Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jesus & Joan

Christmas is a good time to talk about the real focus of Saint Joan of Arc’s life as she was clearly focused upon serving Jesus Christ as she showed in everything that she did. Joan had the name of Jesus and his mother Mary placed upon her famous banner along with a picture of God holding the world. Go here for more about Joan’s Banner

Joan also wore a ring that had been given to her by her parents that she described as having three crosses and the names of Jesus and Mary. Go here for more about Joan’s Ring

Even the letters that Joan sent out usually contained a cross along with the names Jesus-Maria. Go here for more about Joan’s Letters

In all that she did Joan of Arc honored Jesus and everyone around her saw her great faith and were inspired by her devotion and piety. The following words by Joan’s childhood friend Hauviette are typical of the descriptions of Joan that were later recorded by everyone that knew her: “Joan was a good, simple and sweet-natured girl, she went often and of her own will to church and the sacred places and often she was ashamed because of people remarking how she went so devoutly to church.”

Merry CHRISTmass to all or as Joan would say:


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joan of Arc's Coat of Arms

Joan was awarded a armorial bearings more commonly referred to as a "coat of arms" by Charles VII on June 2, 1429.
I recreated her coat of arms based upon the drawing by Charles VII and the description Joan gave at her trial. A copy of Charles VII's drawing and Joan's description are available at:

Vive la Joan

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Joan of Arc's Friends & Companions

One way to better understand Joan of Arc is to examine some of the people she interacted with while she lived. Several new pages have been added at that give information about some of the key people in her life like her father and mother as well as many of the soldiers that fought with her like the Duke of Alencon and La Hire. To learn more about them try the following pages:

Jacques d’Arc – Joan’s Father
Isabelle Romee – Joan’s Mother

Duke of Alencon

For a complete index go to:
Joan of Arc Friends & Companions

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mark Twain & Joan of Arc

Mark Twain had a great admiration for Saint Joan of Arc for almost his entire life. As his biographer A.B. Paine explains, Twain’s interest in Joan started one day in Hannibal, Missouri when he was a young man working as a printer’s apprentice:

“He was on his way from the office to his home one afternoon when he saw flying along the pavement a square of paper, a leaf from a book. ... He caught the flying scrap and examined it. It was a leaf from some history of Joan of Arc. The "maid" was described in the cage at Rouen, in the fortress, and the two ruffian English soldiers had stolen her clothes. ... there arose within him a deep compassion for the gentle Maid of Orleans, a burning resentment toward her captors, a powerful and indestructible interest in her sad history. It was an interest that would grow steadily for more than half a lifetime and culminate at last in that crowning work, the Recollections, the loveliest story ever told of that martyred girl”

If you have never read Twain’s great biography Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc then you give it a read. I personally consider it the best fictional account of Joan’s life and you can read the review I wrote about it at: Joan of Arc Book & Movie Reviews

The full book is available online at at:

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

or go to the
Table of Contents for Joan of Arc by Mark Twain

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Ben D. Kennedy & Joan of Arc

People are constantly asking me how I become interested in Joan of Arc and about why have I devoted so much time and energy to writing a book about her and in creating my large website devoted to teaching her true and full history. I provide some insight about my motivations on the home page where I wrote:

People have asked me why I chose to write about Saint Joan of Arc since it seems to some a departure from my normal American based writings. There is much that I can say about how the lessons learned from Saint Joan's life are very relevant to today's American citizen, but the real reason I wrote about her is ultimately much more personal. I find myself feeling similar to the way a great American writer of the nineteenth century felt. Mark Twain, after finishing his own biography about Saint Joan of Arc, said that:
"Possibly the book may not sell, but that is nothing-it was written for love"

You can also find some more details about me on the About the Author page at and learn more about the creation process of the book on the page for Maid of Heaven: The Story of Saint Joan of Arc There is also a good Question and Annwer interview I did about both Joan of 'Arc and my book located at Online Interview about Joan of Arc

Deo Vindice,

Ben D. Kennedy

Friday, October 1, 2010

Joan’s Leap for Freedom

During October of 1430, Saint Joan of Arc was held prisoner at the Castle of Beaurevoir by the Burgundians who had captured her. Joan had been waiting since the end of May to be ransomed back to her own forces which was the normal custom of the time for military prisoners of war. Unfortunately for Joan the English were not ever going to allow her to again lead armies against them and were negotiating with the Burgundian John of Luxemburg to have Joan sold to them. Joan knew that if she were delivered into English hands she was as good as dead because they had always yelled taunts at her that if they captured her they would burn her.

Joan apparently knew about the negotiations to sell her to the English because she became desperate enough to attempt an escape by jumping from the window of the tower where she was held which was at least sixty feet above the ground. Later at her trial Joan explained about her escape attempt: “I was sold to the English and I preferred to die rather than be in the hands of the English.” Somehow Joan managed to survive the sixty foot drop that would have killed most people but she was knocked unconscious and was later found by her captors ending her escape attempt.

The miraculous feat of Joan surviving such a long fall was recently driven home to me when I had my own fall off of a ladder from about nine feet above the ground. I was very fortunate that I hit on my side and did not break any bones but I was busted up pretty bad with damage to my hand, knees, and face. It is five months later and I am just now getting back to normal with my front teeth still being a little sore. When I think about Joan falling sixty feet with no damage to herself all I can say is amazing, which is the same exclamation that can be used for so much of Joan’s life: AMAZING!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Joan of Arc's Attempt to Liberate Paris

This beautiful statue of Joan of Arc is located at Place des Pyramides in Paris. Unfortunately, Joan herself never saw more than the outside walls of Paris as the attempt she made to liberate the city on September 8, 1429, ended in failure. This was Joan’s first military defeat however the circumstances that led to the failure at Paris were clearly not her fault. Perhaps the biggest factor was the delay caused by the King in launching the assault on Paris after Charles VII had been crowned King on July 17, 1429. If Joan and her army had been allowed to immediately march upon Paris after the coronation they most likely would have gained an easy victory as there were only a small number of Burgundian troops guarding the city at that time. Instead of immediately marching to Paris, Charles hesitated and agreed upon several worthless treaties with Burgundy promising peace. The delay allowed the Burdundians the time they needed to strengthen their defenses and obtain re-inforcements from the English. Such delays in military history have usually proven to be extremely costly e.g., Napolean at Waterloo, Germans with Operation Barbarosa, Confederate Army at Gettysburg to name few.

As for Joan, she did everything she could to lead her army to victory at Paris despite the long odds created by the inexcusable actions of her King. She personally led the assault and kept her troops fighting hard all day in an effort to overcome the great walls of the city. Just after sunset Joan was wounded in her thigh by a bolt from a crossbow. Lying wounded she pleaded with her troops and commanders to continue the assault but they carried her to the rear against her wishes and the assault ended. Joan wanted to renew the assault the next day but orders from Charles VII arrived that no further attempt should be made to take Paris and the army was withdrawn several days afterwards. Joan once stated on the march to the coronation at Reims that she “feared only treachery.” It was ultimately the treachery she had feared and not the enemy that defeated Joan at Paris.
"By my staff, the place would have been taken."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Crowning Achievement of Joan of Arc

“Huzzah after huzzah swept the army from van to rear; and as for Joan, there where she sat her horse gazing, clothed all in white armor, dreamy, beautiful, and in her face a deep, deep joy, a joy not of earth, oh, she was not flesh, she was spirit! Her sublime mission was closing – closing in flawless triumph.”

On July 17, 1429, Joan of Arc achieved what was her greatest accomplishment in liberating France when Charles VII was crowned King of France. Many people, including historians, have a hard time understanding the strategic brilliance of Joan in focusing upon getting Charles VII crowned in the traditional way so that the people of France would view him as their legitimate King. Joan understood that to achieve the ultimate victory over England it was necessary to unite France behind one King. Unfortunately for Joan the crowning of Charles VII also marked the pinnacle of her career. But she had changed the course of history and ultimately the man she conducted to throne of France would lead France to complete victory over the English.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Joan of Arc Vindicated on This Date

Today is the 554th anniversary of Joan’s trial being overturned by the Church on July 7, 1456. After a lengthy process known as Joan’s trial of rehabilitation or nullification the Church overturned Joan's conviction and declared that she was a martyr who was wrongly executed by corrupt partisan clergy abusing a Church trial for secular purposes. In a ceremony taking place in the archbishop’s palace in Rouen, where twenty-five years before Joan had been declared a relapsed heretic and burned at the stake, in the presence of many dignitaries including Joan’s brother Jean d’Arc, a sentence was pronounced that vindicated Joan. To read the entire pronouncement please visit the blog Le Fleur de Lys too at

Deo Vindice!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Battle of Patay Anniversary

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Patay, which was the most overwhelming victory that Joan of Arc achieved in her brilliant military career. After the battle of Orleans the English military leaders were concerned but still confident they could defeat the French when they engaged in combat. After the overwhelming victory by Joan of Arc at Patay the English leaders realized they were in serious trouble and that Joan was a real military commander to be feared.
To learn more about the battle of Patay try some of the resources listed at:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Joan of Arc’s Memorial Day

This Sunday, May 30th marks the 579th anniversary of the death of Saint Joan of Arc It seems very appropriate to me that the anniversary of her death falls during Memorial Day Weekend this year as she was one of the greatest soldiers to ever live. As the famous Scottish author and historian Andrew Lang once wrote in comparing Joan to William Wallace “She was the bravest of the brave.”

The anniversary of the death of Saint Joan is celebrated every year by Catholics as her Feast Day which is a way to remember her life and service to God. At there is a special page about Joan’s Feast Day containing descriptions of the heroic way that she met death by people who observed her execution in Rouen on May 30th 1431. You can visit this page at:

During this Memorial Day Weekend I hope everyone will have a chance to stop and remember Saint Joan of Arc as she was perhaps God’s greatest soldier of all.

Vive la Jehanne

Friday, May 7, 2010

Joan of Arc’s Longest Day

“Rise tomorrow very early, earlier even than today, and do the best that you are able. It will be necessary to keep always near me, for tomorrow I shall have much to do, and greater need of you than I have ever had. Tomorrow the blood will flow from my body, above the breast.”

On May 7, 1429, Joan of Arc led her forces against the seemingly impregnable fortress Les Tourelles at Orleans. In the course of the fighting Joan was severely wounded when an arrow pierced her body just above her breast. Without Joan the soldiers and their commanders quickly lost their resolve fearing the worst without Joan and the assault on Les Tourelles appeared as if it would end in failure. Then the miraculous occurred when Joan re-appeared on the battlefield and seized her banner and lead her army forward to make another assault upon Les Tourelles. Jean d’Aulon, who was the head of Joan’s military household, later recalled the amazing turn of events: “. . . the lords and the captains who were with her, seeing that they could not well gain it this day, considering how late it was and also that they were all very tired and worn out, agreed among them to sound the retreat for the army. This was done, and, at the sound of the trumpet call, each one retreated for the day. During this retreat, [d'Aulon] who had been carrying the standard of the Pucelle and still holding it upright in front of the boulevard was fatigued and worn-out, and gave the standard to one named Le Basque, who was with the Lord of Villars. And because [d'Aulon] knew Le Basque to be a brave man, and he feared that harm would come from the retreat, and that the fortress and the Boulevard would remain in the hands of the enemy, he had the idea that if the standard were pushed ahead, due to the great affection in which it was held by the soldiers, they could by this means win the boulevard. And then [d'Aulon] asked Le Basque if he would follow him when he entered and went to the foot of the boulevard; he said and swore he would this. And then [d'Aulon] entered the ditch and went up to the base of the side of the Boulevard, covering himself with a shield for fear the stones, and left his companion on the other side, believing that he would follow him step-by-step. But when the Pucelle saw her standard in the hand of Le Basque, because she believed that she had lost it, as [d'Aulon] who had been carrying it had gone into the trench, she came and took the standard by the end in such a way that he had to let it go, crying, "Ha! My standard! My standard!" And she shook the standard in such a way that the one who is testifying imagined that others might think that she was making a sign to the others by doing this. And then he who was speaking cried: "Ha, Basque! Is this what you promised me?" And then Le Basque tugged at the standard that he dragged it from the hand of the Pucelle, and after this, he went to [d'Aulon] and brought the standard. Because of these things, all those in the army of the Pucelle gathered together and rallied again, assailed this boulevard in such great fierceness that, a short time afterwards, the boulevard and the fortress were taken by them, and abandoned by the enemy, and the French entered the city of Orleans by the bridge . . .”

Monday, April 26, 2010

Joan Begins Her Holy War

On April 26, 1429, Joan of Arc led her army out of Blois to relieve the besieged city of Orleans. I wrote about this grand event in Maid of Heaven as follows:

“Once made chaste by your shining example,
the army marched toward Orleans as planned.
What a procession is must have been, with
singing priests leading the way for four thousand.
Gleaming in your armor while holding your
banner, you cheerfully exhorted your command.”

One of the priests no doubt leading the way was Joan’s personal chaplain Father Pasquerel who later described the departure in picturesque detail:

“The day we quitted Blois to go to Orleans, Joan had all the priests gathered around the banner and they lead the march with the soldiers following. We marched out of the city by the side of the Sologne assembled in that fashion while we sang Veni Creator Spiritus along with several other anthems.”

For Joan this was the day she had long been waiting for, to finally take command of her army and lead them forward to fulfill her God given mission. Veni Creator Spiritus indeed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saint Joan and Easter

While there are no historic accounts remaining of Saint Joan of Arc specifically celebrating Easter it is easy to imagine her in worship as she was once described by one of her contemporaries:

“At the church one often saw her prostrated before the crucifix, sometimes with hands joined, face and eyes uplifted towards the Christ or the Holy Virgin.”

Perhaps it is because Easter is the preeminent event for a devout believer to celebrate and remember the ultimate victory of Christ that God chose this particular time to give Joan the ominous news that she would be captured soon. As Joan later related at her trial:

“During the week of last Easter, on the fosses of Melun, I was told by my Voices, that is to say, Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, that I would be captured before St. John’s Day, and that it was necessary that this should happen, and that I must not be astonished and must accept it willingly, and that God would aid me.”

I am comforted by the thought that Joan received this news with the message of Easter burning in her heart and soul of ultimate victory in Christ remembering that HE IS RISEN!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women’s History Month and Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc is one of the greatest women to ever live and Women’s History Month is a wonderful opportunity to remember her and celebrate her contributions to the world. Joan continues to be an inspiration and role-model to women today because of the outstanding qualities she exhibited during her brief life. Famous 19th century Scottish author and historian Andrew Lang once described Joan as the “Flower of Chivalry” which is a title that probably best summarizes her character.

Women’s History Month was established thirty years ago to help people remember the great achievements and contributions that women have made throughout history. While there have been many great women over the years who have made significant contributions to the world there is none who stands out in quite the same way as Joan of Arc. Rising from total obscurity to lead her people to impossible victories over the most powerful army in the world at the time Joan achieved a fame that continues to amaze all who hear her story.

In a day and age when it seems that there are no true heroes anymore it is refreshing to remember Joan of Arc and again believe that heroes are possible. And let Joan be a reminder to everyone during Women’s History Month about all that women can achieve and that women can ultimately be the greatest heroes of all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mission Begins!

On February 23, 1429, Joan-of-Arc finally received the blessing of Sir Robert de Baudricourt and departed Vaucouleurs to begin her mission to save France. Joan had requested help from de Baudricourt three times before he finally relented and agreed to send her to Charles VII in Chinon. It was during the evening of the 23rd that Joan assembled her small party of six that included her two knights, Jean de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy, their two servants and two of the King’s messengers. The journey they were to begin was long and hazardous and required them to travel at night. Just before Joan departed a women asked Joan: “How can you make such a journey when on all sides are enemy soldiers?” Joan responded: “I do not fear the soldiers, for my road is made open to me; and if the soldiers come, I have God , my Lord, who will know how to clear the route that leads to messire the Dauphin. It was for this that I was born!”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Joan of Arc Relics Fake?

A story about the remains of Joan of Arc being fake continues to circulate on the internet which has always seemed to me superfluous because the historical records are very clear that there were no remains left after she was executed. The Earl of Warwick, who was in charge of Joan while she was in jail and oversaw her execution, ordered that even the few ashes that were left after she was burned be placed in a sack and thrown into the Seine river to make absolutely sure that no “relics” could be claimed later.

And yet, here we are with all these stories saying that Joan’s relics are fake almost six hundred years later. Apparently a bottle containing some charred bones surfaced at a pharmacy in 1867 that was labeled "Remains found under the pyre of Joan of Arc, maiden of Orleans." Despite the historical record that should have alerted everyone in 1867 that these remains had to be fake they were instead preserved as authentic. At least now modern science has finally proven that they are indeed fake and nothing more than the bones of a cat and an Egyptian so that should finally put an end to this story, right. I wonder.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Joan of Arc’s Birthday Today

Today is the 598th anniversary of Saint Joan of Arc’s birth in Domremy, France, on January 6, 1412. I already have a special page devoted to Joan’s birthday at that I encourage everyone to visit as it contains descriptions of her birth and early years by people who personally knew her while she was alive. The page also explains the significance of her birth on the Epiphany which I believe was a gift to her from God because she is truly a “shining star that points the way to the Father of all light.”

Joan of Arc’s Birthday Page

I thought I would use the rest of this blog entry to share with everyone how I personally celebrate Joan’s birthday. I like to light a candle for her every year on both her birthday and her feast day in May and take some time to remember her for the great woman of God that she was. I also like to re-read the poem I wrote to her Maid of Heaven because it always reminds me again of the real Joan and brings me back closer to her. I hope everyone reading this today will find your own way to remember and honor Joan on this special day when she was born.

Happy birthday most beautiful Maid of Heaven!