Today on January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc, the future savior of France, was born in the village of Domremy in northern France.
Joan of Arc, sometimes referred to as the Maid of Orleans, was born into a peasant farming family and was never taught to read or write. However, she was raised to be a devout Catholic and genuinely believed in God. At the time of her birth, France and England were in the midst of the bitter Hundred Years’ War. France had lost much of its territorial holdings to England and was on the brink of collapse. Joan and her family were forced to flee their home under threat of invasion. Her hostile and frightening upbringing played a significant role in developing her rooted hatred for England and its allies.
Joan began hearing voices from God at the age of thirteen. She was insistent that the Lord had given her a divine mission; to save France from its enemies and help Charles to become the rightful King of France. Three years later, Joan traveled the dangerous countryside to Chinon to visit with Prince Charles. She was miraculously granted an audience with the Dauphin after cutting her hair short and dressing in men's clothing. Joan confidently promised the prince that she would see him crowned at Reims, the historic city for French coronation ceremonies. In order see this happen, she boldly requested that Charles give her full control of the army to save the besieged city of Orleans.
Against all advice, Charles granted the request. Joan immediately marched towards Orleans dressed in white armor and riding a white horse. Without any military training, she miraculously managed to relieve Orleans and achieved a momentous victory over England and its allies. She would see the prince crowned as King Charles VII shortly after. However, Joan was eventually betrayed by the French and captured by the English. She was tried for witchcraft and burned at the stake at the age of 19. In 1920, she was officially canonized and was one of history’s greatest saints. She serves as an enduring symbol of French nationalism.