French clairvoyant an clairaudient, painting by Benouville
JOAN OF ARC (1412-1431)
Stephen Contrado, B.A., Th.M.
Joan of Arc was born at a time when the French nation was impoverished and the English threatened to deprive the land of what sovereignty remained. We can but wonder what hand Fate played in the birth of this French girl.
That she saved her nation not by political or deceptive means but by seeing and hearing paranormal phenomena make all but the diehard skeptic wonder about the mysterious and unexplained forces interacting with the material world.
The English invader was master of all of France north of the Loire, and the sacred oil of St. Remy was unlikely to anoint the young head of Charles VII, which would establish his authority and legitimacy in the hearts of the French people. To make matters worse, the rich Duke of Burgundy allied himself with the Enlish invaders.Even Charles' mother disowned him. Few people doubted the end of the Capetian Dynasty.
But someone arose to support Charles. It was Jeanne d'Arc, an illiterate peasant girl who tended flocks and herds, and was skilled at needlework. That someone so humble could rise to become the adviser of a king and his imperiled army reinforces a belief in the intervention of supernatural powers.
From the age of twelve the girl declared she saw visions and heard voices which informed her of her mission to crown Charles king in the Cathedral of Rheims.
At sixteen she was requesting an audience before Charles. He had her examined by theologians, and, becoming convinced of her sincerity, he awarded her an army to relieve Orleans, the last hope of French resistance against the English invaders.
She dressed in the white armour she asked to be brought to her from the church of St. Catherine de Fierbois, which she predicted would be found there. She rallied a French army of 4,000 men who were in terror of the enemy and broken in spirit. She led the attack herself and planted the first scaling ladder to retake the towners held by the enemy. Only when an arrow pierced her shoulder did she leave the field. She dressed her wound and returned to the battle. When Orleans was saved she prayed for the souls of the dead.
The English never recovered their control of France. The French won back the capital and drove the English out. A bishop named Pierre Cauchon expelled from Beauvais led a conspiracy against Joan. The King withdrew critical support. Fighting anyway, she was captured and Cauchon sold her to the English who had announced they would burn her alive if they captured her.
The English tried Joan for heresy and witchcraft before a court headed by Cauchon. They alleged her visions and voices were from the devil and her prophecies were lies. The rigged trial found her guilty.
On May 30, 1431 Joan of Arc was brought to the stake. She asked for a cross, and a soldier gave her two sticks tied together. As the flames consumed her she kissed the cross in her hands and and cried out one word, "Jesus!" Her heart was was found unburned in the smoldering remains of the fire. Joan's ashes were poured into the Seine from the bridge of Rouen.
Is history the story of humanity alone in a material world? Or is history a part of a much greater evolution?