This is the study I made for the major painting I will never do... of my fallen hero... This is instead a poster made available on Ebay.
It seems that it served God, somehow, for Jehanne to be captured and tried, much like it met His purposes when He allowed Jesus and Paul and other disciples to be placed in the same kind of situation. It was not due to bad karma or need for punishment that any of them found themselves in the clutches of deadly persecution. Christians are guaranteed in Scripture that this is the inclination of this world, to hate and wipe out Christians.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that believers can have what they call luminous, CORPOREAL visions, even apparitions of the dead, “pure spirits,” which are visions actually sent from God. This is what Jehanne was supposed to have experienced, if not an INTELLECTUAL based vision, which would have been inside of her head. No matter the personal subjectivity of such visions, either can be considered legitimate. A corporeal vision would have been very much like a real happening in real time. How such an event can be validated is something else. Often validity is perceived by the life and ministry of the participant. In other words, the trustworthiness of the vision is decided by the overall trustworthiness of the visionary. This would bode well for Jehanne.
She wrote all those baseless threats to the Duke of Burgundy, then spoke them to the whole city of Paris, knowing all the while her "voices" had told her to go no farther than St. Denis. There is no doubt that she meant her threats, but a messenger from God can never take such liberties, in HIS NAME without being punished even more than God’s enemies. God takes His WORD, that is His credibility, very seriously. Her deception in this circumstance, was whom she was speaking for.
At Paris, when Jehanne was finally overwhelmed by politics and defeat, she began to make excuses, she began to fabricate the spin as a politician does. After the blood was spilt, and the battle lost, in effect: "Oh by the way, I acted on my own, my voices never sent me to attack Paris..." Jehanne understood that most of her authority came from God, and God does not fail. She had to take the blame, confess her impetuosity, or suffer a worse humiliation, of being outed as a fake. It seems she had always had that ace to play if anything went wrong. But she could only play that card one time. It might very well be her superiors saw the whole wonderful, epic campaign unravelling, and reeled her in, before her credibility suffered more.
The story was that Isabeau's last child was born dead. Strangely, he was named Phillipe, the name of his supposed father’s arch rival, and buried. One wonders if Isabeau was merely trying to spread the blame and suspicion around!
In fact there were four Domremys. And there were TWO Jeans! That would help bury the location and confuse identification if the child was ever traced. She was adopted out to a devout Catholic family, who already had an older girl named Jean . In fact her name was Saint Jean! Nobody has ever asked the likelihood of a somewhat enlightened couple naming both of their daughters nearly the same name. They were living next door to the local church, and would cooperate completely. Over the years they would be known variously by around ten names. Jehanne said her name was Dart. It was written in official French documents as d’Ay. The people of Domremy said Darc. Later writers would settle on d’Arc.
Confusion. Satan is the author of confusion.
At the rehabilitation trial sponsored by the King, it was established that Jehanne must have been around 17 years of age at her epiphany. But her best friend insisted she had to have been much older, as Jehanne was four years older than her, making her around 21 when she met the Dauphin. And thus old enough to have been born in 1407… Jehanne’s birth, childhood and genealogy is as clear as the muddy Seine after a thunderstorm.
You could call all of this a coincidence...
But when this child named Jehanne arrived upon the French royals quoting personages with the same names as the women in the family, it might easily have been a clear, convenient, thinly veiled code to gain entrance.
This was a strange if not foolish thing to say to a powerful man who could get you passage to the throne, and has always been perceived as proof of Jehanne's utter fearlessness and integrity. The legend has always held that they had never met... IF Jehanne had never met them, and was a simple country girl, where did she get such private information and the opportunity and courage to speak to it?
But by now I have to submit that all we have ever known was the wonderful, irresistible, poetic spin that has been woven around this legend for hundreds of years. We chose to ignore the inconsistencies and give her the benefit of the doubt. The little lies did not matter, they did not fit the Joan we "knew." So her biographers have skimmed over the clues to her authenticity with indulgence. It was Jules Michelet who leaked just enough to sniff out the painful truth.
His Life of Joan of Arc is just what you would expect from the French point of view; a charitable account, and yet spiked with nuggets of seemingly insignificant facts, unless one begins to keep score. It was Michelet who slipped her obvious change of attitude from mere symbolic brandishing of her sword to using it. That with each day of warfare she lost something of her inner self. And the cracks in Michelet's case against her have widened with the centuries.
The first and most damaging crack in Michelet's account is seemingly minor, all by itself. Right before Jehanne entered Orleans, she instructed her soldiers... "Come to-morrow and break of day quit me not; I shall have much to do - blood will go out of my body - I shall be wounded below my bosom."
Ever since those words were spoken writers have used this forboding as evidence of Jehanne's gift of prophesy. It has often been recounted how she predicted that she would be wounded, and when it would happen.
The problem is that prophets, especially orthodox Christians, are not allowed ball-park guesses. She was hit, an arrow struck her next to her clavicle, between her neck and shoulder and no organs were threatened. And her prediction, although curious, almost suggests just the opposite, that Jehanne was not being given very good information, and it would have been far better not to have repeated anything that might be inaccurate. Being wrong about such things should have eliminated her as a candidate from sainthood.
And Michelet, either out of duty or ojectivity, revealed other cracks... At her trial she denied any "surname" although she had supposedly referred to herself in many letters as simply "The Maid." She claimed falsely that she knew "nothing of it." And she admitted at her trial that her parents had forgiven her for the deceptions she committed when she left them, indirectly admitting that she had lied to them, and those lies required forgiveness.
"On my Faith, Sir, and with all due respect, I undertake to tell you, and to swear, on pain of my life, that he is the noblest Christian of all Christians, the sincerest lover of the Faith and of the Church, and not what you call him."
The bastard theory also explains why Charles VII was so helpless during all this travesty. Had he arranged a ransom offer, IT WOULD HAVE REVEALED THE GREAT SECRET, OR AT LEAST BEGUN TO. Ransoms were something left to each captured person’s family. Friends might contribute, as they did later for the Duke of Orleans, but it was done family to family. Often guarantees were extracted during these agreements involving family members. Sometimes children were loaned instead as collateral. The King could not act as her brother, or any relation, or he might be exposed himself. This might very well have been a trap set for just this purpose. If Jehanne was a bastard, he might be. If he might be, then so was the Queen of England, the Duchess of Burgundy, the Duchess of Orleans, the Duchess of Brittany, and ALL THEIR OFFSPRING... It had been a mistake to go along with Jehanne’s ambitious scheme to restore the “Blood Royal.”
He proved he knew that the day he burned his bridges to Paris, stopping Jehanne in her tracks.
In 1969 , along with St. Christopher and many others, the official feast day for St. Catherine, Patron Saint of virgins, was removed from the official Church calendar. Church scholars agreed that her story of virginity and martyrdom was problematic, even preposterous and ungrounded and had been the source of ancient cults. Later coming to their political senses, having debunked Jehanne's very foundations, the Catholic Church restored her in 2002 as an “optional” Saint.
The fact is, according to Jehanne, her voices, these Saints she claimed to have contact with, had promised..."There will be some disturbance either in prison or at the trial, by which I shall be delivered... GREATLY, VICTORIOUSLY DELIVERED."
So we know at this point either they lied or she did. Or she just flat lied about the whole thing.
If they were indeed family members, I do not suppose that these mentors ever dreamed WHAT their contact with Jehanne might have inspired, as she grew into womanhood. It might easily have been that they planned, if France ever settled down, to find and incorporate her back into the family once the coast was clear, and nothing more dramatic than that. But when the moment of truth came, it was only Jehanne, this relative in exile who had the courage, the vision and the ability to "Restore the Blood Royal. " And her key to it all was the "Secret." Tragically, it was also the key to her demise.