She was born a peasant girl in the early 1400s. He mother was a pious woman, dedicated to the faith of her Church. Her father a moderately successful share cropper with some ambition. The little girl was at her mother’s side in prayer quite frequently, and we definitely troubled by the fact that their King had been dethroned and recently left Paris for a remote estate. The English King had now staked his claim as the rule of both France and England and those loyal to France were clearly in fear of what was to come.
This uneducated girl of 13 started to claim that she was receiving communication from God in her prayers that she needed to save France. You can imagine how that was received. She was in the northern part of France that was for the most part occupied by the English. There were somewhat at peace, due to a treaty that removed King Charles from his throne in Paris. This English threat hit home for this little girl when they were forced to abandon their homes when the English, and their Normandy area allies started to invade.
This little girl took this threat upon herself. She took a vow of chastity, and claimed that she would restore King Charles to his throne. Her father thought this was all nonsense and tried, unsuccessfully, to marry her off for some favor. She was so upset that her Father would thwart her mission in life that she barged into a local court and pleaded to the magistrate who granted her wish and issued a court order allowing her to reject the marriage proposal.
At age of 16 she packed her bags and headed off to a nearby town that was still a stronghold for France. She somehow got an audience with the ruler of this town and the local militia to aid her in the quest to vanquish the British from France. He rejected her, probably with much laughter I am assuming. However, she would not be denied. She started combing the countryside and told her story. She got a group of followers, who remained loyal to her, and rumors started to spread that the prophesy that France would be saved by a Virgin started to be fulfilled. I have no doubt that she highly encouraged this prophecy and rumor. The leadership of the town relented, gave in to her demands and outfitted her with a regime which she then took on a 11 day journey to the estate where the former King was headquartered.
Can you imagine the clamor when she comes riding into the palace with full battalion of armed soldiers? She had learned that no one took the little girl look seriously. She cut her hair short, dressed like a man and must have made quite the impression when she demanded an audience with Charles. She indicated that she would restore the city of Reims and see him crowned King of France once again. This was an important city in France for the coronation of Kings. He gave into her. She took his army and marched it to the beleaguered city of Orleans that was under siege from British troops.
Famously, Joan of Arc road in front of her troops in white armor on a white horse and broke the siege lines. She sent scalding letter to the British military leaders after that and started to beat them at every turn. The were forced to retreat back in fear of losing the country side and eventually Paris. Joan kept her promise. She and her men took Charles across enemy lines to the city of Reims and held a ceremony crowning him a King. Yes, a little girl dressed in men’s armor stood in vigilance and saw to it that Charles was made King. Her vision came true.
Of course, Charles proved to be a spineless fool. Joan pushed to invade France, but Charles’ advisors told him the girl was becoming too powerful. So he held back his strength. Joan did take on her attack to rout Paris, but her forces were just not strong enough. They were forced back. Later, she would lead an assault to a French town. She was thrown from her horse and was left outside the gates. The enemy captured her and accused her of being a witch. The British supported enemies of King Charles were using this accusation as a way to discredit his coronation. He betrayed her. She bargained her way out of it somehow, they let her go free. However, not too many days later she was arrested and burned at the stake for the primary disgrace of “dressing like a man.”
At age 19, this young woman was burned alive while the King of France ran away and hid. Later a French King had her retried post humorously, found her guiltless of all charges and published her as a national hero. The Catholic Pope would canonize her as a Saint and they would build monuments and even entire cathedrals in her honor. From farm girl, to revolutionary, to kingmaker, to witch and then to saint. All in 3 years.
What you are going to do with your next 3 years?