Joan of Arc (or Jeanne d’Arc in French) is both a myth and a genuine historical figure. After six centuries, novels, plays, and movies have immortalized her. Her story has been reexplored numerous times. One point of curiosity about her was the mysterious voices inside her head, which may have guided her cause during the Hundred Year’s War. According to accounts, she was 13 years old when she heard the voices that “came from the right, from the direction of the church, and was accompanied by a bright light.” The ringing of church bells would sometimes trigger the voices, Joan said.
But whose voices were these and how did they help this sword-wielding teenager in her quest to free France?
St. Michael the Archangel
The leader of all angels and army of God was the first to speak to Joan when she was 13 years old. The archangel told Joan that St. Catherine and St. Margaret would soon follow and advised the young girl to obey their instructions. From then on, only the two female saints visited Joan often until she turned 17, when the archangel outlined the plan of liberating France from the English.
St. Catherine of Alexandria
Joan said that St. Catherine and Saint Margaret had rich crowns on their heads and that they spoke well, with beautiful voices. St. Catherine and St. Margaret called Joan “The Maid, Child of God.” St. Catherine was a virgin martyr born in a noble family in Alexandria. Her demeanor was similar to Joan’s who, when subjected to weeks of intense questioning, was said to maintain her dignity and spoke with clarity and reason that outsmarted learned men.
In fact, Joan’s sword was found behind the altar at the church of St. Catherine. Accounts say that one of the voices told her that there was an ancient sword hidden somewhere behind the altar of St. Catherine’s at Fierbois. True enough, it was there, buried a little way under the ground. Joan only carried the sword as a symbol of authority, as she was instructed that it should never be used to kill anybody.
St. Margaret, sometimes called Marina, was a shepherdess who attracted the interest of a local prefect. When she rejected his marriage proposal, he had her imprisoned and tortured. When the punishment had no effect on her, the prefect brought her before a public trial. She was threatened but she refused to renounce God, which led to her beheading. Joan of Arc had a similar fate with her guardians.