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