never, or rarely, having another woman with her. And these saints have told and commanded her many other things: this is why this woman has claimed to be sent by the God of Heaven and by the Church Triumphant of the saints already in bliss, to whom she submits any good that she has wrought. But she has postponed and declined to submit her acts and words to the Church Militant; and, having been interrogated and admonished on this point more than once, she has answered that she could not do otherwise than what she has claimed, in her statement, to have done, in answer to the commands of God; for in these things she did not refer herself to the consideration and decision of living man, but to the judgment of Our Lord alone; that these saints had revealed to her that she would enter into the salvation and glory of the Blessed: that her soul would be saved if she preserved the virginity she had consecrated to them when she first saw and heard them. And at the time of this revelation she has asserted that she was as sure of her salvation as if she had suddenly found herself in reality in the Kingdom of Paradise."


"This woman has said that the sign which the prince, towards whom she had been sent, received, which led him to


trust her revelations, to receive her, and to let her direct the war, was that St. Michael approached the said prince, in company with a multitude of angels of whom some wore crowns and others were winged; and with them were St. Catherine and St. Margaret. And the angel and this woman walked together by land and by highway, mounting steps, crossing the hall, traveling far; other angels and the said saints were with them. And one angel gave to the said prince a precious crown of fine gold, and bowed down before the prince, making obeisance to him. And on one occasion she has stated that when her prince received this sign, he seemed to be alone although there were several men quite near him: and on another occasion it would seem to her, an archbishop received this sign with the crown and gave it to the prince, in the presence and view of several lords temporal."


"This woman recognizes and is certain that he who visits her is St. Michael: she is certain of this because of the good counsel, consolation, and wise doctrine which the said St. Michael brings her; and also because he names himself, saying that he is Michael. And similarly she recognizes and distinguishes from one another, St. Catherine and St. Margaret, because they name themselves and greet her. This is why she believes that the St. Michael who visits her is St. Michael himself, and that his acts and words are good and true, as firmly as she believes that Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered death to redeem us."


"The said woman says and affirms that she is as certain of future and purely contingent events, and that they will be realized, as she is of what she sees in reality before her; she


boasts that she has and has had knowledge of secret things through the verbal revelations of St. Catherine and St. Margaret : as for example that she will be delivered from prison, that the French will have more glorious success in her presence than all Christendom had hitherto. In addition she has, according to her own account, recognized, by revelation, people she had never seen before, and whom none had shown to her; she has revealed and given forth that a certain sword was hidden in the ground."


"This woman says and affirms that, by the will. and command of God, she has taken to herself and has worn, and still dons and wears, clothes like those of a man. Moreover, she has said that, since she had God's command to wear man's clothes, she must take hood and doublet, breeches and hose with many points, her hair cut round above her ears, and nothing about her to display and announce her sex, save Nature's own distinctive marks. And in this garb she has received the Sacrament of the Eucharist on several occasions. And she has declined and still declines to wear woman's clothes once more, although many times she has been gently requested and reproved: for she says that she would rather die than relinquish a man's clothes; she has said this purely and simply, at times adding 'unless it be at Our Lord's command.' She has said that if she found herself in this garb among those of her company, for whom she took up arms erstwhile, and if she could do as she did before her capture and captivity, it would be one of the greatest blessings that could come to the whole realm of France: she added that not for anything in the world would she swear to give up man's clothes and to bear weapons no more. In all this she


has declared that her acts were good, and are good, and that she has obeyed God and His commands."


"This woman confesses and affirms that she has caused certain letters to be written and that on some of them were affixed the names: Jhesus Maria, with the invocation of the sign of the Cross, and sometimes she affixed a cross to show she did not wish what she set forth in her letters to be done. Moreover, in others she has caused to be written that she would have those who disobeyed her letters and warnings killed, and that 'by blows would the favor of the God of Heaven be seen.' And frequently she has said that she has performed nothing except by the revelation and command of God."


"This woman says and confesses that in or about her seventeenth year, according to her own account, she went and found, intuitively and by revelation, a certain squire on whom she had never set eyes before, leaving her paternal house against her parents' wishes. The latter, when they knew of her departure, were almost stricken out of their senses. And this woman requested the said squire to lead her or have her led to the prince before mentioned. Then the said squire, a captain, lent this woman a man's clothes and a sword at her own request: and he told and instructed a knight, a squire, and four troopers to escort her. And when they had come to the aforesaid prince, this woman declared to him that she wished to direct the war against his enemies, promising him great dominion, that he would annihilate his foes, and saying that she had been sent for this purpose by the King


of Heaven. In this matter she states that she has done well according to revelation and the command of God."


"This woman says and confesses that, without constraint or compulsion, she threw herself down from a lofty tower, preferring death to captivity in the hands of her enemies or life after the destruction of the town of Compiègne. Moreover, she has said that she could not help throwing herself down in this fashion, although St. Catherine and St. Margaret had forbidden her to do so, and she says that to offend them was a grave sin. Yet she claims to know that this sin was pardoned after she confessed it. And she says that she has had revelation of this."


"This woman says and affirms that St. Catherine and St. Margaret promised to lead her into Paradise, if she preserved the virginity of body and soul which she consecrated to them. And she says that she is as certain of this as if she was already among the Blessed in glory. She thinks she has in no wise wrought mortal sin; for, if she were in mortal sin, it seems to her that the said St. Catherine and St. Margaret would not visit her every day as they do."


"This woman says and affirms that God loves certain persons whom she points out and names, who are still alive, and that He loves them more than He loves her. And she is aware of this by the revelations of St. Catherine and St. Margaret, who often speak to her in the French tongue, and not in English, for they are not on their side. And since she has known


by revelation that they were on the side of the aforementioned prince, she has disliked the Burgundians."


"The said woman says and confesses that she has on several occasions made reverence to the aforesaid voices and spirits whom she calls St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret, has uncovered, knelt, and kissed the ground where they walked, and has consecrated her virginity to St. Catherine and St. Margaret, when she embraced and saluted them. And she has touched them bodily and felt them, asking their advice and consolation, has called upon them, although they have often visited her without invocation. She has acquiesced in and obeyed their advice and commands, and has done so from the beginning, without asking counsel of any, as for example her father or mother, or from a priest or prelate, or any other cleric. And nevertheless she firmly believes that the voices and revelations she has had, through saints male and female, come from God and are ordained by Him. And she believes it as solemnly as she believes the Christian faith, or the fact that Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered death for our sakes. She has added that if an evil spirit were to appear to her, pretending to be St. Michael, she would be able to tell whether he were St. Michael or not. This woman has also said that, of her own free will, without being in any way requested or constrained, she swore to St. Catherine and St. Margaret, who appeared to her, that she would not disclose the sign of the crown which she was to give to the prince to whom she was sent. And, finally, she said: 'unless she was given leave to reveal it."'



"This woman says and confesses that if the Church were to desire her to do anything contrary to the command she claims to have from God, she would not do it, for any reason whatever. She affirms that she is quite certain that the things declared in her deposition were done in God's Name, and that it would be impossible for her to do otherwise. She does not submit herself to the judgment of the Church Militant, or to that of living man, but to God alone, Our Lord, whose commands she will always obey; and she does this principally in all matters relating to these revelations, and what she claims to have performed owing to them. She says she did not make this reply, and others, by the power of her own mind alone: but she made and gave them as instructed by voice and revelation, although the judges and others present often reminded her of that article of faith: Unam Sanctam Ecclesiam Catholicam, explaining to her that every faithful pilgrim of this life must obey it, must submit his words and acts to the Church Militant, principally in matters of belief, in all that concerns holy doctrine and ecclesiastical sanctions."



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