Joan of Arc - Maid of Heaven

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

Chapter 10: The Vicar of the Lord Inquisitor is Summoned

Monday, March 12th. The Vicar of the Lord Inquisitor is summoned according to the tenor of his new commission

On the following Monday, March 12th, there appeared in our dwelling at Rouen the religious and discreet brother Jean Le Maistre, of the order of Preaching brothers, vicar of the lord Inquisitor of Heretical Error in the kingdom of France: there were present also the venerable and discreet lords and masters Thomas Fiesvet, Pasquier de Vaulx, doctors of decrees, Nicolas de Hubent, apostolic secretary, and brother Ysambard de La Pierre, of the order of Preaching brothers.

We the said bishop reminded the said vicar that at the beginning of the proceedings we had instituted in matters of faith against this woman commonly called The Maid, we had required and summoned him to collaborate with us, and offered to communicate to him all the instruments, testimonies and other things pertaining to the matter and trial: but that he had raised certain difficulties which prevented his collaboration in the trial, since he was appointed for the city and diocese of Rouen alone, whereas the trial was being held before us, by reason of our jurisdiction of Beauvais, in ceded territory. Therefore for the greater certainty of the undertaking and with extreme precaution we, on the advice of learned men, had resolved to write to the lord Inquisitor himself, urging

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him to return to his city of Rouen or at least to appoint his deputy expressly to this task, and entrust him with complete authority from the lord Inquisitor to undertake and conclude the trial, as is set forth at greater length in the letters above. Now the said lord Inquisitor, upon the receipt of our letters, in benign compliance with our demand and for the honor and exaltation of the orthodox faith, especially appointed and deputed the said brother Jean Le Maistre to conduct and conclude the trial in his letters patent secured and confirmed by his seal, of which the tenor follows. Therefore we summon and require the said brother Jean Le Maistre, in accordance with the tenor of his commission, to join with us in this trial. Whereupon the said brother answered that he would gladly peruse the commission addressed to him, with the documents of the trial signed by the notaries, and the other things we desired to communicate to him, and would give us, when he had seen and considered them, a reply conforming to his duty on behalf of the holy inquisition. But we told him that he had already been present during a great part of the proceedings, and had heard most of the answers of the said Jeanne, that however we were content and well pleased to communicate to him the process and all that had occurred in the matter, for his perusal and examination.

Follows the tenor of the letters of appointment addressed by the Lord Inquisitor and mentioned above

"To his dear son in Christ brother Jean Le Maistre of the order of Preaching brothers, Jean Graverent of the same order, humble professor of sacred theology and Inquisitor of Heretical Error by apostolic authority in the kingdom of France, greeting in the author and consummator of our faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Since the reverend father in Christ the lord bishop of Beauvais has written to us in connection with

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a certain woman of the name of Jeanne, commonly called 'The Maid, in his letters patent beginning 'Pierre by divine mercy bishop of Beauvais to the venerable father master Jean Graverent'; and since from lawful impediment we cannot now conveniently journey to Rouen, we, being confident in your zeal and discretion in all that concerns our office and the affairs of this woman up to and including the final sentence, have especially appointed you and by the tenor of these present letters do appoint you our vicar, hoping that to the praise of God and the exaltation of the faith and the edification of the people, you will proceed therein with justice and holiness. In witness whereof the seal of our office is affixed to these present letters. Given at Coutances, March 4th in the year of our Lord 1431."

Signed: N. Ogier.

The same Monday, March 12th, in prison

This same Monday morning, we the aforesaid bishop repaired to the chamber assigned as jail for the said Jeanne, where similarly were assembled at the same time the venerable and discreet lords and masters Jean de La Fontaine, our appointed commissary, Nicolas Midi and Gerard Feuillet, doctors of sacred theology, and witnesses Thomas Fiesvet and Pasquier de Vaulx doctors of canon law, and Nicolas de Hubent, apostolic secretary, aforementioned.

In their presence we required the said Jeanne to swear to answer truthfully what should be asked her. She replied that "on what touches your case," as she had formerly said, she would willingly speak the truth. And in this manner she took the oath.

Then she was examined at our command by the said master Jean de La Fontaine: and first whether the angel that brought

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the sign to her king, as beforesaid, did not speak, she answered: "Yes, he told the king to set me to work so that the country might be forthwith relieved."

Asked whether the angel that brought the sign to the king was the same that first appeared to her, or whether it was another, she answered: "It is always the same one, and he never fails me."

Asked whether the angel did not fail her in respect of the good things of fortune, when she was taken, she answered that she thought that since it pleased God, it was better for her to be taken prisoner.

Asked whether the angel did not fail her in respect of the good things of grace, she answered: "How should he fail me, when he comforts me every day?" And she believes, as she says, that this comfort is from St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

Asked whether she calls St. Catherine or St. Margaret or whether they come without being called, she answered: "They often come without my calling," and sometimes if they did not come, she would pray God to send them.

Asked whether she sometimes called them without their coming, she answered that she had never needed them without having them.

Asked whether St. Denis sometimes appeared to her, she answered no, as far as she knew.

Asked whether she spoke to, Our Lord when she promised Him to keep her virginity, she answered that it ought to be quite enough to promise it to those who were sent from Him, namely St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

Asked what persuaded her to summon a man from the town of Toul for breach of promise, she answered: "I did not have him summoned; it was he who summoned me; and I swore before the judge to tell the truth." And moreover, she said, she had made no promise to this man. She added that

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the first time she heard her voice she vowed to keep her virginity as long as it should please God; and she was then thirteen years old, or thereabouts. She said her voices assured her that she would win her case at Toul.

Asked if she had not spoken to her priest or any other churchman of the visions which she claimed to have she answered no, save to Robert de Baudricourt and to her king. She added that her voices did not compel her to conceal them, but she was afraid of revealing them, afraid that the Burgundians might hinder her journey; and in particular she feared that her father would stop it.

Asked if she believed it was right to leave her father and mother without permission, when she should honor her father and mother, she answered that in all other things she was obedient to them, except in this journey; but afterwards she wrote to them, and they forgave her.

Asked whether she thought she had committed a sin when she left her father and mother, she answered that since God commanded, it was right to do so. She added that since God commanded, if she had had a hundred parents, or had been the king's daughter, she would have gone nevertheless.

Asked whether she asked her voices if she should tell her father and mother of her going, she answered that as for her father and mother, the voices were well pleased that she should tell them, but for the difficulty they would have raised if she had done so; and as for herself, she would not have told them for anything. She said the voices left it to her to tell her father and mother, or be silent.

Asked whether she did reverence to St. Michael and the angels, when she saw them, she answered that she did, and kissed the ground where they had stood after they had gone.

Asked whether the said angels were long with her, she answered that they often came among the Christian folk and

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were not seen, and she often saw them amongst the Christian folk.

Asked whether she had had letters from St. Michael or from her voices, she answered: "I have not leave to tell you: within a week from now I will gladly tell you what I know."

Asked if her voices did not call her daughter of God, daughter of the Church, daughter great-hearted, she answered that before the raising of the siege of Orleans, and every day since, when they have spoken to her they have often called her Jeanne the Maid, daughter of God.

Asked why, since she calls herself, daughter of God, she will not willingly say the Paternoster, she answered that she would willingly do so, and that on other occasions when she refused, it was with the intention that we the aforesaid bishop should hear her in confession.

The afternoon of the same Monday, in prison

This same day, Monday, in the afternoon, there were present in the place of the prison of Jeanne the aforementioned lords and masters, Jean de La Fontaine, our commissary, Nicolas Midi and Gerard Feuillet, doctors of sacred theology; Thomas Fiesvet and Pasquier de Vaulx, doctors of canon law, and Nicolas de Hubent, apostolic notary.

The said Jeanne was examined at our order by the said de La Fontaine, and firstly concerning the dreams she declared her father had had before she left his house. To which she replied that whilst she was still with her father and mother she was often told by her mother that her father spoke of having dreamed that Jeanne his daughter would go off with men-at-arms; and her father and mother took great care to keep her safely, and held her in great subjection: and she was obedient to them in all things except in the incident at Toul,

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the action for marriage. She said she had heard her mother tell how her father said to her brothers: "In truth, if I thought this thing would happen which I have dreamed about my daughter, I should want you to drown her; and if you would not, I would drown her myself." And her father and mother almost lost their senses when she left to go to Vaucouleurs.

Asked whether these thoughts and dreams came to her father after she had her visions, she answered yes, more than two years after she first heard the voices.

Asked whether it was at the request of Robert de Baudricourt that she first took to a man's dress, she answered that it was of her own accord, and not at the request of any man alive.

Asked whether the voice ordered her to wear a man's costume, she answered: "Everything I have done I have done at the instruction of my voices; and as to the dress, I will answer that another time; at present I am not advised, but to-morrow I will answer."

Asked whether she thought she was doing wrong in taking to male attire, she answered no; and even at this moment, if she were back with her own party it seems to her that it would be to the great good of France for her to do as she did before her capture.'

Asked how she would have delivered the Duke of Orleans, she answered that she would have taken enough English prisoners to ransom him; and if she had not taken enough on this side, she would have crossed the sea and fetched him from England, by force.

Asked whether St. Margaret and St. Catherine had told her absolutely and unconditionally that she would take enough prisoners to ransom the Duke of Orleans, who was in England, or that she should cross the sea to fetch him [and within three years bring him back], she answered yes: and she told the king to let her have her way with the English lords who

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were their prisoners. She adds that if she had gone on without hindrance for three years she would have delivered the Duke. She says that to do this three years were more than were necessary, and one was too little; but she does not remember it now.

Asked what the sign was which she gave her king, she answered she would take counsel from St. Catherine concerning it.

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