Joan of Arc



Joan of Arc Newsletter
 Hot Issues : News : Deals


Jehanne: Portraits of a Saint


Her Prophecies

learn about this and other Portraits from Reims
Portrait: In Four Months Time
Jehanne the Maid before Reims Cathedral

"Fear not: what I do, I do by commandment."
In Her Own Words, p. 19

Joan of Arc's prophecies were legendary in her own time. Upon her lips, corroborated by witnesses and testimony, and transcribed by pages and secretaries, one can only come to the conclusion that they were authentic and miraculous. While others confided in her prolific divination, Joan only prophetically charged herself with four main responsibilities, only two of which were realized in her lifetime:

"I shall last a year, and but little longer; we must think to do good work in that year. Four things are laid upon me: to drive out the English; to bring you to be crowned and anointed at Reims; to rescue the Duke of Orléans from the hands of the English; and to raise the siege of Orléans."
In Her Own Words
, p. 27

The Four Prophetic Responsibilities

1. To drive out the English
Despite all of the extraordinary accomplishments of Joan of Arc, she was executed before this prophecy was completely realized. She was the sole inspiration for driving the English out of most of the French Kingdom. However, it was not until November 12, 1437, six years and eight months after her death, that Henry VI lost Paris and historians recognize the English as being driven from France. Joan was responsible, as perhaps no other could possibly have been, for a number of great deeds that masterfully culminated in the recapture of the French Kingdom.

2. To crown and anoint Charles VII in Reims Cathedral
Sometime in March of 1429, Joan professed to the Dauphin that in four months time he would be customarily crowned the King of France in the Cathedral at Reims. This claim is verified in a letter dated April 22, 1429: "...the King, in the course of the coming Summer, would be crowned at Rheims." (Letter of Sine de Roslaer) Charles VII was crowned in the Reims Cathedral on July 17, 1429, with Joan of Arc at his side. Strategically, this was a devastating blow to the English occupation.

3. To rescue the Duke of Orléans from the hands of the English
Duke Charles d'Orléans fell into the hands of the English at the disastrous French defeat of Agincourt in 1415. Lifting the English siege of Orléans paved the way for his release, but it was not until 1440, nine years after Joan's death, with the help of the Duchess of Burgundy that he was freed.

4. To raise the siege of Orléans
The city of Orléans had been besieged for seven months prior to Joan's arrival on April 29, 1429. Jack Dunois, the Bastard of Orléans, was unsuccessful at turning the English away. John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, considered one of the most audacious of the English generals, commanded the garrisons and occupied one of the most formidable fortresses - St. Loup. Joan led the capture of St. Loup on May 4, her first day of battle. Then she vowed not to fight or put on armor the next day, the Day of the Ascension. Instead, she sternly forewarned the enemy with a note fastened to an arrow and shot into the English lines:

learn about this and other portraits from Orléans
"You Englishmen, who have no right in this Kingdom of France, the King of Heaven sends you word and warning, by me Jehanne the Maid, to abandon your forts and depart into your own country, or I will raise such a war-cry against you as shall be remembered forever. And this I write to you for the third and last time, nor shall I write further."
In Her Own Words, p. 35

On May 6, Joan exclaimed "In the name of God! let us go on bravely!" and proceeded to capture the English Fortress of the Augustines. That evening she requested that her chaplain stay close to her the next day as she prophesied "tomorrow blood will flow from my body, above my breast." Joan was the first to set a ladder against the fortress on May 7. Indeed, she was wounded by a crossbow bolt in the shoulder. Upon her return to the battle field, French soldiers were inspired to capture the bridge and the stronghold of Les Tourelles imminently sealing the fate of the English; on May 8, the siege was lifted.

Thus it was that three days of battle over the course of four days lifted the seven month siege of Orléans. Joan of Arc's first military victory was her first battle.

Other Prophecies

5. The French defeat
With pressure building for Joan to begin her mission, she pronounced to Sir Robert de Baudricourt, the Captain of the town of Vaucouleurs, that the French military had suffered a great defeat near the city of Orléans. A few days later, the official messenger arrived with the news, which later became known as the Battle of Herring (February 1429). Sir Robert then granted Joan modest resources to begin her journey to Chinon to convince Charles VII of her divine mission.

6. Finds the King
Hearing of a young farm girl from Lorraine arriving in Chinon to declare her divine mission to crown him King in Reims, Charles VII sought to test her:

[Charles] "The esteemed Sir Robert de Baudricourt has sent us a girl he claims to be the Maid of Lorraine (of the legend that France would be lost by a woman and saved by a maiden woman from Lorraine) on a mission from God. But our eminent Bishop rightly insists upon proof. So, we will put her to the test in front of the entire court. Yes, yes you, La Trémouille will be seated on the throne and I shall be mingling with the assembly. If she ferrets the true king, she will have proven herself divinely inspired."

[Cauchon] "His Majesty's, how shall I put it, boyish demeanor, is legend. She'll spot you at once. And then?"

[Charles] "And then... won't it be fun? Bishop, don't be so dreary. (to the Bishop alone) If nothing else, the crowd will find it miraculous; it will reinforce their faith in God. And what's wrong with that?"

[Cauchon] (to all) "There may be no harm in seeing the girl."
From Joan of Arc with Leelee Sobieski by Alliance Atlantis (1999)

Indeed, presented with the imposter upon the throne, Joan was able to find Charles VII disguised among the crowd.

7. Her sword
Joan proclaimed to have been divinely informed of the whereabouts of a sword:

"Asked if she had been to Ste. Catherine de Fierbois, she answered yes; and there she heard Masses three times on the same day; and then went to Chinon.... She added that when she was at Tours or Chinon she sent for a sword which was in the church of St. Catherine de Fierbois, behind the altar; and immediately it was found there all rusted over. Asked how she knew that this sword was there, she answered that the sword was in the ground, rusted over, and upon it were five crosses; and she knew it was there through her voices, and she had never seen the man who fetched it. She wrote to the clergy of the place asking if it was their pleasure that she should have the sword, and they sent it to her. Nor was it buried deep behind the altar, but she believed she wrote saying it was behind. She added that as soon as the sword was found the priests rubbed it, and the rust fell off at once without effort; a merchant, an armorer of Tours, fetched it." from the Trial of Condemnation, Fourth Session

8. Her own efficacy
In March of 1429, Joan said to Charles VII "I shall last a year, and but little longer. We must think to do good work in that year." Later, she elaborated by saying that she would be captured by mid-summer day (June 24), but that she did not know the exact time. Before the battle at Orléans, Joan was noted as saying "I fear nothing but treachery." Fourteen months later, May 23, 1430, near Compiègne, a region of Beauvais, Joan prayed at one of the churches. Her spirit was troubled as she reportedly told a group of curious children watching, "pray for me, for I have been betrayed." That evening she went with a company of soldiers outside the city against the English. After crossing a bridge on an assault of Monseigneur de Luxembourg's men, the English intercepted her and her men, cutting off their retreat. Refusing the demands to surrender, Jehanne was pulled off her horse by a Burgundian archer and taken prisoner by the Bastard of Wandomme.

9. Wounded in Orléans
A letter dated 22 April, 1429 reads:

"[The Maid said] she would save Orléans... compel the English to raise the siege" and that "she herself would be wounded by a shaft but would not die of it, and that the King, in the course of the coming summer, would be crowned at Rheims."

At her Trial of Rehabilitation, Father Jean Pasquerel testified that on May 6, 1429, Jehanne said "tomorrow blood shall flow from my body above my breast." On May 7, 1429, Joan of Arc led the attack on the English and was wounded in the shoulder by a crossbow bolt.

10. Seven years
In March, 1431, at her Trial of Condemnation, Joan of Arc announced that within seven years the English would suffer a far greater defeat than they had at Orléans losing everything in France. On November 12, 1437, six years and eight months after Joan 's declaration, Henry VI lost Paris and historians recognize the English as being driven from France.

11. The Death
Father Jean Pasquerel told of a man who Jehanne heard curse and was told by her "You did curse God, you who are so near to death!" An hour later, he fell into water and drowned.

Were Joan of Arc's Voices Ever Wrong?

learn about this and other Portraits from OrléansOften during her imprisonment Jehanne talked of her expectation of deliverance though she did not know how or when this would come about. Several people testified that when she realized her deliverance would not be forthcoming, she claimed her voices had deceived her. If she did say this, it is uncertain what she meant as Manchon, notary at her Trial of Condemnation, testified that "until the last she declared her voices came from God and did not deceive her."

Jehanne reported her voices had told her "Have no care for thy martyrdom; you will in the end come to the Kingdom of Paradise."

It seems she may have contradicted herself here, and if her voices were deceptive, it casts doubt over all her claims of divine communication.

Did God Lie?

It was apparent for a time that Joan believed she would be delivered from captivity stating "those who wish to get her out of the world might well precede [her] being saved." Joan of Arc interpreted her martyrdom to mean what she had to endure in prison. Many believe it was this interpretation that initially led her to feel deceived and that this was a feeling she no longer had when she had more time to reflect on what her voices had been telling her. Certainly, she did not always immediately understand what her voices were saying to her, as was evident in her childhood. In any case, it is clear that in the end she held to all her voices had told her and declared them to have been the faithful word of God.


go on to Becoming a Saint >>

|Home|   |Back to Top|   |Contact Us|   |Copyright ©|   |Privacy Policy|   |Site Map|

Website design by Sojourn Photography