Joan of Arc was born around 1412 and during her short but eventful life, was given the name “The Maid of Orleans”. She was declared a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church and is celebrated as a true heroine of France for her role during the Hundred Years War.
The starting point for her journey was when she declared that she had received visions from angels, telling her to support Charles VII and to fight for the recovery of French soil from the English. On hearing this, she was sent to the Siege of Orleans as part of the relieving army, which was ultimately successful in lifting the siege and Charles won several other victories afterwards. This added to her reputation.
Sadly, she was captured by French Nobles who were working with the English and following a trial, she was found guilty and burned at the stake in 1431. A subsequent court set up by the Pope in 1456, declared her innocent and subsequently made her a martyr, leading the way for her canonisation in 1920.
Joan of Arc has been a figure in literature, art and culture for hundreds of years and continues to inspire people in France and the wider world, to this day.
1. Everything I have said or done is in the hands of God. I commit myself to Him! I certify to you that I would do or say nothing against the Christian faith.
2. Men are sometimes hanged for telling the truth.
3. The poor folk gladly came to me, for I did them no unkindness, but helped them as much as I could.
4. Responding to trick query about whether she believed herself in a state of grace:] If I am not, may it please God to bring me into it; if I am, may He preserve me in it.
5. The Maid and her soldiers will have the victory. Therefore the Maid is willing that you, Duke of Bedford, should not destroy yourself.
6. Do you know whether or not you are in God’s grace? Joan: If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.
7. Truly, if you were to tear me limb from limb and separate my soul from my body, I would not say anything more. If I did say anything, afterwards I would always declare that you made me say it by force!
8. Even little children repeat that oftentimes people are hanged for having told the truth.
9. The angels are as perfect in form as they are in spirit.
10. It is true I wished to escape; and so I wish still: is not this lawful for all prisoners?
11. Even though I saw the executioner and the fire, I could not say anything but what I have said.
12. If ever I do escape, no one shall reproach me with having broken or violated my faith, not having given my word to any one, whosoever it may be.
13. Alas! that my body, clean and whole, never been corrupted, today must be consumed and burnt to ashes!
14. In God’s name let us go on bravely.
15. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone. But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.
16. Help yourself and God will help you
17. If I said that God did not send me, I should condemn myself; truly God did send me.
18. What concerns this dress is a small thing – less than nothing. I did not take it by the advice of any man in the world. I did not take this dress or do anything but by the command of Our Lord and of the Angels.
19. If I be not in a state of grace, I pray God place me in it; if I be in it, I pray God keep me so.
20. I was admonished ot adopt feminine clothes; I refused, and still refuse. As for other avocations of women, there are plenty of other women to perform them.
21. I saw them with my bodily eyes as clearly as I see you. And when they departed, I used to weep and wish they would take me with them.
22. About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.
23. All battles are first won or lost, in the mind.
24. I die for speaking the language of the angels.
25. I place trust in God, my creator, in all things; I love Him with all my heart.
26. Courage! Do not fall back; in a little the place will be yours. Watch! When the wind blows my banner against the bulwark, you shall take it.
27. I am the drum on which God is beating out his message.
28. Hope in God. If you have good hope and faith in Him, you shall be delivered from your enemies.
29. I answered the voice that I was a poor girl who knew nothing of riding and warfare .
30. Every man gives his life for what he believes … one life is all we have to live and we live it according to what we believe.
31. Before being burned at the stake for her faith:] Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames.
32. Go forward bravely. Fear nothing. Trust in God; all will be well.
33. How else would God speak to me, if not through my imagination?
34. It is better to be alone with God. His friendship will not fail me, nor His counsel, nor His love. In His strength, I will dare and dare and dare until I die.
35. About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing.
36. Children say that people are hung sometimes for speaking the truth.
37. If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.
38. 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.
39. I was in my thirteenth year when I heard a voice from God to help me govern my conduct. And the first time I was very much afraid.
40. You say that you are my judge; I do not know if you are; but take good heed not to judge me ill, because you would put yourself in great peril.
41. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.
42. Since God had commanded it, it was necessary that I do it. Since God commanded it, even if I had a hundred fathers and mothers, even if I had been a King’s daughter, I would have gone nevertheless.
43. I would rather die than do something which I know to be a sin, or to be against God’s will.
44. 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. I think I was about thirteen when it came to me for the first time.
45. Far rather would I sit and sew beside my poor mother, for this thing is not of my condition. But I must go, and I must do this thing, because my Lord will have it so. Rather now than tomorrow, and tomorrow than the day after!
46. Get up tomorrow early in the morning, and earlier than you did today, and do the best that you can. Always stay near me, for tomorrow I will have much to do and more than I ever had, and tomorrow blood will leave my body above the breast.
47. 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.
48. King of England, and you, duke of Bedford, who call yourself regent of the kingdom of France… settle your debt to the king of Heaven; return to the Maiden, who is envoy of the king of Heaven, the keys to all the good towns you took and violated in France.
49. It is true that the king has made a truce with the duke of Burgundy for fifteen days and that the duke is to turn over the city of Paris at the end of fifteen days. Yet you should not marvel if I do not enter that city so quickly.