May 30th (1431) :: Born on January 6th, 1412 in Domrémy (French Lorraine) in a relatively wealthy family of farmers during the Hundred Years War, a hyper-religious girl and future war goddess claims to hear voices in her early teenage years, heavenly voices inducing her to liberate France from the invader coming from the island. She apparently resists the mysterious calls for years before she decides to go to Vaucouleurs in order to meet captain Robert de Baudricourt who could help her arrange a discussion with the coming to be Charles VII based in Chinon and to tell him about the voices from Heaven.
Sceptical, Charles has her interrogated by religious authorities in Poitiers where Joan has to answer loads of questions and was reportedly tested for virginity too... twice ! Just to be sure. After she has passed the religious reliability check, she makes four predictions:
- the English siege of Orléans will cease
- the new king will be crowned in Reims
- Paris will be under of the new royal influence
- the Duke of Orléans will be back from captivity in England
With the new king's approval, Joan starts a campaign to liberate Paris but she is imprisoned in Compiègne on May 23rd, 1430 by Jean de Luxembourg fighting for the Bourguignon Duke Philippe le Bon who still rules Paris at that point. From there, she is sold to the English and taken to the Chateau de Bouvreuil in Rouen where she basically seems to have been facing a trial without real accusation. She keeps claiming her unconditional faith in Jesus Christ and God and stays focused on her mission from Heaven. With the English starting to be irritated by her growing popularity, she is threatened, tortured and ends up facing death penalty because finally found guilty of heresy... for wearing men clothing while at war and in prison. For the authorities, the fact that she is wearing clothes that are forbidden for women simply cannot mean she is pure and on a truly divine mission. She eventually accepts to wear women clothing exclusively even while still in prison which might obviously cause her serious trouble but she gets tricked by Pierre Cauchon aka Sneaky P who was put in charge of the trial by the English. Her feminine clothes are removed of her cell and she is left with male clothing only that she probably preferred to the concept of female prison nudity.
This is enough for Cauchon to accuse her of relapse and to validate her condemnation. Heresy ! She is wearing men clothes again !
The influence Joan of Arc has had on the whole new French kingdom is tremendous considering the fact that she has only been appearing in public for two years: one of them on the battle fields and the other one in captivity. Charles VII, who owed her a lot never really publicly intervened to save her but her popularity amongst the people remained strong years after her death at the age of only 19. Her executioner, Geoffrey Thérage, apparently repeatedly stated he feared to be damned for having killed what maaaayyyybe could have been a genuine good and potentially just extraordinarily courageous person... although also being a potentially very dangerous enemy to have... going psycho sometimes because of the voices...
Induced by a grand style public relation campaign ignited by Joan's mother (Joan might have inherited her stubbornness from mum), Joan was officially and publicly rehabilitated by Pope Calixte III 25 years later and the judgment that found her guilty of being a witch was cancelled. The Joan of Arc popular legend kept growing from there leading to her beatification almost 500 years after her death in 1909 and to her canonisation as 'St. Joan of Arc, Maid of Orléans' by Pope Benedict XV on May 16th, 1920.
Church, it's never too late to admit one's missteps. Take your time but don't to push it too far either...