Recantation of The Maid

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims. 1854. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

“They said to me: … (In the margin, the Registrar has written against this answer: “Responsio mortifera.”) ‘God had sent me word by St. Catherine and St. Margaret of the great pity it is, this treason to which I have consented, to abjure and recant in order to save my life! I have damned myself to save my life!’ Before last Thursday, my Voices did indeed tell me what I should do and what I did on that day. When I was on the scaffold on Thursday, my Voices said to me, while the preacher was speaking: ‘Answer him boldly, this preacher!’ And in truth he is a false preacher; he reproached me with many things I never did. If I said that God had not sent me, I should damn myself, for it is true that God has sent me; my Voices have said to me since Thursday: ‘You have done a great evil in declaring that what you have done was wrong.’ All I said and revoked, I said for fear of the fire.”

“Do you believe that your Voices are Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret?”

“Yes, I believe it, and that they come from God.”

“Tell us the truth on the subject of this crown which is mentioned in your Trial.”

“In everything, I told you the truth about it in my Trial, as well as I know.”

“On the scaffold, at the moment of your abjuration, you did admit before us, your Judges, and before many others, in presence of all the people, that you had untruthfully boasted your Voices to be Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret?”

“I did not intend so to do or say. I did not intend to deny my apparitions that is to say, that they were Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret; what I said was from fear of the fire: I revoked nothing that was not against the truth. I would rather do penance once for all — that is die — than endure any longer the suffering of a prison. I have done nothing against God or the Faith, in spite of all they have made me revoke. What was in the schedule of abjuration I did not understand. I did not intend to revoke anything except according to God’s good pleasure. If the Judges wish, I will resume a woman’s dress; for the rest, I can do no more.”

Curator: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organised the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Personal queries should be directed to me at eccentricbliss dot com.

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