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Joan of Arc - Has She Risen ?

Joan of Arc

On May 30, 1431, Joan of Arc, a young peasant girl from eastern France who claimed to be sent from Heaven to deliver France from her enemies, was burned alive by the British as heretics, at the age of nineteen. The military career of the so-called Maid of Orleans was short, but spectacular: in one year, at the head of her army, she liberated large portions of the territory and won several important victories; thanks to her, Charles VII is crowned king of France in Reims. Then she is captured, judged and executed.

And yet the story of the Maid of Orleans does not end quite at the stake of Rouen. Because on March 14, 1436, a young woman of twenty-five years presents herself in Lorraine and affirms that she is Joan of Arc!

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Recognized by his brothers

This miraculous return was greeted with the utmost skepticism, but Joan's two younger brothers, Petit-Jean and Pierre, both recognized their sister. Joan also went to Metz, where she found many people who had rubbed the Maid during her spectacular ride against the English, including Nicolas Lowe, the king's chamberlain. If it had been an imposture, Metz would have been for her the last place to go. Other old companions of Joan of Arc recognized her at Vaucouleurs, where she stayed a week while Petit-Jean went to warn the king. We do not know how Charles VII reacted, but he gave him 100 francs.

On June 24, 1437, the miraculous powers of Joan of Arc (powers to which she attributed her victories of 1429) came back to her. She became the protege of Count Ulrich of Wurtemberg who took her with him to Cologne. There, the inquisitor general was interested in the Count's guest, but he was most shocked to discover that Joan was engaged in magic, that she loved to dance with men, and that she ate and drank more than reason! He excommunicated her, which does not seem to have disturbed Joan of Arc, nor did it prevent her from marrying a certain Robert des Armoises (this despite the vow of chastity she had pronounced at other times).

The lady of the Armoises

In 1440, having become a lady of the Armoises, Joan of Arc finally returned to Paris, where she met the king. It was then that she knew her first setback: after meeting her, the king declared that it was an imposture, but for all that, he did not stop her on the spot. Be that as it may, according to the Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris, Joan was later arrested and sentenced as a forger. She had to publicly confess to indulging in identity theft.

The lady of the Armoises then returned to Metz, where people continued to consider her as Joan the Maid. Fourteen years later, she went to Saumur, where, again, she was welcomed as the Maid of Orleans. After which the story loses its trace - it is likely that she quietly ends her days in Metz at the side of her husband.

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An unwelcome resurrection?

What to think of the history of the denunciation of the king and his public confession? The only source to mention this is the Journal of a Bourgeois of Paris, which in itself is rather strange, as it is a public scandal. It should be noted also that the nobility had always been hostile to Joan of Arc because of her influence on the king. The same was true of the clergy, the University of Paris having ratified her condemnation for heresy.

A return of Joan of Arc would have placed the clerks and magistrates of Paris in a situation more than uncomfortable. Even for the followers of Joan in the Church, this reappearance was embarrassing: a virgin and martyrdom imposed more than a noble lady with a suspicious identity.

Was it the king who found the solution? If he renounced it, she could disappear from the scene and go live her life; everyone would find its account. This is what happened.

St. Joan of Arc

One question remains unanswered: how would Joan of Arc have escaped the stake in 1431? In fact, the hypothesis of a rescue is not as absurd as it seems. We know that Joan had a power of persuasion out of the ordinary; she had succeeded in convincing the most incredulous that she had heard the voices of the angels! On the day of her execution, no less than 800 English soldiers kept the crowd at a distance, and no one among those who knew her could get near the pyre to recognize the Maid.

If the lady of the Armoises was Joan of Arc, one can imagine that she perceived all the irony of her situation. She had plunged the world into embarrassment when she was a warlike virgin inspired by God; and here she was just as cumbersome as a heroin returned from the dead. In 1456, the pope canceled her conviction for heresy. Her canonization did not intervene until 1920.

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