Joan of Arc

Thank You to Uvi for Interviewing Me as a Guest on Her Blog

July 17, 1429 The Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims

Sculpture of Joan of Arc by Rodin

“Head of Sorrow” (Joan of Arc)
Auguste Rodin
Photo: Joseph G. Brin © 2012

Curator Thompson says that in the 20th century Rodin’s influence was directly transmitted through sculptors like Maillol and Brancusi (who worked for Rodin). “When you get to the 21st century, I’m struck by how many younger people are taken by Rodin, moved by him. It’s so much about emotion. You don’t need to know the classics. Rodin’s work is a great source of human connection.”

Joseph G. Brin is an architect, fine artist and writer based in Philadelphia.

Photo of Auguste Rodin: Courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Video! Orleans Celebratory Events taking place now (May 5-8, 2012)

Sculpture: Joan of Arc in Orleans, France

Joan of Arc’s Trial in Rouen

Sculpture at the site of Joan's death in Rouen

The Riddle of Mark Twain’s Passion for Joan of Arc

Mark Twain’s obsession with Joan of Arc has to rank among the most baffling and least talked about enigmas in American literature. Even for those entrenched within the competitive world of Twain scholarship, stories like the one above are usually treated as interesting, but ultimately trifling, anecdotes, illustrative of the eccentricities of a predictably unconventional man.


The same might also be said of his book about the French heroine. Published in 1896, when its author was 61,Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc has long been viewed as something of an aberration, a curio—the type of genre-bending work that a bored, established writer often undertakes in order to buck audience expectations. Narrated by a fictionalized version of Joan’s servant and scribe, Sieur Louis de Conte, the book spans the majority of Joan’s life, beginning with her childhood in eastern France and ending with her questionable trial and execution. While other Twain novels such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Prince and the Pauper are also set in medieval Europe, far from the author’s more familiar milieu of mid-19th century Missouri, Recollections is unique in its somber tone.


New Independent Film About Joan of Arc

This film “Ma Jeanne d’Arc” tells the story of a young woman who follows Joan of Arc’s footsteps across France, on horseback.

The trailer is beautiful, and I look forward to seeing it! Showing in “Art Theaters” now, and will be available on DVD soon.

Donald Sutherland compares “Hunger Games” to George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan”


“It’s the preface, which is probably 40 pages long, where he breaks down everything about Joan of Arc, comparing her to Socrates, to Napoleon. The particular kind of genius and vision she had, and the ability to make effective that vision, which is the definition of genius.”

He opens a folder full of script pages and extracts a copy.

“Oh he’s wonderful, Shaw. God, he’s hysterical.” (Donald Sutherland)

Celebrating the Rise of Women in Diplomacy

When considering women in history, there is evidence that women have demonstrated particular masculine traits to assume leadership. A few examples include Joan of Arc, Empress Theodora, Anne Hutchinson, Catherine the Great, and Carrie Nation. However, these women have left a mark in history because they and many others have typically assumed male roles. When Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister, she quickly became the ultimate feminist icon who had smashed through the highest glass ceiling.

On March 6, 1429 Joan of Arc was received at Chinon Castle by Charles, the dauphin

Ch 6 Image 20 Chinon

Charles, a weak-willed, mistrustful, uncertain personality, had been discouraged from granting Joan an audience by his advisors. Perhaps due to their influence, he attempted to test her perceptive powers by choosing an imposter to sit on his throne. Entering the torch-lit “great hall” crowded with knights, noblemen, members of the clergy and ladies of the court, Joan, a country girl of seventeen was expected to lose her composure.

To the amazement of all who witnessed this event, she calmly searched for Charles who stood amidst the onlookers. Moving toward him, she knelt at his feet before addressing him. At first he denied being the dauphin, and pointed toward the man seated on the throne. Joan said to him,

By God gentle prince, it is you and none other. God give you life, gentle king. I bring you news from God, that our Lord will give you back your kingdom, bringing you to be crowned at Reims, and driving out your enemies. In this I am God’s messenger. Do you set me bravely to work, and I will raise the siege of Orleans. (Jeanne d’Arc)

Prior to her arrival, Robert de Boudricourt had sent a letter to Charles from Vaucouleurs that served as an endorsement of Joan. Her ability to recognize him as the dauphin provided Charles with yet another reason to grant her the benefit a private audience. As the crowd watched, they withdrew together, into a private chamber.

What took place during their time alone on this night of their first meeting would never become clearly known, but has been the source of great speculation and conjecture by historians who continue to develop and present their own theories. What is certain, according to witnesses, is that Charles appeared to be radiant when he emerged from that room. His demeanor had dramatically changed from doubt, to glowing certainty.

[i] Ibid. p.21

Sister Joan Chittister is Heroic

Fountain of the Fevers by Kevin

“It was a sense of Divine Light in all things that kept the Jewish convert Edith Stein strong in the face of death at the hands of the Nazis; and Joan of Arc unyielding to the churchmen who condemned her for following her conscience rather than being obedient to them; and Galileo faithful even in the midst of rejection by a church intent on smothering modern science in the name of faith; and Dorothy Day implacable in her pursuit of peace in a country that called her “communist” for doing it.

Spiritual leaders like these remember what so many of us far too often forget:

Christians are not people of the cross. Christians are people of the empty tomb, the ones who know that every step on the way to the Light is Light.”___Sister Joan Chittister

Composer Irene Buckley’s new score accompanies Carl Dreyer’s “The Passion of Jeanne d’Arc”

For this specially commissioned cine-concert, composer Irene Buckley has used the text and the structure of the Requiem Mass, to create an evocative new work scored for soprano (Emma Nash), organ (Rhoda Dullea) and electronics. The Cork-born composer’s pieces are characterised by the dynamic interplay between medieval and contemporary composition and have been performed in locations from Carnegie Hall to Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam). With its raw emotional power, evocative setting and haunting score,The Passion of Joan of Arc is an awe-inspiring evening of music and film. (Excerpt from the film with music by Irene Buckley)


Although Richard Einhorn’s powerful oratorio, “Voices of Light” accompanies Carl Dreyer’s silent film, “The Passion of Jeanne d’Arc” on DVD and in live concerts, other composers are offering new scores, intended to inspire audiences who attend viewings of Dreyer’s masterpiece.


Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) is the patron of France and of soldiers. Born to peasant parents in the village of Domremy, Joan (or Jehanne, as she signed her name in French) began to hear the voices (and sometimes see some kind of vision) of St Michael, St Catherine and St Margaret when she was thirteen. At first, they simply urged her to develop her piety but eventually began to direct her to become involved in the struggle to bring Charles, son of King Charles VI, to the contested French throne.

Obediently, 17-year old Joan traveled to the French court, took on male attire, and persisted in making her way through the layers of bureaucracy by predicting the outcome of certain military operations and then by recognizing the king in his disguise. She convinced him to allow her to command an army, and using a sword that had been buried behind the altar of St Catherine de Fierbois, she led her army to a spectacular victory over the English at Orleans. Charles’ supporters were reinvigorated by the inspiration of this armored Maid of Orleans, and after a string of victories, Charles was crowned at the Cathedral in Rheims with Joan in attendance.

She laid down her arms on the altar of St Denis after being shot through the thigh with a crossbow but went back to the field one more time. At Compegnie, Joan was trapped outside the castle, dragged from her horse, and promptly sold to the English with no intervention by Charles. Held in a secular prison guarded by English soldiers, she continued to wear male clothing for protection. The Inquisition was called in.

After nearly five months of testimony, beginning with charges of witchcraft and ending with a conviction of engaging in cross-dressing, Joan was condemned a heretic at nineteen, and she was burned at the stake in Rouen on May 30, 1431.  A new trial by the Church in 1450 overturned her conviction and declared Joan to be a martyr. She was canonized (declared a saint) in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV, who called her a “most brilliant shining light” of God. Her story has been the subject of hundreds of books, plays, musical compositions, and art.

Prayer for Joan of Arc: In the face of your enemies, in the face of harassment, ridicule, and doubt, you held firm in your faith. Even in your abandonment, alone and without friends, you held firm in your faith. Even as you faced your own mortality, you held firm in your faith. I pray that I may be as bold in my beliefs as you, St. Joan. I ask that you ride along beside me in my own battles. Help me be mindful that what is worthwhile can be won when I persist. Help me hold firm in my faith. Help me believe in my ability to act well and wisely. Amen.

–Penny Nash (from article )


Thank you to Goodreads group, “Shut up and read!” and to Jen, for this great review!


February 20, 2012
This was an amazing book. I have always been very interested in the story and life of Joan of Arc, and I greedily gobble up any bit of information I can read on her. Ever since the first time my grandma showed me the painting of Joan by Jules Bastien-Lepage, I have been entranced by this amazing person. This book was full of interesting information about Joan, and I especially enjoyed that Joan’s own 15th century trial testimony was used. In the synopsis I read that the author has a decade of research under her belt in preparing for and writing this book, and this fact definitely comes through in the reading. Magnificently written, and the full color photos were an added bonus…very beautiful. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a deep interest in Saint Joan, anyone who has no idea what Joan’s story is, and would like to learn more about her, and everyone in between. Thank you for a wonderful book!

“The Passion of Jeanne d’Arc” and Nick Cave

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC is certainly Dreyer’s finest hour, and Cave’s heartfelt tribute turned it into a truly extraordinary experience; quite simply the most emotional and physically draining experience I’ve witnessed at the cinema. Dreyer’s film is based on two novels by Joseph Delteil on the original transcript of this infamous trial. Delteil assisted Dreyer with the screenplay, but there’s little doubt that the court records set the tone for this harrowing film. THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC is composed almost entirely of close-ups, and the final stages of the trial – along with Joan’s execution – are dominated by the face of Renee (‘Marie’) Falconetti. The plight of the woman who claimed she was sent by God to save France is indelibly printed on Falconetti’s tortured visage; indeed her performance is so intense, it seems as though she was actually possessed by the spirit of this revered Saint. As Joan is tortured and humiliated by the ‘devil’s agents’ en route to her eventual confession, Falconetti cries what are so obviously real tears. This has to be a real contender for the most courageous performance ever given by an actress, and I was astonished to learn that this was her first and last film. Reports indicate she received help and advice from her director along every step of the way but, ultimately, Renee Falconetti must have felt more alone than any woman in silver screen history. Her overwhelming presence makes this a painful viewing experience, and Dreyer’s obsessive approach to his subject matter is still guaranteed to disturb, even in an age where we think we’ve seen everything. Falconetti’s inner strength, her unparalleled suffering and eventual despair manage to cross that often impenetrable barrier between screen and audience, forcing us to feel her pain and, occasionally recoil in horror. The scene where Joan is ‘bled’ so that she may live to deny her faith is extremely graphic, drawing gasps from an incredulous audience and when her execution takes place, the band stop playing and become as one with the packed auditorium who are stunned by this tragic history lesson.
Cave has gone on record as saying this is his all-time favourite film and it showed, Nick! Here, The Dirty Three offered mostly understated background support, with smoldering violin and guitar anchored down by Jim White’s steady beat. Occasionally, the boys really put their feet on the pedals, responding to Dreyer’s disturbing visuals with all the brutality of prime-time Bad Seeds. However, it was the quieter moments that really left a scar: Cave’s beautifully fragile piano, his wordless vocals which often mutate into a haunting ‘This is my desire’ refrain, and his unerring ability to correctly call when the music should stop. A prime example of this came near the end of the film, when Joan is burnt at the stake. As the flames rise, a deathly silence envelopes the NFT, as we watch the crowd who gathered to witness the execution suddenly realise the enormity of this obscene act and openly revolt. It’s then that Cave chooses to deliver his only song of the evening; a plaintive vocal which addresses “God’s non-intervention”.

Orleans (calendar of events) in celebration of the 600th anniversary of Joan of Arc’s birth

Throughout 2012, there will be tributes, reinactments, expositions and modern shows following one from one another, to pay respect to this internationally renowned historical figure. The traditional ceremonies will come to its climax around the 12th and 13th of May.




Febr. 12, 1429: “The Battle of the Herrings” and its importance in Joan of Arc’s Life Story

Ch 1 image 1 Mystic Identity J of A Part of the Hundred Years’ War (And the Siege of Orléans

Joan knew about the French army’s loss of the “Battle of the Herrings” before the news reached officials in Vaucouleurs, where Joan waited impatiently to be given permission to begin her mission (to ride to Chinon with armed escorts, meet with Charles the dauphin, and be granted the right to lead French troops, where she guaranteed the successful raising of the siege of Orleans.) No one could comprehend how Jehanne, La Pucelle gained access to this information. It had come to her through “revelation” (she had been told of it by her angelic counselors.

Morale within the city and among its leaders was at a low point, so much so that consideration was given to surrendering the city.


The Battle of the Herrings was the most significant military action during the siege of Orléans from its inception in October of 1428 until the appearance on the scene, in May of the following year, of Joan of Arc. Even so, it was, to all appearances, a rather minor engagement and, were it not for the context in which it occurred, would most likely have been relegated to the merest of footnotes in military history or even forgotten altogether.

But not only was it part of one of the most famous siege actions in history, the story also gained currency that it played a pivotal role in convincing Robert de Baudricourt in Vaucouleurs, to accede to Joan’s demand for support and safe conduct to Chinon. For it was on the very day (February 12, 1429) of the battle that Joan met with de Baudricourt for the final time. According to the story, recounted in several places (for example, in Sackville-West), Joan gave out the information that “the Dauphin’s arms had that day suffered a great reverse near Orléans”. When, several days later, news of the military setback near Rouvrey did in fact reach Vaucouleurs, de Baudricourt, according to the story, relented and agreed to sponsor her journey to the Dauphin in Chinon. Joan finally left Vaucouleurs for Chinon on the 23rd of February, 1429.”

Images of Jehanne, La Pucelle by “Joan of Arc Project; See by Seeing”

Celebrating Black Women: WWII Army battallion honors Joan of Arc in the place where she was burned at the stake

Members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion take part in a parade ceremony May 27, 1945, in honor of Joan d’Arc at the marketplace where she was burned at the stake.

Domremy; Where it all began…(2012 cultural events celebrating Joan of Arc, in France)

“This year it is six hundred years since a young peasant girl, the last or second last child in a family of 5, was born in the little village of Domremy, in the Champagne area and duchy of Lorraine. From this tiny, anodyne and banal event, unnoticed by many history sources, was born one of the biggest and more fascinating sagas of the French Middle Ages, if not the history of all of France.”


New Stamp honoring Joan of Arc to be issued in France

Agnes Poirier says, Joan of Arc is “a people’s girl…a feisty little punk who paid for her audacity with her life.”

From The Guardian (by Agnes Poirier)

The extremist-right National Front emerged on the French political scene, highjacking the lovely and audacious girl as their effigy. She suddenly became a political enemy; from hero, she became foe. For my generation, traumatised by the rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s party, she suddenly represented chauvinism in its nastiest form. From a freedom fighter, she became a hater of foreigners. She could have no place in our hearts.

We were fools. The left should have fought hard to reclaim Jeanne. She is not, as the extreme right historiography would have us believe, a royalist Catholic die-hard. She is a people’s girl, betrayed by the king and burned by the church. In other words, she’s a feisty little punk who paid for her audacity with her life. Let’s say it loud and clear today, Jeanne is one of us!

Who “owns” Joan of Arc? (The Perpetual Question)

From this article:

“Starting as a nobody, she broke nearly every 15th-century gender barrier. In 2012 she’s a Christian heroine in a secular state: For the right, a holy warrior of the sacred soil; on the left, a brave iconoclast fighting corrupt elites.” And….check the article to see what you know about the geography of France.

Sarkozy Questions Joan of Arc’s Authentic Role in French History 

By Catholic News Service

DOMREMY, France — French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised his country’s patron, St. Joan of Arc, for helping “forge the national conscience.”

“For the church, Joan is a saint. For the republic, she’s the incarnation of the finest French virtues, including a patriotism that consists of loving one’s homeland without resenting others,” the president said Jan. 6 after attending Mass at Domremy to mark the 600th anniversary of her birth.

Celebrations throughout the year will include Masses, conferences and theater productions, as well as a national pilgrimage in February. In May, Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, president of the French bishops’ conference, will celebrate a jubilee Mass in Domremy.

A statue of Joan of Arc is seen in the courtyard of the headquarters of France’s National Front political party in Nanterre Jan. 5. France is marking the 600th anniversary of the birth of the saint, who, as a teenager, was burned at the stake after leading a military campaign against English invaders. (CNS/Reuters)

St. Joan, a 19-year-old peasant girl, was burned at the stake in Rouen in 1431 after rallying a French army against English invaders and lifting the siege of Orleans. The national heroine, who was canonized in 1920, is widely credited with altering the course of the 1337-1453 Hundred Years War and strengthening French nationhood.

In a speech at Vaucouleurs, Sarkozy said St. Joan had generated “sarcasm from those for whom courage could only be masculine” and skepticism about the voices she claimed to have heard, calling on her to save the country.

“But Joan was really the face of the first French resistance in an era when the national conscience was being forged amid the most terrible ordeals,” the president said.

“Were these voices addressed to the soul of a Christian, or did they come directly from the heart of little French girl? No one can answer this question, and I think it’s wisest to leave Joan her mystery, respecting her faith and courage.”

He added that she represented “everything most noble and humble” and did not belong “to any party, faction or clan.”

“Joan embodies the Christian roots of France, but this doesn’t in any way harm the secular values we so much believe in,” Sarkozy said.