Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc)
c. 1412 – May 30, 1431
Jeanne (Joan of Arc in English) was born in a time of great unrest in France. The King of England was close to ruling both England and France. She grew up in a small town in southern France and began seeing visions at age twelve.
After that first vision she said that St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret spoke to her, urging her to remove the English from France. She spoke about her visions and found supporters in high and low places. Eventually she was able to speak with the Dauphin, Charles VII. He accepted her story and sent her with the army to Orléans where a vital battle was to happen.
Casting aside the reserved tactics the French had been employing, Jeanne led the army to a series of victories unlike anything they’d seen for years. She repeatedly disobeyed the orders of military leaders as they told her to act defensively. Jeanne led the army to Reims where Charles VII was crowned king.
Shortly after the coronation Jeanne was captured after claiming the position of honour in a retreat. She stayed to be the last person to retreat and was captured. Her family was not rich enough to pay the ransom and the new king refused. She tried escaping by jumping from a 70 foot tower, but failed.
She was tried as a heretic and impressed the court with her intelligence. It was not enough to succeed though and she was burned at the stake. After he death she was given a retrial and found innocent. In 1920 she was made a saint.