Part 3-Trial and Conclusion
During September Joan lead an unsuccessful attempt to reclaim Paris. It was then that she was captured by the Burgundian allies and was sold to the English.
Mark Twain wrote, “If the church could be brought to take her life, or to proclaim her an idolater, a heretic, a witch, sent from Satan, not from heaven, it was believed that the English supremacy could be at once reinstated.” It was for this reason that a French Bishop-Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais was called upon to preside over Joan’s trial. Joan was not tried by the state, but the church, her trial would be on religious law.
Joan of Arc lived a pure, holy, and upright life. The only accusation at the disposal of Cauchon was that of heresy, witchcraft, and wearing men’s clothing. Without any outward actions or behavior of Joan’s was condemnable by the Cauchon the examiners resorted to fraud and deceit in hopes of tripping up Joan’s answers. As part of this tacting, Joan suffered in more ways than one. As a war prisoner, she was treated harshly, forced to wear shackles, and watched constantly by men. Facing accusations of witchcraft, Joan was chained to her bed to prevent her from escaping through a window, as was the custom of witches. Bishop Cauchon and those working with him employed every method imaginable in hopes of breaking this unconquorable spirit, Joan may rest knowing she endured faithfully to the bitter end.
One of the most famous passages from Joan’s trial occurred when she was asked if she was in a state of grace, to which she replied, “If I’m not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God keep me in it. I would be the most wretched person in the world if I knew I were not in the grace of God.”
The details surrounding Joan’s eventual sentence to death, are hazzy. Of the many sources of Joan available, many give varying accounts of what actually occurred. Joan’s end, however, remains the same throughout all of them.
France’s heroin and type of savior were miles away from home at the tender age of nineteen when she would join her heavenly home. Away from war, pain, and fraud, she has found rest in the only place worthy of her stoic character. Upon death, she suffered under the hand of the church, later, due to the supremacy, truth, and goodness of God she has been canonized as a saint by the catholic church in 1920.
I conclude with the memorable words of Mark Twain “We know what Joan of Arc was like, without asking-merely by what she did. The artist should paint her spirit-then he could not fail to paint her body aright. She would rise before us, then, a vision to win us, not repel: a lithe young slender figure, instinct with ‘the unbought grace of youth,’ dear and bonny and lovable, the face beautiful, and transfigured with the light of that lustrous intellect and the fires of that unquenchable spirit.”
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