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Joan

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Her name was Joan. She was born in a small village in France in 1412 into a large, farming family. She went to church, obeyed her elders, and was attentive to her studies.

Her name was Joan. She heard the voice of God through visions of saints, telling her to aid France in its struggle against England during the late Hundred Years War. Without question, she went to the young Dauphin, the heir to France. Others tried to stop her, but she never gave up. Putting her trust in the Lord, she broke the five month siege of Orleans in only nine days. She crowned the young Dauphin king. She made enemies.

Her name was Joan. Trying to break the siege of Compeigne, her enemies, namely the Duke of Bedford, took her captive. Unlike the custom, they called for no ransom. She had crowned the Dauphin, and the Duke wanted France’s throne for his young nephew. They wanted France’s new inspiration to be destroyed, so that victory could be theirs.

Her name was Joan. Accused of heresy against the church, she stood tall as the Duke spread lies about her. She faced a jury and clerks who sat in his pocket. And still, she answered all the questions and accusations with maturity and calm. When he called her out for wearing men’s clothing, she defended herself by the words of the Bible. When the jury tried to catch her in asking if she stood in God’s favor, where either answer would have meant death, she said, “If I am in His favor, let Him hold me close, and if I am not, let Him call me back.” As the trial lasted from days into months, months away from her family, surrounded by enemies, and abused by men, she prayed.

Her name was Joan. On May 30, 1431, a fire was lit in Rouen. There, she took her last stand, as the fire consumed her. Even the normal procedure of killing the criminal instead of letting them burn to death was forgone. She took her last breath with a crucifix around her neck and her life in God’s hands.

Her name was Joan. In the face of battles and enemies, she showed a courage that defied her age. She stood where others would have cowered. She told the truth to a sea of faces who despised her. She aided France in winning the Hundred Years War. Most importantly, she followed the path God put before her.

Her name was Joan. She is my hero.



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