Joan of Arc biographical summary, trial testimony, her letters and other related documents.

Joan of Arc

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Brief Overview

St. Joan of Arc was born at Domrémy, France circa 6 January 1412. Citing a mandate from God to drive the English out of France, she was eventually given an escort to bring her before Charles of Ponthieu (later known as King Charles VII). After gaining the approval of the Church scholars at Poitiers in March of 1429, she was granted titular command of an army which quickly lifted the siege of Orléans on 8 May 1429, captured Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency in mid-June, and defeated an English army at Patay on June 18. After accepting the surrender of the city of Troyes and other towns, the army escorted Charles to the city of Rheims for his coronation on July 17. An unsuccessful attack was made on Paris on September 8, followed by the successful capture of St-Pierre-le-Moutier on November 4. As a reward for her service, Charles VII granted her noble status along with her family on 29 December 1429. She returned to the field the following year, despite predicting her own defeat. Captured at Compiègne on 23 May 1430 and transferred to the English, she was placed on trial in Rouen by a selected group of pro-English clergy, many of whom nevertheless had to be coerced into voting for a guilty verdict. Convicted and executed on 30 May 1431, she was subsequently declared innocent by an Inquisitorial court on 7 July 1456 after a lengthy re-trial process which was initiated shortly after the English were finally driven from Rouen, thereby allowing access to the documents and witnesses associated with her trial. The presiding Inquisitor, Jean Bréhal, ruled that the original trial had been tainted by fraud, illegal procedures, and intimidation of both the defendant and many of the clergy who had taken part in the trial. The Inquisitor described Joan's death as a "martyrdom" in his final analysis of the case. In the 16th century the Catholic League used her as one of its symbols, although as with a significant percentage of other declared saints, Joan of Arc's formal canonization process was not initiated until a few centuries later. She was beatified on 11 April 1909 and canonized as a saint on 16 May 1920.
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