Saturday, March 26, 2011

Joan The Woman

When people picture Joan of Arc they generally see her as either the great warrior or the inspired saint, both of which she certainly was, however she was also at her core a simple young woman and really probably more accurately just a girl. I recently acquired an engraved plate of the picture of Joan above that I really love because of the way that the artist portrays Joan. According to the information I found about this artist, Henrietta Ward, she was inspired to paint this scene by the words below by the nineteenth century English writer Philip Henry Stanhope (Lord Mahon) who said of Joan: "Her young heart beat high with enthusiasm for her native France, now beset and beleaguered by the island strangers. Her young fancy loved to dwell on those distant battles, the din of which might scarcely reach her quiet village, but each apparently hastening the ruin of her fatherland. We can picture to ourselves how earnestly the destined heroine-the future leader of armies-might question those chance travelers whom, as we are told, she delighted to relieve, and for whose use she would often resign her own chamber, as to each fresh report from the changeful scene of war."

When I look at Joan in this picture I see in her face a look of consternation and concern for the beaten down soldier of France which reveals the deep love and compassion that she possessed for the people of her country. It reminds me of the words that Joan’s own mother later spoke about her: “Because the people suffered so much, she had a great compassion for them in her heart and despite her youth she would fast and pray for them with great devotion and fervor.”

This picture also reminds me just how young Joan was: only sixteen when she left home for good and only a few months into her seventeenth year when she led the armies of France to victory. As I contemplate all that this exquisite picture conveys I am left with the thought:

“With God all things are possible”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women’s Day

Joan of Arc continues to be a great inspiration to women and will undoubtedly receive a great deal of coverage today on International Women’s Day and throughout March during Women’s History Month. From the beginning of the Women’s movement Joan has been heralded as the epitome of a strong women and her likeness has been used countless times to promote women’s rights such as the poster below promoting women’s suffrage from the early 20th century.

My hope this year is that during all the exposure that Joan receives people will really learn about the true qualities that Joan possessed that made her so strong and such a great women. One of my favorite quotes about Joan by Scottish author and historian Andrew Lang speaks volumes about who Joan really was as both a women and as a person:
"She was the consummation and ideal of two noble human efforts towards perfection. The peasant's daughter was the Flower of Chivalry, brave, gentle, merciful, courteous, kind, and loyal....She was the most perfect daughter of her Church....her conscience, by frequent confession, was kept fair and pure as the lilies of Paradise."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Joan First Meets Charles VII Anniversary

On or around March 7, 1429, Joan of Arc first met Charles VII and the circumstances of their first meeting is one of the many miraculous events in the life of Joan of Arc. According to an eyewitness, Joan, who had never before seen Charles VII or had any idea what he looked like, was able to easily find him in a crowd of people. Apparently Charles had withdrawn into the crowd of people at his court in the castle at Chinon as a way to test her upon learning about her arrival. It must have made a great first impression on Charles that Joan was able to find him out so easily. They withdrew together and had a private conversation where Joan apparently told Charles some secrets that caused him to have “great confidence” in her as he later told some of hose who had witnessed their first meeting.
To learn more including some eyewitness accounts visit the page at titled