SECOND PROCESS: THE RELAPSE, THE FINAL ADJUDICATION AND THE SENTENCE OF DEATH
Monday, May 28th, the day following Trinity Sunday.
We, the aforesaid Judges, repaired to the place of Jeanne’s prison, to learn the state and disposition of her soul. There were found with us the Lords and Masters Nicolas de Venderès, Guillaume Haiton, Thomas de Courcelles, Brother Ysambard de la Pierre; witnesses, Jacques Cannes, Nicolas Bertin, Julien Floquet and John Grey.
And because Jeanne was dressed in the dress of a man – that is to say, a short mantle, a hood, a doublet and other effects used by men-although, by our orders, she had, several days before, consented to give up these garments, we asked her when and for what reason she had resumed this dress.1
She answered us:
“I have but now resumed the dress of a man and put off the woman’s dress.”
“Why did you take it, and who made you take it?”
“I took it of my own free will, and with no constraint: I prefer a man’s dress to a woman’s dress.”
“You promised and swore not to resume a man’s dress.”
“I never meant to swear that I would not resume it.”
“Why have you resumed it?”
“Because it is more lawful and suitable for me to resume it and to wear man’s dress, being with men, than to have a woman’s dress. I have resumed it because the promise made to me has not been kept; that is to say, that I should go to Mass and should receive my Savior and that I should be taken out of irons.”
“Did you not abjure and promise not to resume this dress?”
“I would rather die than be in irons! but if I am allowed to go to Mass, and am taken out of irons and put into a gracious prison, and [may have a woman for companion2I will be good, and do as the Church wills.”
And as We, the Judges, heard from several persons that she had returned to her old illusions on the subject of her pretended revelations, We put to her this question:
“Since last Thursday [the day of her abjuration] have you heard your Voices at all?”
“Yes, I have heard them.”
“What did they say to you?”
“They said to me:3‘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.”
After hearing this, We retired from her, to act and proceed later according to law and reason.
The next day, Tuesday, May 29th, in the Chapel of the Archiepiscopal Manor of Rouen, the Judges and 40 Assessors present.
We, the Bishop, did, in presence of all the above-named, set forth that, after the Sitting held by Us in this same place, on Saturday, May 19th, the Eve of Whitsunday, We had, by the advice of the Assessors, caused Jeanne to be admonished on the following Wednesday, and had made known to her in detail the divers points on which, according to the decision of the University of Paris, she must be considered to have fallen short and erred; We caused her to be exhorted in the most lively manner to abandon her errors, and to return into the way of truth; up to the last moment she refused to agree to these admonitions and these exhortations, and would say nothing more; the Promoter, on his side, asserted that he had nothing more to bring forward against her. We then pronounced the closing of the Case, and summoned the parties on the following day, Thursday, 24th May, to hear the law pronounced, all whereof is proved by the documents of the Process Verbal transcribed above.
Afterwards, We did recall what had passed on Thursday, May 24th; how Jeanne, after having on that day received a solemn preachment and numerous admonitions, did end by signing with her own hand her revocation and abjuration; the whole whereof is at greater length recounted in the preceding document. We did add that, in the afternoon of the same day, the Deputy Inquisitor, Our Coadjutor, did go to seek her in her prison, and did charitably admonish her to persist in her good purpose and to guard herself well against any relapse. Obeying the orders of the Church, Jeanne did then put off the dress she was wearing, and take that of a woman; all whereof had been likewise set forth at greater length as to time and place.
But since that day, driven by the Devil, behold! she had, in the presence of many persons, declared anew that her Voices and the spirits that appeared to her have returned to her, and have said many things to her; and, casting away her woman’s dress she had again taken male garments. As soon as We, the Judges, did receive information of this lapse, We were eager to return to her and to question her.
And then, in presence of all the above-named, in the said Chapel of the Archiepiscopal Manor of Rouen, We, the Bishop, did order to be read the declarations and affirmations which Jeanne pronounced yesterday before us, and which are reproduced above.
After this reading had been made, We asked advice and counsel thereon from the Assessors. Each one had given his opinion, as follows :
Maître Nicolas de Venderès: Jeanne should be considered a heretic: the sentence declaring her to be so, once given by Us, the Judges, she should be abandoned to the secular authority, which should be prayed to act towards her with gentleness. [“Rogando eam ut cum velit mite agere,” the usual formula for victims sent to the stake.]
The Reverend Father in Christ, the Lord Gilles, Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Trinity at Fecamp: Jeanne is relapsed. Nevertheless, it would be well that the schedule containing her last answers, which had just been read, should be read anew and set forth to her, reminding her once more of the Word of God; afterwards, We, the Judges, should declare her a heretic and abandon her to the secular authority, praying this authority to deal gently with her.
[The remainder of the Assessors agreed in general with this opinion of the Abbot of Fecamp; some added that she should be again charitably admonished, in regard to the salvation of her soul, and should be told that she had nothing further to expect as to her earthly life.]
After having gathered this advice, We, the Judges, did thank the Assessors, and gave orders that Jeanne should be afterwards proceeded against, as relapsed, according to law and reason.
Mandate citing Jeanne to appear on Wednesday, May 30th.
“Pierre, by the Divine Mercy Bishop of Beauvais, and Jean Lemaitre, Deputy of Maitre Jean Graverend, renowned Doctor, appointed by the Holy See Inquisitor of the Evil of Heresy in the Kingdom of France; to all public Priests, to all Cures of this town and of any other place wherever it be in the Diocese of Rouen, to each of them in particular, according as it shall be required: Greeting in Our Savior. For the causes and reasons to be elsewhere deduced at greater length, a certain woman of the name of Jeanne, commonly called the Maid, having fallen into errors against the Orthodox Faith – errors which she had publicly abjured before the Church, and to which she had returned – as is established and proved by her avowals and assertions: We command to all of you and to each in particular, by this requisition, without the one waiting for the other, or excusing himself by another, that you cite the said Jeanne to appear before Us in person tomorrow, at the hour of 8 o’clock in the morning, at Rouen, in the place called the Old Market, in order that she may be declared by us relapsed, excommunicate, and heretic, with the intimation that it shall be done to her as is customary in such cases.
“Given in the Chapel of the Archiepiscopal Manor of Rouen, Tuesday, May 29th, the year of Our Lord, 1431.”
On the following day, Wednesday, 30th of May, Jeanne, by virtue of the preceding mandate from Us, was cited for the same day, in order to hear the law pronounced, as is proved at greater length by the tenor of the following relation, done for us by the Executor of our mandates:
“To the reverend Father and Lord in Christ, the Lord Pierre, by the Divine Mercy Bishop of Beauvais, and to the venerable and religious person Brother Jean Lemaitre, Deputy of Maitre Jean Graverend, renowned Doctor, by order of the Holy Apostolic See Inquisitor of the Faith and of the Evil of Heresy in the Kingdom of France: your humble Jean Massieu, Priest, Dean of the Christendom of Rouen4sends earnest Greeting, with all protestations of obedience and respect. This is to inform your Reverend Paternities, that I, Massieu, in virtue of your mandate sent to me, to which these presents will be annexed, have cited, speaking to her in person, this woman, commonly called the Maid, to appear before you this day, Wednesday, May 30th, at the hour of eight in the morning, at Rouen, in the place of the Old Market, according to the form and tenor of your said mandate, and to that which I have been ordered to do. All the which, thus done by me, I signify to your Reverend Paternities by these presents, signed by my seal.
“Given in the year of Our Lord 1431 on the aforesaid Wednesday, at 7 o’clock in the morning.
SENTENCE OF DEATH
Final Sentence given before the People.
Wednesday, May 30th, towards 9 o’clock in the morning,
We, the Judges, repaired to the place of the Old Market, in Rouen, near the Church of Saint Sauveur.
We were assisted by the reverend Fathers in Christ the Lords Bishops of Therouanne and Noyon; and by a number of other Lords, Masters, and ecclesiastical personages.
Before Us was brought the said Jeanne, in presence of the people, assembled in this place in an immense multitude.
She was placed upon a scaffold or platform.
For her wholesome admonition and for the edification of the whole multitude, a solemn address was made by the renowned Doctor, Nicolas Midi, who took for his text those words of the Apostle in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 12., ” If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.”
This address ended, We, the Bishop, did once more admonish Jeanne to look to her salvation, to reflect on her misdeeds, to repent of them, to have a true contrition for them. We exhorted her to believe hereon the opinion of the Clergy, of the notable persons who have taught and instructed her on all that treats of her salvation. We did particularly exhort her to believe the good advice of the two venerable Dominicans5who were at that moment beside her, and whom we had sent to her to converse with her up to the last moment and to furnish her in all surety with wholesome admonitions and counsels profitable to her salvation.
Afterwards, We, the Bishop and Vicar aforesaid, having regard to all that has gone before, in which it is shown that this woman had never truly abandoned her errors, her obstinate temerity, nor her unheard-of crimes; that she had even shown the malice of her diabolical obstinacy in this deceitful semblance of contrition, penitence, and amendment; malice rendered still more damnable by perjury of the Holy Name of God and blasphemy of His ineffable Majesty; considering her on all these grounds obstinate, incorrigible, heretic, relapsed into heresy, and altogether unworthy of the grace and of the Communion which, by our former sentence, We did mercifully accord to her; all of which being seen and considered, after mature deliberation and counsel of a great number of Doctors, We have at last proceeded to the Final Sentence in these terms:
In the Name of the Lord, Amen.
At all times when the poisoned virus of heresy attaches itself with persistence to a member of the Church and transforms him into a member of Satan, extreme care should be taken to watch that the horrible contagion of this pernicious leprosy do not gain other parts of the mystic Body of Christ. The decisions of the holy Fathers have willed that hardened heretics should be separated from the midst of the Just, so that to the great peril of others this homicidal viper should not be warmed in the bosom of pious Mother Church. It is for this that We, Pierre, by the Divine Mercy, Bishop of Beauvais, and We, Brother Jean Lemaitre, Deputy of the renowned Doctor, Jean Graverend, Inquisitor of the Evil of Heresy, specially delegated by him for this Process, both Judges competent in this Trial, already, by a just judgment, have declared this woman fallen into divers errors and divers crimes of schism, idolatry, invocation of demons and many others. But because the Church closes not her bosom to the child who returns to her, we did think that, with a pure spirit and a faith unfeigned, you has put far from thee thy errors and thy crimes, considering that on a certain day you did renounce them and did publicly swear, vow, and promise never to return to thy errors and heresies, to resist all temptations, and to remain faithfully attached to the unity of the Catholic Church and the communion of the Roman Pontiff, as is proved at greater length in a writing signed by your own hand. But after this abjuration of your errors, the Author of Schism and Heresy had arisen in your heart, which he had once more seduced, and it had become manifest by thy spontaneous confessions and assertions – O, shame! -that, as the dog returns again to his vomit, so have you returned to your errors and crimes; and it had been proved to us in a most certain manner that you have renounced thy guilty inventions and thy errors only in a lying manner, not in a sincere and faithful spirit. For these causes, declaring thee fallen again into your old errors, and under the sentence of excommunication which you have formerly incurred, WE DECREE THAT YOU ART A RELAPSED HERETIC, by our present sentence which, seated in tribunal, we utter and pronounce in this writing; we denounce thee as a rotten member, and that you may not vitiate others, as cast out from the unity of the Church, separate from her Body, abandoned to the secular power as, indeed, by these presents, we do cast thee off, separate and abandon thee; – praying this same secular power, so far as concerns death and the mutilation of the limbs, to moderate its judgment towards thee, and, if true signs of penitence should appear in thee, [to permit] that the Sacrament of Penance be administered to thee.
Here follows the Sentence of Excommunication
[the introductory part being word for word the same as the previous sentence, read on May 24th, up to the words, “We, the Judges, say and decree”; after which follows:]
. . . that you have been on the subject of thy pretended divine revelations and apparitions lying, seducing, pernicious, presumptuous, lightly believing, rash, superstitious, a divineress and blasphemer towards God and the Saints, a despiser of God Himself in His Sacraments; a prevaricator of the Divine Law, of sacred doctrine and of ecclesiastical sanctions; seditious, cruel, apostate, schismatic, erring on many points of our Faith, and by all these means rashly guilty towards God and Holy Church. And also, because that often, very often, not only by Us on Our part but by Doctors and Masters learned and expert, full of zeal for the salvation of thy soul, you have been duly and sufficiently warned to amend, to correct thyself and to submit to the disposal, decision, and correction of Holy Mother Church, which you have not willed, and have always obstinately refused to do, having even expressly and many times refused to submit thyself to our Lord the Pope and to the General Council; for these causes, as hardened and obstinate in thy crimes, excesses and errors, WE DECLARE THEE OF RIGHT EXCOMMUNICATE AND HERETIC; and after your errors have been destroyed in a public preaching, We declare that you must be abandoned and that We do abandon thee to the secular authority, as a member of Satan, separate from the Church, infected with the leprosy of heresy, in order that you may not corrupt also the other members of Christ; praying this same power, that, as concerns death and the mutilation of the limbs, it may be pleased to moderate its judgment; and if true signs of penitence should appear in thee, that the Sacrament of Penance may be administered to thee.
Attestations by the Registrars.
“I, Boisguillaume, Priest, Registrar above qualified, affirm that I have duly collated the foregoing document with the original Minute of the Process; for which reason I have marked this present copy with my sign manual, the which will be done after me by the two other Registrars, I signing in this place with my own hand.
“And I, Guillaume Manchon, Priest, of the Diocese of Rouen, Apostolic and Imperial Notary, I affirm that I assisted in the collation made of the aforesaid Process, with the Registrars signed above and below; I affirm that this collation of the present copy with the original Minute of the Process had been duly made. For which, in the same way as the two other Registrars, I have subscribed the present copy with my own hand, affixing thereto my sign manual, to this required.
(Signed) “G. MANCHON.”
“And I, Nicholas Taquel, Priest of the Diocese of Rouen, sworn Imperial Public Notary and of the Archiepiscopal Court of Rouen, called as Registrar to a part of the foregoing Process, I affirm that I have seen and heard the present copy collated with the original register of the said Process; I affirm that this collation had been duly made. For which, with the two other Registrars preceding, I have subscribed with my own hand the present Process, affixing thereto, here, my sign-manual, to this required.
(Signed) “N. TAQUEL.”
[Here follow the seals of the two Judges, marked in red wax on the original copies of the Process, prepared to the number of five.]
- (Several versions of the reasons which caused Jeanne to resume the forbidden dress were given in the evidence taken at the Rehabilitation, all purporting to have come from her. According to Massieu, her woman's dress was taken away while she was asleep, and the English soldiers refused to give it back to her, offering in its stead the man's dress she had previously worn, 'which they emptied from a sack.' She refused to wear it, reminding them that it was forbidden her; but at last, at midday, finding them deaf to her remonstrance, she was obliged to rise and attire herself in the prohibited garments. The Dominican Brothers declared that she had been assaulted by an English milord, as she told them, and that she therefore considered it necessary to return to the protection of her old dress; but considering the type of soldier in whose care she was placed, there seems no need to seek for any further explanation than her own, as given in the text, and as later corroborated by Manchon and De Courcelles. In the Rehabilitation Inquire, both Jean de Metz and de Poulengey claim to have suggested the male attire. At Poitiers, Jeanne herself stated that she had adopted it asmost suitable to her work and the company she must share.)
- (This request is found only in the Minute.)
- (In the margin, the Registrar has written against this answer : "Responsio mortifera.")
- (An appointment equivalent to a Rural Dean.)
- (Brothers Ysambard de la Pierre and Martin Ladvenu.)