Looking for Russell Cushman art ?: http://russellcushmanart.blogspot.com/

Looking for BLUES HISTORY?


Part IV Burning Suspicions

Part IV  
Untangling the Web

 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.


VIII      Never blame God for Evil

 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.

And if Jehanne seemed flippant at her trial, Jesus' and Paul’s answers were just as problematic. Jehanne’s performance at her trials was stellar and when compared, amazing for someone of her age and background.   No other life from medieval times has ever been so well documented, or found to be so exemplary. Once again, even those inclined to dismiss her spiritual powers admit she was convincingly pious, blessed with great charm, and gifted with wisdom and intellect beyond her years.  And she definitely had a mouth. But we cannot assume that she had done anything to be punished so severely by God, or the angels or those “Saints.”

Most of her prophecies were usually correct and there was more than one witness to most of them. Jehanne’s character was above reproach. The trials were always looking for some kind of flaw that never manifested itself, and instead they only revealed the inquisitors as shallow, unjust and corrupt. THERE was the evil. There are no serious treatments of Jehanne as the witch or the heretic she was accused of being. Which begs the question, if Jehanne was innocent, and such a force for good, how in the world could her capture and death have served God?

Why didn’t the King ransom her? Why didn’t somebody try to rescue her? What was this all about, as it would appear that France was saved by Jehanne to be ruled by frivolous, corrupt royals for four hundred more years? 

Finally, four hundred years later, the oppression and ignorance and poverty preserved by this backward society erupted into a horrible French civil war and so-called revolution where life became cheap and the cornerstones of civilization were stained with blood. The French Revolution spawned one of the most cynical, non-spiritual, amoral societies in Europe. It is hard to even claim that France today is a Roman Catholic country, with around 10% active in any church, but rather a culture anciently descended out of the Catholic tradition.

Is this what Jehanne died for? Yes it was. A more accurate statement is her death, and what that revealed, and the aftermath are what France has always been punished for; Joan of Arc… tried and sentenced TWICE by her own countrymen, condemned and yet vindicated, as a kind of object lesson.

And in a string of injustices, the state-sponsored spin from the latter trial of rehabilitation, orchestrated by Charles VII is the story that has survived. History is always told by the winners.

If Jehanne truly was sent by God, and since it is obvious it was not to embolden the ungrateful King who failed and sabotaged her in every way, what was His purpose?

The English, regardless of their faults, embraced Protestantism and representative government, and came close to world domination, and even today enjoy benefits of alliance and commerce and community with their former colonies.

Would not France have been better off to have been English, rather than to suffer the trials she has endured? Instead France is always the odd-man-out; indignant, critical, jealous and suspicious of Anglo- American policies. This French attitude is a tradition, like an inferior rival who indulges itself in hatred as a consolation prize. But now that all of Europe is only partly Christian the point is moot.  It appears that the French, or their apostasy will win in the end.

But what about when great Western empires struggled with one another, and important things appeared to be at stake? Poor and backward, the Catholic countries were the first to be eliminated from the contest. The French and Spanish and Italians fought among themselves. When the Western world was in a battle over supremacy of various religions, France was merely a bystander.  Did God have a stake in that contest? It would appear so, but the outcome may not have been what any would have suspected. 

Supposedly with orders from above, Jehanne almost single-handedly prevented France from joining the British Empire and its protection, and enjoying its legacy and its prosperity.

I’m sure France could not care less, as they are a proud country….  But not enjoying the benefits of freedom, education and prosperity ushered in by the Reformation, France subsequently had less to fight for and showed less resolve against the Prussians, and the Germans (twice) and has too often required enormous help from its allies for liberation. It is a basic character issue. And there has been no slight amount of suffering and compromise in the character of this people in all these occupations…

Still, like star-crossed lovers, the French have always wished to ideologically identify with the United States, as a kindred spirit. That is what the Statue of Liberty was all about; A herculean gesture to equalize the noble mission of the two.

But the character differences in our two cultures are staggering. We are kindred, beholden in many ways, but we have very different instincts. For instance; when the American Civil War was over, General Grant, with President Lincoln’s guidance, sent his enemies back to their farms, and America thus built the greatest empire in the world. But when one side got the upper hand in France, they made the guillotine famous, killing anyone with class or education or money, by the tens of thousands. It was a class war as opposed to our clash in ideals. It was the difference between enlightenment and medieval vengeance; Protestant tolerance and Catholic authoritarianism and mysticism.

In Jehanne’s time, for instance, the French recovered the drowned body of the hated English commander Sir William Glasdale, chopped him in pieces, boiled and embalmed his remains… Then sent him back to England.  Cheerio!   


I cannot imagine Washington’s army doing the same to Cromwell, had they had the chance.  Not even the Confederates doing such to Lincoln. Even in Texas, the hated Union General Custer came and ruled and became a post-war darling. There is only one explanation.  Regenerate minds. Only born-again souls can do as Christ commanded… and that is to love their enemies. Jehanne led the way, but few followed. Today theologians debate whether she might have actually been the INSPIRATION for the Reformation! Yet her own country was the last to imbibe.



IX  Bad Tidings

 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.

But Roman Catholics also teach that believers may encounter visions of the Evil One himself, as himself, or even trying to pass himself off as a saint or even Christ.

One wonders what preparations a youth from medieval France would have had for such a mental and spiritual challenge, if it came her way. From the outside looking in, it is a scary prospect with terrible pitfalls; Supernatural beings, good and evil,  have access and influence on unsuspecting humans, who may or may not have the discernment or education to cope with them. In fact satanic spirits are working double-time on souls all over the earth to corrupt and distract them 24 hours a day, every day. It is no wonder the religious authorities were so skeptical. In this theology, Jehanne’s odds of having good visions were about 1000- 1 against her.

But from the outcome of her mission, it would seem that Jehanne was Heaven sent and Heaven inspired… a spotless innocent from the borders of Lorraine,  sent more to expose the Crown and the French social structure for what it was; To demonstrate the class and spiritual divisions inside that country, which were about to either split it up forever or cripple its power indefinitely; To indict the clerics, the spiritual leaders in France, (on both sides!) at the time caught up in a civil war and a schism over who was actually Pope (there were three possible), and to show them and the world how corrupt and unworthy they were to serve as God’s servants. This was just some of the rancid fruit processed by this enigmatic maiden.

If Jehanne was sent, she was a kind of sacrifice to demonstrate to France her own ills… to indict her on the world’s stage.  

This would be consistent with what “Our Lady of Fatima” said; “Wars are a punishment for the sins of mankind."

And that is why often, nobody really wins in war.

You can tell I am a skeptic. But here is a case where one Saint inadvertently condemns the actions of another…  If Our Lady of Fatima was right, and I certainly agree with her, then Saint Joan of Arc led a war, which by “Our Lady’s” definition was meant to be a punishment for both the sins of England and her beloved France as well.  

I believe that God can do anything… but He does not contradict himself… or send an innocent maiden to save her country and punish it at the same time… and when He does, it will not be anything dubious or contrived. If a messenger is sent by God, the message they bring has to be purposeful and consistent, to reflect the Nature of God.  The messenger has to be above reproach. They cannot get bogged down in controversy and self-doubt. Even John the Baptist, right before his execution, was questioning Jesus and not himself. These true messengers will show resolve to the bitter end. Surely Jehanne was expecting victory until they lit the pyre.

We seem to forget some major clues to when God sends a messenger. Read the Bible.  God does not send nice ladies to manipulate or scare little kids, but almost always has called prophets out of their routines to warn their  own generations of His impending judgment.  Visions are fine, but as the Catholic Church admits, are usually private, not meant for public consumption. When a true prophet, with an important message for all, arrives on the scene, it is rarely good news… for him or his charge.  Jesus was the exception. In his case, it was good news for us, him not so much.

Just like in Judea, when Jesus challenged the powers that be, and they crucified him, with the help of an occupying army, so France did Jehanne. And just as the "Chosen" Pharisees were exposed and judged as expendable to God’s long range plan, so was Catholic France. Just as Jesus turned out to be a judgment on his own people, so was Jehanne. In the case of Jerusalem no stone was left unturned, as Jesus predicted. France- was just abandoned as a world power. But strangely and sadly, Jehanne was too.

But Jehanne was no Jesus. There was an incident during her last days where she prayed for a dead baby and it was said to have come back to life. And then it died soon after it was baptized. This is important. God’s power is no trifle, and when Jesus healed an individual, health was completely restored; the broken, no matter the illness, were made whole. This lame miracle of Jehanne’s proves only that people were anxious to believe she had miraculous powers, but her attempts at such things were feeble at best. And it is important, to her credit, she never claimed the gift of healing, even disavowed any power to heal.

I do not believe that Jehanne was “sent” in the classic sense. She might have been majorly indulged a bit by God, because of her piety. But her later prophesies and instructions from her voices seemed to break down like a bad teen-aged alibi. I am doubtful about her voices. If anything, she was allowed by God to choose her own road, and believers followed. And it was their faith that blessed and caused the miracles around her leadership. And what is sad is they never knew that. All this time France has mourned and celebrated and venerated Jehanne. But she was just a forceful and misguided kid.  France has never given itself the credit for shaping its own destiny, until she finally had the meltdown they call the Revolution… But when Jehanne was captured, they all just hung their heads…

I have dealt too often with well-intended, but ultimately harmful religious prodigies such as Jehanne. Raised in a religious environment, gifted with great powers of imagination, and yet neglected in an intellectual vacuum, they create their own paradigm to overcome their problems. It always starts with basic ignorance, fostered either by illiteracy or insufficient schooling. Then a crisis forces them to turn to God, and they begin to imagine how they might pro-actively serve Him to resolve it. There is nothing wrong with their motives and often the results are astounding. But there is often a big problem with their paradigm, theologically.

Not knowing any better, they incorporate spurious and even heretical assumptions while they construct their strategy and build their spiritual language and habits. Well intended, they imagine that God, perhaps through messengers, has talked to them, quote these messages and inspire others to cherish and even write them down. You often hear them say “God is telling me…” or “God told me…” They are completely sincere and convinced of these “messages” and this mission given to them, and are able to convince others.

But this has always been very dangerous ground. I will not try to go into detail into this fairly common syndrome, which might well be called the “Joan of Arc Syndrome.”  But the bottom line, for many theologians, is that God’s WORD, the Bible, and God’s revelations are complete, were completed millenniums ago,  and nothing is to be added or taken away from them. There are no more new prophets, “voices” or divine messages.  After hundreds of years deciding which of the religious manuscripts in the Bible were “inspired” and which were just paper, or even worse, spurious accounts, the book was closed.

The Protestants and Roman Catholics do not agree on all the books which are accepted into the Bible as Inspired, the Protestants characteristically being more critical. But both agree that direct revelations from the Living Word have ceased. The Catholics call these “Christian revelation” as opposed to “private revelations” such as Jehanne’s.  Exceptions have been made, in unusual circumstances, but private revelations are rare, and treated differently than Inspired Scripture.

Protestants have never taught that Saints are cognizant of our prayers or could communicate with us in any way. They are believed to be dead, “asleep in Jesus,” their souls waiting for judgment like the rest of us after we die. It is true that Jesus saw several Old Testament patriarchs in a vision, who could be understood as saints, but that is far from the hundreds of saints identified in the Roman Catholic tradition. For Protestants, Jehanne’s claims are on the border with lunacy, or akin to cultic séances. Either way, not good news for a would-be religious figure who talks to them. The argument over Jehanne at Rouen was not just politics, but the beginning of an intellectual and doctrinal struggle between major arms of Christianity. And it was never resolved.

But almost all agreed, the “Word,” or what we call the Bible is complete.  And there are Scriptures which seem to justify this position. In Revelation, the Apostle John forbade the promiscuous editing of the words he wrote down. They were not to be messed with. This has always been accepted as the last word on the subject; on John’s writings, and since his comes last, on the whole Bible. The Bible is immutable, not to be added to, or taken away, not one jot or one tittle.  It is finished.

Bottom line? Anyone who presumes to speak for God is way out on a limb, probably heretical, and “takes the Lord’s name in vain.”  Anyone claiming to hear God in the First Person, or especially writing these revelations down, is subject to accusations of Heresy. And in the Protestant tradition, this probably goes for channeling for angels and saints as well. When people claim to do it, the Church, even the Catholic side, bristles and investigates. And not because it is collecting these new revelations, for there are none, but to squelch the flow of these kinds controversies, which only distract, if not contradict from the actual Scriptures.

The Roman Catholics are fairly diplomatic about it, experts at this credibility shell-game, occasionally making space for “Mysteries of the Faith,” but Evangelicals are almost intolerant of them.

This means latter day revelations directly from God, or angels, are met with extreme skepticism. This is why Mohammad, Joseph Smith of the Mormons, or Charles Russell of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Mary Baker Eddy or… Joan of Arc have had problems being accepted as orthodox prophets. And the larger the claims, the less likely they were authentic. Otherwise the Bible would constantly be growing and growing, until it would take a truck to transport one volume. And nobody would ever be able to read the whole thing. No, the Bible, God’s WORD, had to be kept small enough for our own human limitations.

And Christians have taught and believed that God is big enough and smart enough to have put everything we need to know in that work, already sanctioned and prayed over almost two thousand years ago. This was the first reason Jehanne and her claims were suspect.

When she was brought before authorities that were not on the French King’s payroll, they were painfully objective and brutally orthodox.  They were also unjust and ruthless about it. They fell into the temptation of centralized religion to use faith and practice to control the masses. But even in those times they were aware that Jehanne’s beloved Saints Catherine and Margaret were born more of pagan fairy tales than trustworthy Inspiration.

Joan was sincere, but ignorant and thus very vulnerable to doctrinal error and falsehood. This made her minced-meat. She had caught the English with their pants down, but this was not necessarily a judgment from God. And her instant popularity and rise to power and glorious victories were a bit suspicious. Even if it were true, historians would spend the next five hundred years trying to wade through all the international intrigue, sensational scandals, extortions and blackmail, and murders and unfair trials and merciless executions after her demise, desperate to figure out what really happened.

It hurts to yield to Vita Sackville-West, who had Jehanne pegged as an amazing person, but still in the end a religious fanatic with incredible luck, whose victories, as I see them, no matter how stunning, were never for the ultimate, GREATER good as we understand it.

The Frenchmen who had the unfortunate job of trying to shame her and find a crime to punish her for, were to be pitied. If they allowed her to be ransomed and returned to the battlefield, all gains by England over one hundred years would certainly be lost. A despicable king would be entrenched and haunt France for decades. Inevitable wars between them would curse Europe for centuries. They had to demonize and destroy Jehanne to just hold the English army together, as it trembled in its boots.

There were incendiary stories from the English soldiers, who claimed to have seen her angels on horseback coming down on them!  The Duke of Bedford wrote his English superiors, despondently; “There fell by the hand of God, as it seemeth, a great stroke on your people…”  Bedford was still convinced however that Jehanne was a veritable “limb of the Fiend”! Even the Earl of Suffolk , when finally trapped, was supposed to have refused surrender to any but “the bravest woman in the world!”  England was swiftly being conquered by the power of suggestion. And noble, fearless Jehanne was innocent of most everything except super-natural success, and ignorance and perhaps spiritual gullibility. It was a terrible fix.

If this quandary was not already enough to cause otherwise godly men to stumble, Jehanne rubbed her prowess into their wounds. She defiantly told the judges…

“Before seven years be passed, the English will lose a greater gage than they had at Orleans and they will lose all in France. And the English will suffer even a greater loss than they ever had in France and this will be a great victory which God will send to the French.”

The judges did what they thought best for England and Christendom. Even though history tells us what they did to solve the Jehanne phenomenon, there is no official record of the burning of Joan the heretic resting in any Church transcript, book or file cabinet in France. Nor can any record documenting this judicial action by the occupying government be found in England.  Joan’s supreme historian Regine Pernoud shrugged as usual, this was just an acceptable clerical error.

But 39 out of 42 of the clerics at the trial recommended more consideration of her last concessions. Several of them were proponents of her being sent to the Pope, as she had repeatedly requested. John of Luxembourg, her captor was ( at least pretending) trying to buy her back. It was required by Church Canon to send such controversial heretics to the Holy See, especially when they requested it.  She was repeatedly denied this. The last public hearing where Jehanne was publicly shamed and forced to sign spurious confessions culminated in a spontaneous stoning of everyone involved, and the Burgundians and the English cursing and  threatening one another. There was almost a battle between them as they struggled to control her fate.

We have to ask, why all the drama if it was so predestined? The mahem at the end only points to confusion, even subterfuge.

Some of us like to believe a burning was staged but she was cleverly shuttled away somehow to Rome to be questioned by the Pope, where she served him in his army, and there is a wonderful theory about that. If it is true, she came back somewhat subdued, and her beloved Charles VII discredited her and punished her as a fake, and she lived and died in official shame, yet with her du Lys family seal, granted by the King,  above her door. Still, thousands were sure she was the one and only Jehanne, and they gave her money and horses and other gifts as the savior of France.  Meanwhile some of her old allies were falsely charged,  imprisoned and even executed because they were a little too enthusiastic about her return.  

Still, Jehanne, whether near death or miraculously rescued, had predicted correctly, the siege at Compiegne was raised the very next year and the French capital of Paris was liberated five years later. Then about seven years later, a plague broke out all over France, but especially on the streets of Paris, wiping out 50,000 of its citizens. It seems that Jehanne had suffered some isolation, but was once again on track with her prophecies towards the end.

But that was not the end of this French quagmire. Various factions of the church continued to frame and capture key associates of Jehanne’s, persecuting and executing them for years. Those who masterminded her demise, such as the relentless Cauchon were also found dead under suspicious circumstances. The sensation and lies and intrigue around “Joan of Arc” lasted long past her supposed death. In the end, everybody had a theory, everyone was confused, everybody wrote memoirs, the King even staged a rehabilitation trial and perpetuated his own version of what happened. The official version of Joan guaranteed she was no witch, no wicked manipulator, no devil-inspired heretic. Nor, they made sure, was she figured remotely old enough to be the child adopted out by decadent Queen Isabeau, or spirited away to Rome to put herself at the mercy of the Pope as she had pleaded several times before her execution. She was dead, dead, dead!  Just a simple, dead girl from Domremy.

Maybe so, never-the-less this is not a particularly edifying story of a godsend who saved a country from evil and preserved freedom and liberty.

In the case of Paris, the French city that said Hell No to the greatest French hero of all time, it was left to its own devices. It was never “liberated” from its own treasonous bent. But as for the capital city that defeated Jehanne and spawned the university that oversaw her persecution, trial and execution, history has not been kind. And that black cloud began to form after her debacle at Paris, the day Jehanne, spurned by her own countrymen and recalled by her duplicitous king, hung up her armor and weapons at St. Denis and walked away in frustration. I think that it is not insignificant that Jehanne was allowed limited success by God, but was ultimately foiled and killed by Frenchmen. The world loves her, but France has always been jealous towards and jealously protective of her hero.

 Perhaps the telltale clue of Jehanne’s true mission is that few in France ever embraced her kind of courage or Faith. She was almost seen as unattainable, too good for France. When she was captured, all progress towards liberation was suddenly on hold, for over a year France’s future was once again in question. They all watched, helpless, impotent as she was held and tormented for a year.

Who knows, had they continued to harass the English, what deal might have been struck.  But France just shrugged. This was the most complete dependence on one single solitary life to inspire and lead a country in recorded history. And there have been no more Jehannes.

It was symbolic I think, when during the French Revolution, the civil war that supposedly makes the United States and France birds of a feather, the miserable, ignorant masses destroyed everything in angry vengeance, and in the melee found Jehanne’s artifacts in a museum and burned them up with everything else.  Today there is no scrap of her existence.



X    The Killing Blow: Jehanne...  lied


This is the hardest part of this personal inquiry of mine, which started out, hopefully, as a glowing report on Jehanne. I wanted to paint the great masterpiece of Joan of Arc. Sadly, this is the place where I point out what every other writer I have studied has avoided; Joan of Arc was a habitual liar.

There, I said it.

It is easy to slide over her deceptions as you follow her amazing, historic sweep across France to immortality. But they are there. She lied to her parents to ever get out of the house without facing them about her real intentions. Even if we pass over the voices and the information she claimed to be gifted with, and the possible explanations, there is an unsettling vein of deception in her methods. Of course, all we know is what was preserved in a legend that was predisposed to be kind to her.  But still, it is there.

When things began to fall apart, as swiftly as they had miraculously come together, Jehanne tried to bluff her way through. They may not have been lies, in an intentional sense, but never-the-less this “god-sent maid” began to distribute untruths. She chose to speak in the flesh rather than wait upon God. It is completely understandable, but still God was not obligated nor likely to enable someone "out of control," acting on their own. 

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.

Saying that you are speaking for God, when you are not, is sort of Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in reverse. Jesus said there was one sin that would not be forgiven… just one… and that was calling things of God as of the Devil; Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Pharisees did often with Jesus. He would do something miraculous, and they would attribute his power to Satan.  It was bearing false witness about God. Likewise, it is very dangerous, if not the same thing, to give attribution to God what is not of God.

During her trial at Rouen the reader gets a sense of her desperation, her comfortable lies and her awkward ones. She was comfortable talking about her popular story. She had learned to tell it convincingly. But when she decided to play with the judge’s heads, and began to fabricate bizarre stories for their amusement and confusion, she would quickly get confused herself.  Jehanne was a habitual liar, or at the least a spiritual prevaricator, but she was not very good at it. She told some whoppers during the trial, especially about the king and the secrets and the celestial crown, so incoherent and unconvincing that nobody would have taken them seriously. It seems to suggest that she had learned in the past to lie her way out of things. In fact she had lied her way into everything.

And one of her more reliable skills of deception was her very effective technique of substitution.  My favorite antagonist in the Joan debate is Vita Sackville-West, who was the first to reveal this technique within Jehanne’s repertoire. Hammered relentlessly by her inquisitors, who planned to burn her, West charitably suggested it was Jehanne “taking refuge in fantasy based on allegory”; in other words, fabricating wild visions of angels and crowns where the characters and activities were derived from her memory but renamed to create some symbolic, celestial significance. Or just to temporarily WOW the crowd. After all it had worked many times before.

And this may have been one of her methods all along, when she told amazing and yet unchallengeable things by merely changing the names of her mentors, calling them “voices,” and claiming she had talked to angels and saints.  She was actually telling the truth, or a carefully worded version of it, as she had been given powerful information, but was changing the names of her sources to protect the innocent (members of her family and herself). She lied to protect people or things she loved. This is understandable. She was willing to do anything to protect her unseen sources and their secrets.

Just for a moment let’s consider the “bastard theory” again. In this theory, Jehanne was really born in 1407 to Isabeau of Bavaria and the King’s oversexed brother Louis, who was later murdered by the Duke of Burgundy for just such reasons. Isabeau by now had little reputation to protect, and her children had been farmed out to the Duke of Burgundy, Yolande of Aragon, and two of them to convents. It was suspected that this was not the first child born out of wedlock.  Even Dauphin Charles had his own doubts about his pedigree.

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!
Theorists have proposed that "he" was really a girl and she lived to be rescued and sent away for her own protection. But it is also possible there were fraternal twins. They might both have lived. The theorists would explain; to make sure that this bastard child was never found, everyone was sworn to secrecy. Being a bastard and a girl, she did not have any usefulness to the court, especially to a humiliated Queen, who was about to marry off her legitimate daughters, and she needed no muddy bloodlines about that time. The unwanted child was carried far away to Domremy, a little town on the border with Lorraine.

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.

Since even the Catholic Church is unsure at the very best about her "voices," the particular Saints in question, and thus unable to endorse her voices, where did Jehanne get all of her information? I propose, (this is what you have been looking for) that Jehanne used the technique of name substitution to deceive. IF she was indeed born to Isabeau of Bavaria;
Her oldest sister might have come to visit her, as early as 1417, right before she was married off to the future Duke of Burgundy.  Her name? “Michele of France.”  Michele was named after the ARCHANGEL MICHAEL, after her father, Charles VI felt his health improve after a pilgrimage to Mont St. Michele.  What if she, unlike her mother, cared for her siblings and kept in touch with them? She was born in 1395, and might have witnessed Jehanne’s birth, even have known where she was taken. At aged twelve, she might have even helped to transport her. There is a legend about a special ring, like the one Jehanne had, which was supposedly given to each child… a sort of family brand for later identification. This would have been the SECRET. Michele only lived as the wife of Phillipe of Burgundy for a few years before dying in 1422.  Thus she quickly became an angel, in young Jehanne’s unschooled mind. The very Michelle the angel...who had come her. often during her youth.

Knowing that her health was slipping away, “St. Michael” quite possibly told Jehanne that two ladies, (the “Saints”) would come and instruct her later; “St. Catherine and St. Margaret.” Sure enough, there was another sister, Catherine of Valois, born in 1401, educated at the Convent at Poissey, and slated to be married off in 1420 to King Henry of England.  It is very easy to imagine Yolande of Aragon or some nuns at the convent arranging sisterly visits to this forsaken child when the girls were old enough to travel. Another older sister, Marie, born in 1393 was a prioress at the Convent at Poissey. This might have given these two sisters considerable leverage to make mercy missions, or house calls for the Royal family. And it was very possible that Catherine might have visited Jehanne before she was shipped off to become the Queen of England in 1421.

To complete the mystery of the “voices” is these sister’s older sister-in-law, Margaret of Burgundy, daughter of the Duke of Burgundy who married King Charles’ VI son, their brother Louis.  Margaret was around 30 years old when these meetings would have taken place..  She was known to be faithful to her new family, even after Louis passed. Later she married Arthur, Count of Richemont, one of Jehanne’s enigmatic allies, whom Charles VII despised. Still, as if Jehanne knew all along, Yolande of Aragon later arranged a coup and expelled one of Jehanne’s greatest antagonists and the King’s highest marshal and installed Arthur Richemont as Constable of France.  It was Jehanne who first offered Richemont the hand of friendship, in spite of the King’s rude rejections of him, and he was later the hero who finished Jehanne’s vision, finally taking back Paris and Normandy.

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.

To make the world even smaller, and make Jehanne’s hometown seem like the center of French intrigue, Charles II the Duke of Lorraine, who got sucked into the "Yolande of Aragon network" by marrying his daughter to her son Rene, apparently was a close and trusted friend of Isabeau of Bavaria as well, (a double agent!) as she named him Constable of France in 1418. He served in that capacity until 1424, returning to Lorraine in 1425. We have to wonder if it was Yolande that provided him his controversial mistress, Alison du May, who bore him four children and was murdered (King's retribution for betrayal?) by angry citizens in the streets of Nancy in 1431.  Since later he was so helpful to Jehanne, even appearing to reverse his political affiliations, it is easy to imagine that the Duke of Lorraine looked in on her during her later teen years as a favor to Isabeau. (Hence the moniker, Maid of Lorraine) His wife’s name was also Margaret.  It was for Duchess Margaret's honor that Jehanne so boldly scolded him, and it was she that Jehanne defended, suggesting that he go back to her, before he died.

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?

Suddenly, many of Jehanne’s unexplainable knowledge and conversations come into better focus… IF IT WAS ALL TRUE!

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.

Probably the biggest, most obvious lie Jehanne told was during the final moments of her trial at Rouen, when the prosecutor was ranting about her and King Charles VII, questioning their Christian ethics. After all she knew, after all the ways the King had foiled and frustrated her, after he ultimately failed her, perhaps even betrayed her by letting her be crucified by their enemies, Jehanne defended him. Facing a horrible death by burning, she still had the strength and venom to tow the line, and acted as if the suggestion of his true character was some kind of outrageous lie, and she claimed to all who were there that her King was the noblest Christian of all the Christians.

"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."
This patent lie, which nobody believed, then or now and demonstrates her fiercely subjective grasp of the truth, if not pure self-deception. In order to sell a lie, you have to believe it yourself. This public proclamation also proves she was capable of saying anything with no qualms, regardless to its veracity or the price she might pay for it. Only nineteen, (or 23) she had broken down to anger, outrageous claims and contention as a defense. And raw, bare-boned pride. And she was determined to paint a pretty picture of the French Court and its religious authenticity, when she knew better. And it was obvious the whole crowd knew better.  Jehanne owed Charles absolutely nothing. Outside of family loyalty, sworn secrets, this last lie makes no sense.

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.

And what about those voices that spoke such amazing truths and prophesies into young Jehanne’s mind; who comforted her on the battlefield and in prison, who gave her answers to riddles and questions and inspiration until the end?  

They did not exist. Not according to me, but according to the Catholic Church. 

 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.

 Saint Margaret, the shepherdess and virgin who refused advances from a powerful ruler in Antioch, had been burned and even boiled and could not be killed until beheaded by him. But no one knows when she lived. So Saint Margaret has followed a similar path as St. Catherine, and is questioned if not panned by scholars as well. But like Catherine, (and Joan!) her popularity has overcome all obstacles. In fact these two are considered by Catholic believers as some of the most helpful saints in Heaven.  And today they are still saints because the faithful Will them to be so. Or so says the same church that rehabilitated Jehanne into a French national hero and a saint in 1920.

But sadly, after scholarly review, and hundreds of years to ponder and decide these things, it has been agreed by objective theologians that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret were merely fables, legends, and with no basis of fact. And that is a lot for any Catholic to admit! Even if they did not admit it for very long.

If this was true, then who were those voices heard by young, impressionable  Jehanne? It will be considered an outrage to suggest this, but even Mohammed claimed to have been inspired by conversations with the Archangel Gabriel. Then he went and fathered a faith that taught the robbing, persecution and killing of Jews and Christians, whom he claimed were forever condemned and had bastardized God’s word and intent. Jehanne too claimed to have spoken with Gabriel. Perhaps it is becoming obvious to you, as it is to me, that glorious claims do not a prophet make.

Angel worship has never been officially supported by the Roman Catholic Church. But praying to Saints has been accepted. And that is one good reason why they had to clean up their gallery of sainthood, limiting it to real persons. If Jehanne taught the Church anything, it was the seduction and power of Saint emulation. But this saint shooting-gallery within the Church is a very serious self-contradiction.  They shoot them down, they prop them up again… These mythical saints are never extinguished for good, yet they are never quite safe.

People protect their traditions fiercely.  So when Church historians finally admit something is doubtful, which has been sanctioned for a millennium, we can be sure they did it after a great deal of searching and ultimately, the need for…the TRUTH.  I’m sure it has to be very hard to arrive at and reveal these conclusions and I respect them more for that.

I respect them less when they retract their best conclusions based on knowledge, and substitute them with indulgent rationalizations.  It gets scary and futile when the truth must yield to tradition, in matters of faith.

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.

So, if these personages instructing Jehanne were not Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, according to the Catholic Church in 1969, then who were they? It certainly does not seem consistent with Sainthood, or good angels to deliberately deceive an earthly messenger. That is the stratagem of the GREEK gods. Who were these crowned, glowing lights really? Or were they ever real?

Had Jehanne made them up? Were they real persons, clandestine religious mentors that could not be proven or disproven?  Jehanne knew many things somehow, and a story about angels and saints would explain her extensive knowledge without having to answer many questions. But her lies and false prophecies demand we consider that Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret were just heavenly code names for actual people who helped instruct and prepare her for her mission.

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.

Here is where other, wild and scandalous theories kick in. But after all this investigation, they are not so outrageous to me now as they were when I first read them.  And at least for a few moments, they were not that outrageous to Jehanne…

For at the very end, as Michelet and very few others relate, in the days right before she was burned, she made a series of confessions. First, and in good faith, she was tricked into signing a confession that admitted to outrageous untruths. Threatened with her life, illiterate and unable to read the accusations, and spent in every way, she signed. When she found out what the “confession” said, she retracted it. Jehanne instinctively returned to her old familiar explanations, even lamenting her betrayal of her voices to save her own skin.

But afterward, on the morning before her execution, she made another confession, to clarify things, admitted that she had been deceived by her voices, or as some see it, lying and deceiving about her voices, and admitted to making them up. In this last minute catharsis, she was in relatively quiet surroundings with only a few witnesses, who wrote it down believing this confession might save her. This statement was accepted as authentic even at the trial of Rehabilitation. But it has always had a bad smell to historians. And this is partly because it becomes the last word on Jehanne’s visions and it is not very reassuring to those who wish to preserve her Sainthood. As it turns out, just like Charles VII, for the church, the only useful Jehanne is the dead one.

The jaded Maid finally stated what they had been drilling for all along. Witnesses to the interview agreed that she admitted that her “voices” and visions had deceived her and that wild story she told about the angels and the crown was an invention, and in fact she was the only angel.

It has the ring of truth.

And the reason it smells bad to some is that many of the notaries and witnesses would not sign the document. And why not? Because they knew it should stop the forthcoming execution, and they knew Bishop Cauchon had proved himself to be committed to killing her no matter what. They did not want to face him or his wrath, by making his goal harder to achieve. He might choose to ignore the confession, and instead punish the ones who obtained it. A signed witness to this confession was as good as dead. They wrote it down, did not sign it, shrugged and walked away. And all of them, signatures or not, had to face God for their part in this miscarriage.

What is important here, and it is not inappropriate to carefully analyze her confession with so much at stake, is that she admitted, finally, sincerely, that she had lied about something. She admitted that somehow, her “voices” and visions could sometimes be unreliable. She still stopped short of agreeing that they all were.  But she admitted that she had in fact confused or intermingled the identity of at least one angel with her own. She inadvertently cast doubts about her truthfulness, confessing the story about the crown and the angel was an invention. It was a lie.  

As for Jehanne, when we take into account her deceptions when she began her odyssey, the clever misinformation she disseminated to her adversaries during her battles, the lies she obviously told during her trial at Rouen, we have to admit that Jehanne was a very able liar. She knew it and she admitted it. It is quite probable that her story about talking to angels and saints was just another of many questionable claims from her creative and forceful personality. She was not a witch, or a camp follower, or a heretic. But she was a master prevaricator.

Because Jehanne does not admit to all the horrible things she was accused of, just to please her tormentors, but she describes the few real things that bothered her conscience, as if her life depended on it, I believe this last minute confession.  But the script had already been approved and she was burned for her “remission” when she “broke her word” and put back on men’s clothing. Bless her heart, she thought she had to, as it was the only clothing the guards provided so she could go to the bathroom ( and protect herself from rape ). This document with her seemingly heartfelt confession fell into disfavor, as you can imagine, but it has never been debunked. Those aligned with Church orthodoxy or the English position must be chilled at its implications.

Jehanne might never have understood that she had, indeed confessed to lies tantamount to blasphemy and heresy.  And yet she was killed because she wore some men’s trousers, while the most holy of clerics waltzed around in gowns that could have easily been women’s wear in ancient times… it is all very strange and convoluted.

That last confession may not have earned Jehanne anything but a few extra peaceful minutes of life on this earth. But it changes my outlook on her completely.

“They say confession is good for the soul.” How true, but it also helps others who have been hurt or affected. In this case, it is good for all of us who love Jehanne, but need to make sense out of her life and her death.  Jehanne may have won my lasting admiration, if she had lied and she finally confessed it, and repented, and what is more, she earned everyone’s forgiveness, including God’s.

She was a good person and a Christian. In the end, she at least began to set the record straight. She had built much of her legacy on deception, from the very beginning. She was not perfect, but she was a great patriot and a brave general and friend to her countrymen. That was all the rehabilitation she ever needed.

In the field of Logic they tell you; “If A then B.”   A + B = C.  “If not A then not B,” etc. If one part of an equation is false, the whole thing is false. If Jehanne’s voices never existed, or she made them up, or any alternative explanation besides they were exactly who she said they were, then the prophecies did not come from God. It would seem to be a safe assumption that the spirits of saints do not deceive youths and send them to their deaths. And If not of God…  at the very best they were created out of Jehanne’s mind, and at the very worst they were some kind of hallucinations from the great counterfeiter. The Evil One. And thus, regrettably, Jehanne was necessarily a false prophet, although a very convincing one.  So Logic would demand that she is not a Saint. But then Christianity, the Kingdom of God, Grace, has never been accused of being logical.

Now brace yourself, as I play… “Saint’s advocate.”

It is possible, that in some really surprising scenario, born out of omniscience, God allowed Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret to appear to Jehanne… the real ones, and instruct her, knowing as only God could that in 500 years the Church would not find satisfactory evidence for their existence. What better way for them to be proven as real persons than by a virgin-shepherdess who listens to their instructions and saves a divided country and makes an undeniable impact on world events? Who could be more credible than a pious Christian virgin whose prophecies were as amazingly true as her military victories were decisive? And the impact of that year of Jehanne and her voices still stands.
Jehanne had weak moments, as any teen-ager would have, put in similar situations.  She made mistakes which required her removal from the game, and she was left operating in the flesh, on her own, at the very same time her own government was plotting against her… If her military career was a perfect God-led storm, her fall from Grace was hopeless chaos, and perfect godlessness. And that would be a good definition of hell. And the absence of God. But if those saints were real, then there was still hope for her. Her voices spoke nothing but calm and reassurance in her darkest days.

And if that is all true, then we have to believe, because God does not lie or break promises,  that the voices, the saints who watched and inspired Jehanne, did come to her aid. Somehow, no matter what people saw, God delivered her!  This is what the movies about her seem to suggest. Certainly her executioner who was nearly comatose after her burning, shocked at the vision he saw of white doves flying out of the flames… would agree.

So… Jehanne and her voices were mutually dependent, symbiotic spiritual entities, each only true if the other was also true. In an ironic, cosmic twist, perhaps we should not look to the two Saints in order to prove Jehanne, but look to Jehanne, who was arguably, almost flawless, except for a few forgivable deceptions, to prove the existence of the Saints. We humans hate being taken in, so we automatically lean towards the “If not A, then not B.” But it is impossible to use logic in spiritual matters, especially with the Creator of the Universe. He does not require that we believe. He just makes the impossible possible. We can if we want to. Faith as Paul once wrote, is the evidence of those things not seen. Things not proven… 

I do not know about you, but HONESTLY, if this is true, then I should immediately become a Roman Catholic! And talk to these wonderful Saints often!

That is until they want to send ME into the jaws of death…

And if this all true, then those last minute confessions were either falsified or the product of a poor, broken, tortured, frightened young woman. But what kills this theory are the failed prophecies, the close calls, the outright contradictions. We know that God, through His messengers, produces better than that.

But most likely, ( here is my personal, Evangelical perspective ) it is probable that Jehanne made Doctrinal errors and faulty assumptions, and was misguided in her understanding of the supernatural world. And she may have convinced herself of those voices, which she may have nursed in her mind since very early childhood, and never had the benefit of orthodox counsel about it. It was a deception, a self-deception, which God allowed to guide her clear to Paris, where suddenly she found herself out in the mud and blood and defeat. But in the process the map of the world was shaped according to His design. So I can still admire Jehanne, and love her in spite of her faults.  I am not Catholic and do not believe in praying to Saints. So I have no problem with her being just one of us. Even a proven liar.

But it is France and the Catholic Church who must come to peace with her... if my read on this story is correct.  They need to make room for and the real Jehanne. And the Catholic Church needs to keep digging and vindicate these former saints, find their very best proof, or sadly, if they cannot, discard Saint Joan with them. Or as I have proposed, as an Evangelical looking objectively at their dilemma, they have to prove these two “second-class Saints” and restore them by the evidence of Jehanne and her amazing life and prophecies!

But she will still be Jehanne.

The legend of Joan of Arc is a vulnerable house of cards, built on sentimentality, political greed, and held up by national pride, and easily collapsed by simple Church Doctrine and common sense. But her fascinating true story is still being told and studied and better understood, and will stand the test of time.

 Five hundred years late, the Catholic Church finally looked at Jehanne and admitted their errors and made her a Saint. Even though members of their own body falsely accused her and caused her a horrible death, it suddenly became obvious what her real merits were.

 Or in other words, it only took them five hundred years to see the political usefulness of a French martyr to galvanize the French people, and this during a world war. Poor little Jehanne was born in war, sent to war, glorified in war, destroyed in war and Sanctified in war. After she left home, there was never a time when she was not serving some power, usually the state or the church, but perhaps God, for some greater purpose, through violence. I suppose she would not have had it any other way. But all she wanted was to restore her country, as she understood it. She trusted God to do the rest. Her doctrines may have been fuzzy, but her faith was impeccable.

I have friends who like to ask, what is the one TRUTH I can walk away with, from this ridiculously long blog?

TRUTH:  France, for better or for worse, was PRESERVED by the faith and actions of one Jehanne the Maid.  God sent Jehanne Darc to preserve France’s autonomy and its Catholicism, or…

CONSEQUENCES:  Jehanne was allowed to expose and thus condemn France and its Catholicism, resulting in mutual abandonment between France and her “King of Heaven.”

Either way, France was the big loser, as Faith, Jehanne’s kind, became a cultural trinket, and liberality a national pastime. And Catholicism formed an inadequate, unprotective umbrella over a land steeped in pride and insolence. I am not sure, but it has occurred to me that France’s agnosticism may have been born over the confusion around Jehanne.  What kind of God would require such a path from a beautiful, impeccable maid? What kind of Church would be so confused over her?

So France was left behind, a stubborn oligarchy, barely impacted by Protestantism, even prevented from it, and in many ways retarded and suffered because of the instructions of those voices and the victories won by Jehanne, which kept France in the dark. Her beloved France fermented too long under the thumb of the elites and the church, and great hardship and travesty was perpetuated by the fearless, unparalleled leadership of this same young prophet-shepherdess from Domremy, a religious wonder-girl who was driven by voices that six hundred years later, few believe or can qualify. Was it truly God who chose this path for France?  Or was it Jehanne? This may be the greatest paradox of all.






If there were a trial today, and (God forbid!) once again Jehanne stood balanced on a fulcrum between life and death, and we had an objective jury, with all of our facts and information and hypotheses, and cynicisms, we would do her no better justice. But if the trial was held in France, with only some 9% still active in the Roman Catholic Church, it would be almost impossible to seat a jury of her peers. There is probably a higher percentage of Muslims of Arabic descent. Today she would be scrutinized and interrogated by scientists and statisticians and agnostics and godless liberals who would see her as a freak.

They are the children of the Revolution, the product of evolution of the national French vision. Joan of Arc, in their minds is a pervasive statue in many neighborhoods.

After deliberating for weeks, they would reach an impasse and turn her out, no matter what her accusations or crimes. For whatever they were, they no longer matter. Very few would care one way or the other. But still, they would take her to the nearest bar and sit her up on the counter and offer her a bottle of wine and talk about how bad those American-made movies were that depicted her so disrespectfully. “Which Joan was YOUR favorite?”

 They would sing French anthems and carry her out in the street, and pose for pictures. And when it came time to go home, in a couple of days, they would all go home. And Jehanne, about as haggard as she was at Rouen, would be left out in the street alone, for, even in France, especially in France, she can never have a home. 

No comments: