Joan of Arc

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Take good care not to judge me wrongly, because you will put yourself in great danger...
Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.

Jehanne Darc also known as Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) (141230 May 1431) was a mystic visionary, military leader, martyr, saint and heroine of France. Executed by fire as a heretic after sentencing by a tribunal of pro-English clergy, she was later cleared of the charges during an appellate trial of the Inquisition on 7 July 1456, and canonized as a saint of the Catholic Church on 16 May 1920.


  • Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.
    • From the trial transcript, as quoted in World Famous Women: Types of Female Heroism, Beauty, and Influence from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time (1881) by Frank Boott Goodrich, p. 126
  • About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter.
    • From the trial transcript, as quoted in The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994)
  • Alas! that my body, clean and whole, never been corrupted, today must be consumed and burnt to ashes!
    • As quoted by Jean Toutmouille during the retrial after her execution (5 March 1449), as quoted in Jeanne d'Arc, maid of Orleans, Deliverer of France (1902) by T. Douglas Murray
  • I am not afraid; I was born to do this.
    • As quoted in While We Wait: Spiritual and Practical Advice for Those Trying to Adopt (2009) by Heidi Schlumpf, p. 37

Trial records (1431)[edit]

I was thirteen when I had a Voice from God for my help and guidance.
If I am not in the state of grace, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.
Saint Joan of Arc's Trials edited by T. Douglas Murray (1903) updated into modern English usage by Mathias Gabel and Carlyn Iuzzolino
  • It is true I wished to escape; and so I wish still; is not this lawful for all prisoners?
    • First public examination (21 February 1431)
  • I was thirteen when I had a Voice from God for my help and guidance. The first time that I heard this Voice, I was very much frightened; it was mid-day, in the summer, in my father's garden. I had not fasted the day before. I heard this Voice to my right, towards the Church; rarely do I hear it without its being accompanied also by a light. This light comes from the same side as the Voice. Generally it is a great light. Since I came into France I have often heard this Voice. … If I were in a wood, I could easily hear the Voice which came to me. It seemed to me to come from lips I should reverence. I believe it was sent me from God. When I heard it for the third time, I recognized that it was the Voice of an Angel. This Voice has always guarded me well, and I have always understood it; it instructed me to be good and to go often to Church; it told me it was necessary for me to come into France. You ask me under what form this Voice appeared to me? You will hear no more of it from me this time. It said to me two or three times a week: 'You must go into France.' My father knew nothing of my going. The Voice said to me: 'Go into France !' I could stay no longer. It said to me: 'Go, raise the siege which is being made before the City of Orleans. Go !' it added, 'to Robert de Baudricourt, Captain of Vaucouleurs: he will furnish you with an escort to accompany you.' And I replied that I was but a poor girl, who knew nothing of riding or fighting. I went to my uncle and said that I wished to stay near him for a time. I remained there eight days. I said to him, 'I must go to Vaucouleurs.' He took me there. When I arrived, I recognized Robert de Baudricourt, although I had never seen him. I knew him, thanks to my Voice, which made me recognize him.
  • The Voice had promised me that, as soon I came to the King, he would receive me. Those of my party knew well that the Voice had been sent me from God; they have seen and known this Voice, I am sure of it. My King and many others have also heard and seen the Voices which came to me: there were there Charles de Bourbon and two or three others. There is not a day when I do not hear this Voice; and I have much need of it. But never have I asked of it any recompense but the salvation of my soul.
    • Second public examination (22 February 1431)
  • The light comes at the same time as the Voice. … I will not tell you all; I have not leave; my oath does not touch on that. My Voice is good and to be honored. I am not bound to answer you about it. I request that the points on which I do not now answer may be given me in writing. … You shall not know yet. There is a saying among children, that 'Sometimes one is hanged for speaking the truth.'" [She is asked : Do you know if you are in the grace of God?] If I am not, may God place me there; if I am, may God so keep me. I should be the saddest in all the world if I knew that I were not in the grace of God. But if I were in a state of sin, do you think the Voice would come to me? I would that every one could hear the Voice as I hear it.
  • Of the love or hatred God has for the English, I know nothing, but I do know that they will all be thrown out of France, except those who die there.
    • Trial records (15 March 1431)
  • You say that you are my judge. I do not know if you are! But I tell you that you must take good care not to judge me wrongly, because you will put yourself in great danger. I warn you, so that if God punishes you for it, I would have done my duty by telling you!
    • Jeanne's warning to Bishop Cauchon (15 March 1431)

Quotes about Joan of Arc[edit]

Sorted alphabetically by author or source
Joanni wears a golden cross and she looks so beautiful in her armour... ~ Kate Bush
Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those that have no imagination? ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • We declare that you are fallen again into your former errors and under the sentence of excommunication which you originally incurred we decree that you are a relapsed heretic; and by this sentence which we deliver in writing and pronounce from this tribunal, we denounce you as a rotten member, which, so that you shall not infect the other members of Christ, must be cast out of the unity of the Church, cut off from her body, and given over to the secular power: we cast you off, separate and abandon you, praying this same secular power on this side of death and the mutilation of your limbs, to moderate its judgment towards you, and if true signs of repentance appear in you to permit the sacrament of penance to be administered to you.
    • A portion of the final sentence pronounced on Joan after her trial, as quoted in The Trial of Jeanne D’arc (1931), by Pierre Champion, as translated by Coley Taylor and Ruth H. Kerr
  • God forgive us: we have burned a saint.
    • An anonymous English soldier after the execution, as quoted in Fools, Martyrs, Traitors : The Story of Martyrdom in the Western World (199) by Lacey Baldwin Smith, p. 11
  • If I were Joan of Arc I would become governor of Puerto Rico and make my island a state — and then become president of the United States of Banana — and head south to conquer all of Latin America and the Caribbean — and swoop back north to take over Canada. I could do all that — if only I could decide between three options: Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy.
  • Joanni, Joanni wears a golden cross
    And she looks so beautiful in her armour
    Joanni, Joanni blows a kiss to God
    And she never wears a ring on her finger...
  • The tide turned and the war began to go against the English. This was due in great part to the influence of a young French peasant girl, Joan of Arc. Inspired by the belief that she had been given a mission by God to deliver France from its invaders and to place the Dauphin on the throne of his fathers, she appeared before him, secured his reluctant consent to allow her to lead some troops, inspired them with her own enthusiasm and confidence, and won a great success by driving away the English who were besieging Orleans. The Dauphin himself was then stirred to greater activity and under the persuasion of the Maid of Orleans, as she came to be called, made his way to Rheims, the ancient coronation city of the French kings, and was there crowned king of France. Joan now felt that she had fulfilled her mission and asked to be allowed to return to her home, but the Dauphin insisted that she should remain with the army. Some time after this she was captured by the English. After a trial which was planned to end in but one way she was burned as a witch in the market place of Rouen. Even one of the persecutors of the innocent French patriot girl wavered and turned away, crying, "God have mercy upon us, we have burned a saint." The movement of success which Joan had begun continued, and although the French frequently wasted their opportunities, yet on the whole the reconquest of their native land went steadily on. The English were driven out of one province after another; their expeditions from England were more poorly equipped and more unsuccessful. Finally the long war came to a close in 1453 by the defeat of an English army near Bordeaux, and the loss of all their territory in France except Calais.
  • Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.
  • Joan of Arc was perhaps the most wonderful person who ever lived in the world. The story of her life is so strange that we could scarcely believe it to be true, if all that happened to her had not been told by people in a court of law, and written down by her deadly enemies, while she was still alive.
    • Andrew Lang, in The Story of Joan of Arc (1906), Ch. 1 : The Childhood of Joan of Arc
  • They burned her cruelly to death in the marketplace of Rouen, with eight hundred soldiers round the stake, lest any should attempt to save her. They had put a false accusation on a paper cap, and set it on her head : it was written that she was "Heretic, Relapsed, Apostate, Idolatress." This was her reward for the bravest and best life that was ever lived.
    • Andrew Lang, in The Story of Joan of Arc (1906), Ch. 18 : The End of the Maid
  • Jehanne... If you come from God, I do not fear you … if you come from the Devil, I fear you even less.
    • Constable de Richemont, who went on to serve at her side in the Battle of Patay.
  • Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those that have no imagination?
    • George Bernard Shaw, of Joan's martyrdom, in Saint Joan : A Chronicle Play In Six Scenes And An Epilogue (1923)
  • Whatever thing men call great, look for it in Joan of Arc, and there you will find it.
    • Mark Twain, in Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte(1896), p. 7; a novel presented as a translation by "Jean Francois Alden" of memoirs by Louis de Conte


  • One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it, and then it's gone. But to surrender what you are, and live without belief - that's more terrible than dying - more terrible than dying young.

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