Joan of Arc Question


Here’s a question for those of you who know this area of Catholic history. The story of Joan is really remarkable in the Church; there’s nothing quite like it. God inspires a young peasant woman to lead an army at a time when no woman would ever do such a thing. In a short while she is betrayed by Church clergy, in collusion with the state, and suffers a dreadful death.

The setting is the complicated Hundred Years War in France and England, and the particular skirmish she was involved in was fairly localized. My question is, how do scholars see her role now, if at all, through the eyes of faith? That is, what did she actually accomplish and what sense is there of its historical significance?

One would think that there would be mighty consequences and a clear sense that she changed history in a significant way given this odd and remarkable event in Church history. Is there?


I recently read Mark Twain’s book on Joan of Arc. She was amazing - her ability to respond to constant questioning while imprisoned had to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. I don’t know enough about the time period and the Church at that time to answer your questions.


I totally agree with you. Without Joan, France would have fallen under English rule and eventually become Protestant. The Church would not be as universal now. Divine intervention in history is sometimes key.


I am sorry not to have the answers to the OP’s questions. I just wanted to say that even my beloved Shakespeare got it wrong in Henry VI Part I, where Joan is listed in the cast of characters, sarcastically, as La Pucelle (The Virgin). The portrait of Joan in this play is vile in the extreme. She is presented as a lying, fornicating, scheming minx, who consorts with demons and whose own father urges the English to burn her. She even pretends to be pregnant in a desperate ploy to avoid the stake. Perhaps Shakespeare was playing to the groundlings with this portrait: the average Englishman in the sixteenth century would certainly have seen Joan as an agent of Satan. Just goes to show that even great geniuses like Shakespeare can make mistakes. Do forgive my straying from the topic of the thread. :frowning_face:


Joan was present in a key moment that prevented the English takeover of France. France is a critical player in the history of the Church and England was doomed to go protestant.

Joan of Arc is also a representation of Mary, just like Judith and Delilah were in the Old Testament.

Everything about her was an aberration. A woman. A peasant. Uneducated. Leading a local military campaign. The Holy Spirit was very much involved in it all.


Or just native intelligence, honed while leading men twice her age who probably were not used to dealing with assertive women.

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