“For all the heroes who have lived

In history can’t measure up

In bravery against the Maid.”

–Christine de Pizan – 1364-1430

Joan of Arc (c. 1412-1431), also known as the ‘Maid of Orleans’ was the daughter of an ordinary farmer in France. It is reported that Joan saw Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine of Alexandria in her dream who instructed her to help Charles VII in the fight against the English, during the Hundred Years’ War.

Following the dream, she went to Charles’ court dressed as a man, and after initial scepticism he gave her a small army to free Orleans from English siege. Under Joan’s command, the task was completed in nine days. Thereafter, she led many successful campaigns against the English and then Charles was crowned king, with Joan holding her standard next to him. However, in 1430 she was captured by the Burgundian faction and sold to the English. They found her guilty of rejection of church authority in favour of direct inspiration from God and was burned to death, aged 19.