Theologian Thursday: Joan of Arc (c1412-1431)

This is the fourth post in my Month of Martyrs series. Stay tuned for the last post next week!

To be honest, most of my previous knowledge about Joan of Arc was from that episode of Wishbone.

Don't judge. You know what I'm talking about.

But really, even though she wasn't exactly a theologian, she was a martyr, and she's a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, and I think her story is important for a number of reasons.

The gist of Joan of Arc's history is that she was born when the French were losing the Hundred Years' War, she received a vision when she was about 13 of Saints Margaret, Catherine, and Michael, who told her that God said to get the English out of France, so despite the fact that she was a girl of rather low standing, she made it into the army, rallied the troops (even captured a fortress by herself), and ultimately increased the morale of the French enough for them eventually to win the war (20 years after her death). She was captured by the Burgudians, purchased from them by the English, and subsequently tried for heresy and burned alive at the stake.

Here's why I think Joan of Arc is interesting: While I admire her determination in the face of adversity and the fact that she did what she thought was right despite the men in charge not taking her seriously, she essentially turned what was a war born of royal family drama into a holy war.

Of course, as a pacifist, I hate the whole idea of "holy war." BUT it's interesting to me that her being so sure that God wanted the French to win was what gave her army the passion it needed to actually be victorious. AND this idea is still prevalent today--everyone thinks God is on their side.

(To read more about my Theologian Rating System, click HERE)
Gender Equality:
Joan of Arc clearly did not let the fact that she was a woman get in the way of her doing what she needed to do. Even though she was at times purposefully left out of important military meetings and rarely taken seriously (especially at the beginning of her involvement in the war), she went ahead with whatever she wanted, which was usually smarter than what the men had planned. She went as far as to keep her hair cut short and dress in men's clothing in order to quit being sexually objectified (this even ended up being part of her heresy charge).
Environmental Sensibility:
Can I skip this one today? She supposedly hung out in the forest around a "Fairy Tree" as a child. So I guess she liked nature OK...?
Heretical Tendencies:
She was tried as a heretic in England, but the heresy she was charged for is based mostly on her experiences of voices and visions, but I'm pretty sure there were English people having visions that weren't tried as heretics. My feeling is that by "heretic" they meant "French patriot."

General Badassery:
I don't think this is really a surprise. Joan of Arc was a badass, plain and simple. When she was imprisoned by the Burgundians, she jumped out of a 70 foot tower to escape. She did her thing. HBIC for sure.

"I am not afraid... I was born to do this."