Of all the stories of women, ancient or modern, that of Joan remains one of the most touching

In the small village of Domremy, on the Meuse, peasant prophecy predicted that a virgin maid, a

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In the small village of Domremy, on the Meuse, peasant prophecy predicted that a virgin maid, a pucelle, would save France from the English demons. Beginning in 1424, the young Joan, daughter to a local farmer, Jacques d’Arc, began to have visions which would continue for 5 years. Eventually she perceived that the Archangel Michael was directing her to go comfort the king and to lead him to Rheims to be anointed. One vision was very specific, telling her to go see a Monsieur Baudicourt, a captain at Vaucouleurs, who would take her to the king.

The confused child confided in her father who was horrified, threatening to personally drown her in the river if she tried to leave. To hold her in place, he quickly tried to arrange a marriage with a local youth, but Joan, having taken an oath to preserve her virginity fled to live with an uncle. The uncle believed her story and took her to see Baudicourt. Baudicourt’s advice to the uncle was, “Whip the girl well, and send her home to her father.”

By February, 1429, the siege of Orléans was on the thoughts of all Frenchmen. Joan now found the courage to make another attempt to see Baudicourt. By now the citizens of Vaucouleurs had heard her story and under their pressure Baudicourt decided nothing would be lost in sending her to the king. The citizens raised the necessary money for a horse and armor, the wearing of which now necessitated that Joan begin wearing the clothes of a male. Just before her departure a message arrived from her parents, begging her not to go. Joan, unable to write, dictated a letter asking their forgiveness for her disobedience.

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