Sunday, May 8, 2011

Victory at Orleans

On a May 8th Sunday like today in 1429 Joan of Arc achieved complete victory at Orleans. On the morning of May 8th following the previous day’s spectacular storming and taking of the fort Les Tourelles by the French, the English defenders remaining around Orleans left their siege positions and assembled in order of battle in an open field near the city. The French forces came out of Orleans to oppose the English and for an hour the two armies faced each other. During this time Joan called for mass to be held. A citizen of Orleans, Jean de Champeaux, later testified as to what happened next: “The masses completed, Joan said to look and see whether the English were facing them. "No, the English are turned towards Meung,” someone replied. ‘In God’s name,’ Joan replied, ‘They are going. Let them go, while we go give thanks to God and pursue them no farther, since today is Sunday.” And thus total victory was achieved at Orleans as the English retreated away from Orleans. Joan and her army returned to Orleans and celebrated with the citizens of Orleans, a celebration that is renewed every year on May 8th in honor of the “Maid of Orleans.”

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