A Martyred Saint
Joan of Arc adamantly refused to confess to any wrongs, and her accusers were unable to prove either heresy or witchcraft. In frustration, they turned their attention to the way in which she had dressed in male attire on the field of battle. Her captors claimed that such cross dressing violated biblical injunctions, and convicted her on those grounds. On May 30th, 1431, she was taken on a cart to Rouen, where the nineteen-year-old Maid of Orleans was burned at the stake.
Two decades after her death, an inquisitorial court was ordered by a new pope, to reexamine Joan of Arc’s trial. The court debunked all the charges against her, cleared her posthumously, and declared her a martyr. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte made her a national symbol of France. She was beatified in 1909, then canonized as a Saint by the Catholic Church in 1920. Today, Saint Joan of Arc is one of the patron saints of France, and the most famous female warrior of all time.