Isabelle or Isabeau. d’Arc. (b. 1385 d. Dec. 8, 1458)
Isabelle Romée, also known as Isabelle de Vouthon and Isabelle d’Arc and Ysabeau Romee, was the mother of Jeanne. She moved to Orléans in 1440 after and received a pension from the city. She petitioned Pope Nicholas V to reopen the court case that had convicted Jeanne of heresy, and then, in her seventies, addressed the assembly delegation from the Holy See in Paris. The appeals court overturned the conviction of Jeanne on 7 July 1456. Isabelle gave her daughter a religious, Catholic upbringing and taught her the craft of spinning wool.
Restoring her daughter’s name.
Isabelle spent the rest of her life restoring her daughter’s name. Mother of the Maid, nee Romée, and called Zabilet in her patois, was born at Vouthon, near Domrémy. We learn from the testimony of Brother Pasquerel at the Rehabilitation proceedings that she returned from the great pilgrimage to Puy en Velay at the time when Jeanne was being conducted to the King, while the expedition to Orléans was being prepared. She was ennobled in the month of December, 1429.
A fter the death of her husband Isabelle left Domrémy, and eventually settled at Orléans, where one finds her established in 1440. We may recall that Jeanne had desired to establish herself in Orléans, for before undertaking the expedition to Reims she had taken a long lese on a house in rue des Petits Souliers, in Saint Maclou parish, near the apse of Saint Catherine’s church.
“Very ill” upon her arrival, Isabelle, who was then about sixty years old, was cared for at the expense of the city of Orléans, and taken care of by the chambermaid of Messire Bertrand, physician. She lived in the house of Henrier Anquetil and the municipality granted her 48 sous parisis a month “to aid her in living and acquiring her necessities in the said city.”
She acted as plaintiff at the time of the Rehabilitation, and lived in the house which her son Pierre occupied in rue des Africains. She was then said to be “decrepit through age,” and she asked to be allowed not to attend all the hearings.
She appeared before the Archbishop of Reims, not as witness, but always as plaintiff. She died on November 28, 1458, after having testified. In 1428 she founded at Domrémy an obit of two gros barrois for anniversary masses, as did Jacques d’Arc.
Isabelle was granted a pension by the city of Orleans, and upon this she lived out her days, which were many. Twenty-four years after her illustrious child’s death she traveled all the way to Paris in the winter-time and was present at the opening of the discussion in the Cathedral of Notre Dame which was the first step in the Rehabilitation.
Paris was crowded with people, from all about France, who came to get sight of the venerable dame, and it was a touching spectacle when she moved through these reverent wet-eyed multitudes on her way to the grand honors awaiting her at the cathedral.
With her were Jean and Pierre, no longer the light-hearted youths who marched with us from Vaucouleurs, but war-torn veterans with hair beginning to show frost.