First, if you’re a Blissdom person, and haven’t read why I’m attending, please read this.
If you missed the previous parts of the letter, and would like to peek, here they are:
… as I have said, I’m not unlike so many of you. I did however have a few unusual things to consider.
No one would allow me to lead the armies of France unless I was, as they say used to say, untouched.
There was a long standing legend in my country – a prophecy dating back to Merlin of Camelot. It foretold of a virgin who would save France. People who didn’t know me had suspicions.
I had already once been promised in marriage. I had been in constant contact with male soldiers. I actually had to be confirmed as a virgin twice – by a less than private physical examination – once by my own country and once by the English.
If I had taken the other road before my God appointed one had opened up, I would have been disqualified by my own people. If later I had forsaken my vow I would have been convicted as a witch by the English. The English believed that only a non-virgin could be a witch. My enemies would find other reasons to be rid of me – but not that one.
But I can hear some protest, “Times were different.” “It was easier to say no then.” “There wasn’t any pressure.” Here’s something you need to know. In my day there was no protection from any male who wished to advance upon me – other than – me.
I traveled among the rich of France. The times I lived in allowed for any rich man to force himself on any peasant woman he wanted without penalty – and they did.
More than once it was attempted with me.
More than once I had to physically fend them off.
For the longest time the only thing stopping the many men who wanted what I would not give, was the edge of a sharp blade.
It was not easier then…
It was easier though with my army. They ferociously guarded both my reputation and my life. These men never pushed against my boundaries even once. I never had the chance to ask them about it. But later, under oath, they told everyone else.
Gobert, one of my fine soldiers said this during my second trial; “She was always with the soldiers: I heard many of those closest to her say that they never had any desire for her; that is to say, they sometimes felt it but never dared to let themselves act on it. Often, when they were speaking among themselves of the sin of the flesh and were saying things that might arouse desire, if they saw her or came near her, they were not able to continue such speech…
And then there were my two earliest men at arms:
Bertrand testified, “At night, Jeanne slept beside John de Metz and myself, fully dressed and armed…I should never have dared to advance upon her, because of the great goodness which I saw in her.”
And my first comrade, Jean de Metz said, “She inspired me with such respect that for nothing in the world would I have dared to violate her…”
The ones with no respect were the ones to worry about.
But my comrades,
the ones who really cared,
the ones who really counted,
they never once tried to change me,
or manipulate me, or force me, or persuade me.
It seems that real love,
makes all the difference.
Please come back tomorrow for the conclusion of this letter.
In God’s love.