Giovanna D'Arco

Article

November 27, 2021

Joan of Arc (in French Jeanne d'Arc, in Middle French Jehanne Darc; Domrémy, 1412 - Rouen, May 30, 1431) was a French national heroine, venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church, also known as "the maiden of 'Orléans' (in French 'la pucelle d'Orléans'). She recovered from France part of the territory that had fallen into the hands of the British during the Hundred Years War, helping to revive its fortunes, leading the French armies victoriously against the English ones. Captured by the Burgundians in front of Compiègne, Giovanna was sold to the English. These subjected her to trial for heresy, at the end of which, on May 30, 1431, she was condemned to the stake and burned alive. In 1456 Pope Callixtus III, at the end of a second investigation, declared the nullity of this process. Beatified in 1909 by Pius X and canonized in 1920 by Benedict XV, Giovanna was proclaimed patron saint of France.

Childhood and youth

Giovanna was born in Burgundy, in Domrémy (today Domrémy-la-Pucelle), to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romée, in a peasant family from Lorraine, but belonging to the parish of Greux and the castle of Vaucouleurs, subject to French sovereignty. Giovanna, according to the testimonies of the time, was a very devoted and charitable girl; despite her young age she visited and comforted the sick and it was not unusual for her to offer her own bed to the homeless to sleep herself on the ground, under the cover of the fireplace. At the age of thirteen she began to hear "heavenly voices" often accompanied by a glow and visions of the archangel Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret, as she will later argue. The first time these "rumors" appeared to her, according to her own account of her during the trial for heresy suffered in Rouen in 1431, Giovanna was in the garden of her paternal house; it was noon on a summer day: although surprised and frightened by that experience, she decided to consecrate herself entirely to God by making a vow of chastity "for as long as God pleased". In the summer of 1428, due to the Hundred Years War that pitted the kingdom of France against the kingdom of England and Burgundy, his family fled from the Meuse valley towards Neufchâteau, to escape the devastation caused by the troops of Antoine de Vergy, Burgundian captain. It had just begun in 1429 when the British were close to completely occupying Orléans, which had been besieged since October 1428: the city, on the northern side of the Loire, had a strategic value due to its geographical position and economic role. as a gateway to the southern regions; for Giovanna, who would become an emblematic figure in the history of France, that was the moment - prompted by the "voices" she said she heard - to run to the aid of Charles, Dauphin of France, in the war for the throne against the English and their allies Burgundians. As Giovanna herself declared under interrogation, at first she kept the strictest secrecy about these supernatural apparitions, which at first spoke to her about her private life and which only later would have pushed her to leave her home to lead the French army. However, her parents must have guessed something of the change that was taking place in the girl, perhaps also alerted by some confidence that Giovanna herself had let slip, as a friend of Domrémy's would have remembered many years later, and they had decided to marry her to a young man from Toul. Giovanna refused the marriage proposal and her fiancé sued her before the episcopal tribunal; after hearing both parties, the court agreed with Giovanna, since the engagement had taken place without her consent. Having overcome the resistance of her parents, the girl again had freedom of action and was able to devote herself to her mission. The first tap

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