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Joan of Arc - Trial, Death and Sainthood

Joan d'Arc I  II  III

English Capture Joan

In May of 1430, Joan returned to Campiègne [département of Oise, region of Picardy] which she had taken during the previous fall.  The town was now under siege by the Burgundian troops of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.  On May 23, 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundians and was imprisoned at Beaurevoir [which is between Cambrai and St. Quentin in the present day département of Aisne in the region of Picardy].  The Burgundians, under John of Luxembourg, latter sold her, for 10000 Francs, to the English.  Charles VII made absolutely no effort to rescue or ransom her.   

She was tried by the English for witchcraft and heresy and was condemned to death by a tribunal of French clergy, headed by the bishop of Beauvais, who were sympathetic to the English.   

Heresy Trial and Death of Joan of Arc

On January 3, 1431, she was handed over to the bishop and on February 21 her trial began.  Although in chains, and under constant threat of torture, Joan continued to maintain her innocence over the many months of the trial.  Finally, faced with being burned at the stake, Joan did recant and confess her ‘guilt’.  The tribunal then commuted her sentence to life in prison.  However, this enraged the English, who turned her over to the civil authorities to be burned.  On May 30, 1431, she was burned at the stake before a large crowd at the northern Normandy town of Rouen.  Because heretics could not be buried in the cemeteries, her ashes were thrown into the Seine River. 

In 1455, Joan’s family petitioned Pope Callistus III to reconsider the charges against Joan.  Although Charles had made no effort to save her some 24 years earlier, he did help her family’s appeal to the Pope. 

Beatification of Joan

The Pope found, in 1456, that Joan was innocent of the charges against her.  In 1909, Pope Pius X beatified Joan.

Sainthood of Joan

On May 16, 1920, she was declared to be a saint by Pope Benedict XV.  On June 24, 1920, the French parliament decreed a yearly national festival, in her honor, to take place on the second Sunday in May.  Her feast day is the anniversary of her death:  May 30.  She is the patron saint of France and France’s greatest national heroine.  She was decisive in awakening French nationalism and unity. 

Joan of Arc Museum

The Musée Jeanne d’Arc de Rouen is located at 33 place du Vieux Marché, 76000 Rouen, France [Tel: 02 35 88 02 70; Fax: 02 35 98 53 25] is worth the visit.  The museum covers both Joan and the Hundred Years’ War.  Its Internet site is:  http://www.jeanne-darc.com/.   

Links to Other Sites

Other web sites with information about Joan and her times are:  http://perso.wanadoo.fr/musee.jeannedarc/autres_sites.htm http://www.exagonline.com/grand/plus/domremy.htm

                                       Joan d'Arc I  II  III

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