About The Author
About, Marcia Quinn Noren
In the paragraphs that follow, the author describes the transformational shifts that took place in her life when her path crossed with Joan’s for the first time, “almost by accident.”
“On an early spring day in Normandy’s ancient port city of Rouen, I stared at the great clock suspended over La Rue de la Gros Horloge, marking the entrance to the bustling market square, Place du Vieux Marché. Moments later, across from where I stood between rows of retail shops, my eyes were drawn to a tall, slender cross that rose from a blanket of colorful flower beds, casting its shadow across the site of Joan of Arc’s public execution. Struck by how little I knew about the heroic life that had ended in this place, I was riveted by the words of Andre Malreaux, Charles DeGaulle’s Minister of Culture, engraved on a limestone monument nearby.
O Jeanne, sans sépulcre et sans portrait,
Toi qui savais que le tombeau des héros
Est le coeur des vivants.
Oh Jeanne, without sepulcher and without portrait,
You who knew that the hero’s tomb
Is the heart of the living
Returning to my home on California’s central coast weeks later, I was driven to pursue answers to questions that had continued to haunt me since that day in Rouen. If Joan died at nineteen, how old was she when she raised the siege of Orleans? Was she a mascot for the French, or did she enter the battle’s melee with armed comrades? Why was she abandoned and betrayed, when everything she accomplished was for the greater good of France?
By summer’s end, after reading a number of biographies, I was overtaken by an inexplicable compulsion to know all that can be known about Joan of Arc. As my investigations continued, the age of technology advanced, and vast amounts of information began to flow into my library. Reliable sources disclosed innumerable tributaries branching out from her story, all meriting further investigation.
During my participation in an online discussion organized by professor of medieval studies, Bonnie Wheeler in 1999, participating scholars presented radically conflicting points of view. It became clearly evident that Joan’s sworn testimony has often been either discounted or grossly misinterpreted. Returning to France in November, 1998 and May, 2001, I completed my research and the writing came out of the depths of my own experience. This is the sense of discovery I hope to share with my readers.”
The author’s undivided attention to the study of Joan’s life came directly out of her determination to understand the hero whose lifetime marked the close of the Age of Chivalry. Setting aside all other writing projects, including an award winning memoir and the series of magazine articles that had already been published; she began what would become a full decade of nonstop research.
Extended field trips brought her into the villages and cities, castles and battlefields where Joan’s story unfolded. She was granted permission to enter and photograph preserved historic sites that are not ordinarily open to the public, including religious sanctuaries and government-protected historic buildings. Her in-depth interviews with historians, clerics, museum curators, private citizens and governmental officials enrich the text and provide fresh insights. The thirty-nine photographs included in the book from her personal collection breathe life into each chapter.
Since any study of Joan of Arc mandates an expansive investigation of the social forces at work during the Late Middle Ages, and with literally tens of thousands of religious and secular biographies, novels and poems about Joan already published, the sheer magnitude of effort required by anyone intending to produce a worthy contribution to her historic legacy requires passion, commitment and endurance. The author maintains that her motivation and perseverance came from knowing that the book she had hoped to find when she searched for biographies on Joan had not yet been written.
In supporting Joan’s sworn testimony as trustworthy evidence, the author applies her life-long study of cross-cultural mysticism to her publications. Berkeley anthropologist Ruth Inge-Heinze, Ph.D. published the author’s first two papers on Joan, under the proceedings of the International Conference on the Study of Shamanism and Alternative Modes of Healing, held at Santa Sabina Center for over twenty-five consecutive years in San Rafael CA.
Among the most controversial issues in Joan’s life story is the Trial of Condemnation that ended her life. Despite having orchestrated the most miraculous military turnaround recorded in Western history, how is it possible that at age nineteen, the girl who would become a saint in the twentieth century was convicted of heresy and witchcraft and burned at the stake? The author devotes an entire chapter to clarifying how and why this became Joan’s fate.
In the course of revealing Joan’s legacy and purpose, each chapter provides an investigation into her role as mystic offering perspectives that have never before been so thoroughly explored. Joan of Arc, The Mystic Legacy presents Joan as the embodiment of chivalry whose certainty and conviction came directly from divine guidance.