On Monday, October 22, 2012, we arrived in Domremy, the small village in Lorraine where Joan was born in 1412. We visited the church she prayed in and walked around the town. Its quiet, pastural, peacefulness affected us both. No wonder Joan loved this place.
Joan heard her voices in the garden of her father’s house at the age of 13 – St. Margaret telling her how to conduct her life… a powerful way to come into puberty. At 16, to her father’s displeasure, she went to nearby Toul to have the promise made by her father for her marriage canceled. She defended herself brilliantly and won the court case. By that time her renown as having direct communication with the Divine was growing and the Duke of Lorraine sent for her to help him with his troubles. Undeterred by their social class differences, Joan let him know that her voices didn’t give her any insight into his problems but she advised him to treat his wife better and to end his relationship with his mistress. He seems to have listened and he paid her for her advice. Clarity, strength of character, piety, determination, commitment, describe Joan well.
On Tuesday, we walked from Domremy to Greux, a few hundred yards down the road, then on to Maxey-sur-Meuse a couple of kilometers away. Maxey was Burgundian in Joan’s time and there were often skirmishes between the people of the two villages. Joan was close to the conflicts of the Hundred Years War since Domremy, loyal to the king of France, was surrounded by Burgundian lands. We drove to Vaulcouleurs where Joan, after three visits, finally convinced Baudricourt, the king’s deputy, to fit her out so she could go to the Dauphin. The local people were on her side, providing her with an escort and equipping her for her journey – 11 days overland on a horse through enemy territory in February! Joan had true grit!
We’ll make our journey to Chinon by car… and see what is left of the castle where Joan met the Dauphin.
Our lodging in Domremy was at a small Bed and Breakfast on the Rue Principal called Sur les pas de Jehanne…” (www.les.pas.de.jehanne.fr) It was a lovely place run by a most agreeable couple, Marie Therese and Alain Mathieu.
Joan of Arc’s home which she left, never to return
A statue of St. Margaret who inspired Joan in the Domremy church of St. Remy
A small chapel of Notre Dame de Bermont in the hills near Domremy which Joan visited on Saturdays
Sur les pas de Joan
Joan with her voices in her garden in Domremy, by Jules Bastien-Lepage, 1879, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Church in Domremy
Don and Gord Gamble, Joan’s brothers, visiting Domremy or a nearby town in 1956