Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

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

Chapter 12: Thursday, March 15th

Thursday, March 15th in prison

The morning of the Thursday next following, the fifteenth day of March, in the prison of the said Jeanne, master Jean de La Fontaine, our appointed commissary, Ourself, and brother Jean Le Maistre, vicar of the Inquisitor, presiding; with the venerable Nicolas Midi and Gerard Feuillet, doctor of sacred theology, and in presence of Nicolas de Hubent, apostolic notary, and brother Ysambard de La Pierre.

The said Jeanne was charitably exhorted, admonished, and required to be willing to refer to the decision of Our Holy Mother the Church, as she ought, in the event of her having done anything contrary to our faith. She answered that her replies should be seen and examined by the clergy, and then she should be told if there were anything contrary to the Christian faith: she will be able to tell certainly what it is, and then she will tell what she learned from her counsel. Moreover if there were any evil against Christian faith advanced by Our Lord, she would not wish to sustain it, and would be grieved to be in opposition.

Then the distinction between the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant was declared to her, what the one was, and what the other, and she was required therefrom to submit to the decision of the Church whatever she had said or done whether good or evil. She replied: "I will not give you any further answer for the present."

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Jeanne was required, upon the oath she had sworn, to tell how she expected to escape from the castle of Beaulieu between two pieces of wood: she answered she was never a prisoner in any place but she would gladly escape; and being in the castle she would have shut up her keepers in the tower, had not the porter seen and encountered her. She saw that it seemed that it did not please God to have her escape on that occasion, and she must see the English king, as her voices had told her, and as it is written above.

Asked if she had leave from God or from her voices to escape from prisons whenever it pleased her, she answered: "I have often asked for it, but so far I have not obtained it."

Asked whether she would go now, if she saw her opportunity, she answered that if she saw the door open she would go; and it would be God's permission. And she firmly believes that if she saw the door open, and her keepers and the other English unable to resist, she would take it as her permission, and that God had sent her aid; but without leave she would not go, unless she made a forcible attempt, in French "une enterprise," to discover whether God was pleased, giving as reason this proverb in the French tongue: "Aide toy, Dieu te aidera." And this she said so that if she escaped none could say she did so without leave.

Asked, since she had wished to hear Mass, whether it did not seem to her more fitting to be in female costume, and which she would prefer, to wear a woman's dress and be at the Mass, or to keep to a man's dress and not hear Mass, she answered: "Promise me that I may hear Mass if I wear a woman's dress, and I will answer you."

Then the examiner said to her: "I promise that you may hear Mass, if you are in a woman's dress." She answered: "And what do you answer, if I have sworn and promised to our king not to put off this dress? Yet I will tell you: have made

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for me a long dress reaching down to the ground, without a train, and give it to me to go to Mass; and then, on my return, I will put on once again the dress I have." Asked once and for all, whether she would wear a woman's dress and go to hear Mass, she answered: "I will have counsel on it, and then I will answer you." Moreover, she urged us that for the honor of God and of Our Lady she be permitted to hear Mass in this good town.

Whereupon she was told by the examiner that she should take a woman's dress, simply and absolutely. She replied: "Give me a dress such as the daughters of your burgesses wear, a long houppelande [and also a woman's hood] and I will wear it to go and hear Mass." She added that as urgently as she could she besought us to permit her to hear Mass in the dress she wore, without any change.

Asked if, on that which she had said and done, she will submit and commit herself to the decision of the Church, she answered: "Everything I have said or done is in the hand of God, and I commit myself to Him. And I certify to you that I would do or say nothing against the Christian faith; and, if I had said or done anything, or if anything were found on me which the clergy should declare to be against the Christian faith established by Our Lord, I would not uphold it, but would cast it out."

Asked if she would submit herself therein to the ordinance of the Church, she answered: "I will not now answer you more; but on Saturday next send me the priest, if you do not wish to come, and I will answer him this with God's aid, and it shall be set down in writing."

Asked whether when her voices came to her she bowed down to them altogether, as to a saint, she answers yes; and if sometimes she had failed to do so, she had afterwards asked forgiveness. Nor could she do them the reverence proper to

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them, for she firmly believes them to be St. Catherine and St. Margaret. And she said likewise concerning St. Michael.

Asked whether, since candles were commonly offered to the saints of Paradise, she has not burnt candles or other things, in church or elsewhere, or had Masses said, to the saints who visit her, she answered no, except at Mass, in the priest's hand, and in honor of St. Catherine. She believes it to be one of them who appear to her; nor has she lit as many candles to St. Catherine and St. Margaret as she gladly would, firmly believing it is they who come to her.

Asked whether when she puts the candles before the image of St. Catherine she does it in honor of her who appears to her, she answered: "I do it in honor of God, of Our Lady, of St. Catherine who is in heaven, and I make no difference between St. Catherine who is in heaven and her who appears to me."

Asked if she always did or accomplished what her voices bade her, she answered that with all her might she accomplished the behest which Our Lord spoke through her voices, as far as she could understand. And they bade her nothing without the good pleasure of Our Lord.

Asked if in battle she had done anything without the permission of her voices, she answered: "You have my answer to this. Read your book carefully, and you will find it." Yet she said that at the request of men-at-arms she made an attack before Paris and also before La Charité at her king's request. This was neither against nor according to the command of her voices . Asked if ever she did anything contrary to their command and will, she answered that she did what she could and knew, to the best of her power. And as for her leap from the tower at Beaurevoir, she did it against their bidding, she could not help herself; and when her voices saw her need, and that

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she could in no way hold herself back, they lent aid to her life and prevented her from being killed. Moreover, whatever she did in her great ventures, they succored her, and this is a sign that they are good spirits.

Asked if she had any other sign that they were good spirits, she answered: "St. Michael certified it before they came to me."

Asked how she knew it was St. Michael, she answered: "By the angels' speech and tongue." She firmly believes that they were angels.

Asked how she recognized that they were angels, she answered she believed it very soon and had the desire to believe it. And she said further that St. Michael, when he came to her, told her that St. Catherine and St. Margaret would come to her, that she should follow their counsel, and that they were instructed to lead her and advise her what she had to do; and that she should believe what they said, for it was at Our Lord's Command.

Asked how she would tell if he were a good or bad spirit if the Enemy put himself in the form and guise of an angel, she answered that she would certainly know whether it was St. Michael or a counterfeit in his likeness.

At first she said she had grave doubts whether it was St. Michael; and the first time she was afraid; and she saw him many times before she knew it was St. Michael.

Asked how she knew then rather than on the first occasion that it was St. Michael who had appeared to her, she answered that the first time she was a young girl and was afraid; since then St. Michael taught her and showed her so many things that she firmly believed it was he.

Asked what doctrine he taught her, she answered that in all things he told her to be a good child and God would help her; and, among other things, he told her she should go to

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the aid of the King of France. A great part of what the angel taught her is in this book, and the angel told her of the pity that was in the Kingdom of France.

Asked about the height and stature of this angel, she said she will reply on Saturday with the other matter, namely what shall please God.

Asked if she does not believe it to be a great sin to anger St. Catherine and St. Margaret who appear to her, and to do contrary to their bidding, she answers yes, but she knows how to atone for it; what angered them most of all [in her opinion] was the leap at Beaurevoir; wherein she asked their forgiveness, and for other offenses she had committed against them.

Asked if St. Catherine and St. Margaret would not take bodily vengeance for this offense, she answered that she does not know, and has not asked them.

Asked why she formerly said, that for speaking truth one is sometimes hanged, and if she knew of any crime or fault in her through which she might or ought to die, were she to confess, she answered no.

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