Sunday, May 13, 2012
Joan of Arc
Thanks largely to the many writers and composers that have memorialized this in-your-face woman, Joan of Arc, unlike many of her less famous sisters, is well known throughout the world -- which is impressive when you consider that she only lived nineteen years. Born and raised in Domremy, France, Joan (who signed her letters "Jehanne") believed that God had called her to lead her fellow citizens to overthrow the British who dominated them in the early 1400's.
Initially dismissed by the powers that be, once she was given a chance to prove herself, Joan led her troops into one victorious battle after another, soon making believers of them all. Unfortunately, a group of opportunists captured and sold Joan to the British, who then tried and convicted her as a heretic for adamantly asserting that she had spoken with God. It bothered her accusers greatly, as well, that Joan had cut off her hair and dressed herself as a man -- which they were quite sure meant she was in league with the devil. So, on May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.
Later, of course, the Catholic Church declared her innocent and a Saint. But remembered or forgotten, guilty or innocent, in-your-face women are who they are.