If Joan of Arc
Had a heart
Would she give it as a gift?
To such as me
Who longs to see
How an angel ought to be
Her dream’s to give
Her heart away
Like an orphan on a wave
She cared so much
She offered up
Her body to the grave
History contends that the ashes of Saint Joan of Arc were gathered from the pyre on which she was burned alive and tossed into the river Seine.
Anxious to avoid creating a martyr, the English, who had ordered her death in 1431, wanted nothing left of the 19-year-old French heroine. According to legend, however, a devoted follower managed to find and conceal some of her remains, including fragments of charred rib and material from clothing, that today are one of the Roman Catholic church’s most precious relics.
Now DNA tests are to be carried out on the Pucelle d’Orléans (the Maid of Orleans), who was killed 575 years ago for being a heretic and a witch after she claimed voices from God had told her to drive the English from France.
Philippe Charlier, a genetic specialist at the Raymond-Pointcaré hospital at Garches, west of Paris, said the tests would solve the mystery over the relic.
“The remains include fragments of ribs, material, wood and traces of human body tissues on pieces of bone and wood from the pyre,” he said.
Joan of Arc, was burned at the stake, but because her heart remained intact – seen in the 15th century as a miracle – her remains were cremated on two more occasions before being thrown in the river. “Today we can give medical reasons for why the heart, lungs and intestines might not have burned but in those days it was considered a miracle,” said Dr Charlier. “They burned the remains twice more as they were very determined there should be nothing left.”
He added: “We won’t be able to say, ‘Yes this is Joan of Arc’, but within six months we will able to say if these remains belong to a female of 19 years old whose body was burned three times in Rouen in 1431.”
Born in Domrémy in 1412, Joan of Arc began hearing voices at 13 telling her to liberate France from the English. At 17 she led an army to relieve Orleans. After accepting the surrender of Troyes, she and her army escorted Charles VII to Rheims for his coronation in 1429.
She was later captured and handed over to the English and then tried by a group of clergy who had to be coerced into finding her guilty in 1431. She was made a saint in 1920.
OK. I’ve said so much about Jehanne. Fallen on blind eyes and deaf ears.