Born into a simple Peasant family in Domremy, France (1412), Joan was an unusually devout Catholic girl. She attended Church with such regularity – that most thought she would become a Nun. Joan at an early age, began to state that she could hear the “voices” of her favorite “Saints” speaking to her (including The Archangel Michael). Chided on as “youthful fantasy”, things changed for Joan in her teenage years. The voices (she claimed) stated that she would be the “fulfillment of a prophecy to save France in it's darkest hour”. Joan was also claiming to see “visions” showing France's destruction and of her – leading an Army by the sword, to protect France.
In 1429, Joan traveled to Southern France, where she obtained an audience with The Dauphin – Charles. She convinced him that she had a “divine mission” to lead the French troops to victory at Orleans and secure his Coronation. Charles immediately appointed a Board of Theologians to examine Joan (and her claims). Finding her sincere and not a heretic, Charles appointed her to lead a French Force to Orleans (under English siege). Most of The Dauphin's Army were close to revolt. Badly losing to The English at every quarter and now to have a young girl lead them – they were done. Worse Joan worse an entire suit of combat Armor (and sword). Joan (prior to the battle), had local women sew a banner which showed an image of The Virgin Mary. Joan announced to the Force that as long as they rode with the banner in front of them, they would not lose. Orleans fell to Joan and her Army. So did every French City under English control. Joan fulfilled her promise to The Dauphin and rode with him to to his Coronation as King of France.
Morale in The Army was at an all time high and Joan and her Army was an unstoppable force. That at least is what the “voices” in Joan's head said.During The Battle of Compiegne (1430), Joan was seriously wounded (a crossbow bolt). Lost in the fray of battle, she was captured by The Burgundians (English allies). The French King made no attempt to ransom her (why would he? He had what he wanted). The English, however paid a handsome price for Joan, and took her into custody. Brought before an English “Church Court”, she was interrogated by Bishop Chaucon and a Board of Inquisition. They found her guilty of heresy and witchcraft.
Further, it was The Devil speaking to her and not God. This was evidenced by Joan's habit of wearing male clothes (a major taboo). Joan recanted under the intense psychological torture she was subjected to. Sentenced to life imprisonment, Joan began to wear male clothing again. Brought back to Court, Joan “recanted her recantment”. They ordered her burnt at The Stake (which was carried out in 1431). A Papal Commission was drawn up in 1456 to better examine the findings of The Court. However, The findings concluded that Joan was telling the truth about the voices, and her condemnation and excommunication was lifted. In 1920, she was canonized.
Many historians feel that the reversal of The Church was brought about by the need for a “National Hero” for France and that Joan could not be that - until her verdict was expunged. Further, The English needed Joan removed for the very same reason. Joan and her ideology WAS turning the tide of The Hundred Years War. Joan's case is a classic example of an “injustice being made into an even bigger injustice” under the guise of “justice”.