Jeanne d’Arc: The End

By Joan

Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen

In Domremy, Jeanne would hear her voices when the church bell rang. I sit in our hotel room in Rouen as the bells of the cathedral ring and think of Jeanne here in this city, in captivity for over 12 months and 5 months on trial, refused communion and not allowed into a church, both so important to her. The tower she was held in is about a 20 minute walk up the hill from the cathedral. Could she hear the bells from there? If so, what affect did they have on her state of mind?

The Donjon Prison, October 30, 2012

 There is a different feeling to our trip here where Jeanne met her fate. We are at once awed at her ability to stand up to her judges and reply to their questioning with calm dignity and intelligence but also have a deep sense of the tragedy of her execution. Was she fated to die in such a brutal way? Was this ‘burning’ an essential part of her purpose and what has made her a saint and an inspiration over so many years? Believers say Jesus died on the cross for our sins, something that I’ve never understood. But why did these two people die so violently?

Jeanne d’Arc Burned Alive at the Stake May 30, 1431, age almost 19

If Jeanne had decided to return to Domremy after the coronation, she may have married, raised a family and died in obscurity. This did not seem to be an option for her. What is the message from her life and death? What makes a life worth living?

An incredibly courageous and inspired young woman followed her vision, pursued her fate, confronted the obstacles put on her path and faced death rather than compromise her principles. Perhaps her death is not for our/ my sins but to serve as an inspiration that we/ I can aspire to also be courageous and have the resolve to face my own obstacles and to see them as an invitation to maintain my own integrity and my vision so I rise above my basic instincts of self preservation and keep moving forward on my path.

This trip has been a source of inspiration and a chance to reflect on the meaning of life. How very privileged I feel to have had this opportunity to deepen my appreciation of Jeanne and her mission in life.

The Place where Jeanne was Burned, at the Vieux Marche, Rouen

Joan with Jeanne at the Vieux Marche, Rouen

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3 Responses to Jeanne d’Arc: The End

  1. morna stewart says:

    I’ believe there were Scots troups in Joan’s French Army.

  2. Jeff Lebo says:

    Hi Joan and Arch,

    I discovered your Joan of Arc site earlier this year. A great tribute and well done.

    We have some things in common. I lived for over five years in Metz as a young man and also for eight years in Longueuil, Quebec. For the past ten years I have enjoyed learning about Joan of Arc’s life. I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled across the actual records of the trial in French and then the Nullification trial that added more insight into her life by those who knew her. If you have not read “Joan of Arc: Her Story” by Regine Pernoud, I recommend it.

    Sadly, when I lived in France I did not realize there was much historical record to her life, having always heard about the “legend” of Joan. Thank you for sharing your voyage.

    One comment on Mark Twain’s analysis: “she is easily and by far the most extraordinary person the human race has ever produced.” I think Jeanne would be uneasy with that comment. About 1400 years before her, a carpenter’s son in Galilee had an even more extraordinary life and impact. In fact, Jeanne would claim she was a servant of this person who she revered as her Lord and Savior. You make the comment yourself that these two lives are without doubt, but mysteriously linked.

    Thank you,

    Jeff Lebo

  3. Arch Ritter says:

    Good Afternoon Mr. Lebo:
    Many thanks for your message. My apologies for not replying earlier.
    I am very happy that you share our fascination with her life. It was truly remarkable and inspirational for me.
    I agree that the book by Pernoud is perhaps the best volume on Joan’s life.
    Were you with the RCAF during your years in Metx?
    Very best wishes,
    Arch Ritter

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