Joan began hearing voices and seeing visions as early as 12 years old. She stated that the voices went from informing her how to be a proper Christian, to be pious, etc, to informing her that Charles VII was one true king of France and it was her job to install him to the throne. Modern psychologists have taken her descriptions of bright light visions and voices and developed a time traveling diagnosis:
*Joan suffered from one of numerous neurological and psychiatric conditions that trigger hallucinations or delusions, including migraines, bipolar disorder and brain lesions, to name just a few. Yet another theory holds that she contracted bovine tuberculosis, which can cause seizures and dementia, from drinking unpasteurized milk and tending cattle as a young girl. *(via History.com)
Modern psychologists...always ruining someone's good self-brain time. Can't they just let a girl think??
2. During WWI Joan was still being used as a hero!
You wouldn't think that Germany, England, France, and the US would have a lot in common when it comes to World War I, but all these countries used Joan as a rallying point for propaganda posters during the war.
Songwriters in the United States wrote, “Joan of Arc, They Are Calling You”, as a way to stir souls to join the war effort. The United States also created posters with Joan's image to appeal to female citizens with the phrase “Joan of Arc Saved France...Women of America, Save Your Country. Buy War Savings Stamps.” England used the same imagery, and essentially the same words, to appeal to its female populous as well. France used Joan's image, after Germany bombed parts of the country, as a rallying cry for the people to rise up and fight against the invading soldiers. Germany even used her image to try to get the same French people on their side by appealing to both country's long standing rivalry with England.
Who would've thought that Joan would become the modern day universal soldier?? (Sorry Jean-Claude Van Damme...you don't quite stack up.)
3. Joan Became St. Joan...Eventually
Joan was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, then in 1456, the Church overturned Joan's trial. The officials declared her a martyr who was wrongly executed by corrupt clergy. Joan became the main symbol of the Catholic League during the 16th century, but the actions to move her to a higher place withing Catholicism (ie a saint for St. Pete's sake!) weren't put into motion until much later. Such as three hundred years later. Joan was declared venerable in 1894 by Pope Leo XIII, then beatified by Pope Pius X in 1909, and then finally canonized by Pop Benedict XV in 1920–489 years after her death, and 464 years after the Church overturned her trial. Finally, she was St. Joan, and her feast day is May 30th. Stock up on your crepes! (As a comparison it only took Pope Pius X 40 years to become a saint.)
4. ENOUGH ALREADY!
As if being condemned to die at the stake in a public square with all of Rouen watching weren't enough, the English didn't just burn her the one time...didn't just burn her the two times...they burned her three times. Burned her once as was decreed by the Church, then, after raking back the coals to prove she had died, burned her two more times to fully reduce her body to ashes so no one would try to collect relics. The english were dead set on no one being able to worship anything at the shrines of Joan. They then scattered her ashes in the Seine.
The ashes then flowed downstream toward the Mediterranean where they combined with the waste from near by farm land. The waste and ashes then combined together to form a Joan beast which crawled from the sea to seek revenge on the English in an epic battle for world domina....ok that part didn't happen...sorry....
5. Joan's Chicago Connection!
Nearly 575 years after her execution, a group of amazing artists came together to tell the story of Joan for a new audience. This group was made up of four powerful women, like Joan, who also heard voices–voices telling them they had to find a way to get Joan to the people again. One of those voices was Joan herself, and she spoke to these women at dawn when the light first cracked the horizon bathing the city in a warm orange glow like a comforting cloak. Joan's voice rang pure and strong to the welcoming ears of the women, and they stood strong and promised to bring Joan to life.
They came. They heard. And they brought Joan with them.
These Saints Will Burn. Go to Brown Paper Tickets. Only three shows left. Better hurry. Joan decrees it.