Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Joan of Arc
Lived from 1412-1431
In the long wars between the French and English not even the Black Prince or King
Henry V gained such fame as did a young French peasant girl, Joan of Arc.
She was born in the little village of Domremy (dom-re-me'). Her father had often told her
of the sad condition of France--how the country was largely in the possession of England,
and how the French king did not dare to be crowned.
And so the thought came to be ever in her mind, "How I pity my country!" She brooded
over the matter so much that by and by she began to have visions of angels and heard
strange voices, which said to her, "Joan, you can deliver the land from the English. go to
the relief of King Charles."
At last these strange visions and voices made the young girl believe that she had a
mission from God, and she determined to try to save France.
When she told her father and mother of her purpose, they tried to persuade her that the
visions of angels and the voices telling her of the divine mission were but dreams. "I tell
thee, Joan," said her father, "it is thy fancy. Thou hadst better have a kind husband to take
care of thee, and do some work to employ thy mind."
"Father, I must do what God has willed, for this is no work of my choosing," she replied.
"Mother, I would far rather sit and spin by your side than take part in war. My mission is
no dream. I know that I have been chosen by the Lord to fulfill His purpose and nothing
can prevent me from going where He purposes to send me."
The village priest, her young companions, even the governor of the town, all tried to stop
her, but it was in vain.
To the governor she said, "I must do the work my Lord has laid out for me."
Little by little people began to believe in her mission. At last all stopped trying to
discourage her and some who were wealthy helped her to make the journey to the town of
Chinon (she-non'), where the French king, Charles the Seventh, was living.
When Joan arrived at Chinon, a force of French soldiers was preparing to go to the south
of France to relieve the city of Orleans which the English were besieging.