Saint Joan of Valois, O.Ann.M.
|Nun and religious foundress|
|Born||23 April 1464|
Nogent-le-Roi, County of Dreux
|Died||4 February 1505 40) (aged|
Bourges, Duchy of Berry
|Venerated in|| Roman Catholic Church |
(Sisters of the Annunciation of Mary)
|Beatified||18 June 1742, Rome, Papal States, by Pope Benedict XIV|
|Canonized||28 May 1950, Vatican City, by Pope Pius XII|
|Attributes||crowned Annonciade abbess, usually with cross and rosary, or holding the hand of the Christ Child, who is holding a basket; Annonciade abbess with basket of bread and cup of wine; with Father Gabriel Mary; having a ring placed on her finger by the Christ Child|
Joan of France (French: Jeanne de France, Jeanne de Valois; 23 April 1464 – 4 February 1505), was briefly Queen of France as wife of King Louis XII, in between the death of her brother, King Charles VIII, and the annulment of her marriage. After that, she retired to her domain, where she soon founded the monastic Order of the Sisters of the Annunciation of Mary, where she served as abbess. From this Order later sprang the religious congregation of the Apostolic Sisters of the Annunciation, founded in 1787 to teach the children of the poor. She was canonized on 28 May 1950 and is known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Joan of Valois, O.Ann.M..
Joan was born on 23 April 1464 in the castle of Pierre II de Brézé, a trusted supporter of her grandfather, King Charles VII of France, at Nogent-le-Roi in the County of Dreux. She was the second daughter of King Louis XI of France and of his second wife Charlotte of Savoy; her surviving siblings were King Charles VIII of France and Anne of France. Shortly after her birth, the king signed an agreement to marry her to his second cousin Louis, the Duke of Orléans, later King Louis XII of France, who was aged two at the time.Joan was born sickly and deformed. In Women Saints – Lives of Faith and Courage, Kathleen Jones says that Joan had a hump on her back and walked with a limp, suggesting that she had curvature of the spine.
Often away on royal duties, King Louis entrusted his daughters, Joan and Anne, to the Baron François de Linières and his wife, Anne de Culan. The couple, who were childless, lavished affection on Joan. Taking charge of her education, they had her taught both poetry and mathematics, painting, embroidery and how to play the lute.
The couple were also faithful Catholics and instilled in the members of their household a solid grounding in the faith. At a young age, her father asked her to name the confessor she wanted. She gave him the only name she knew, that of Friar Jean de La Fontaine, Guardian of the Franciscan friary in Amboise. The king approved her choice and appointed the friar to this post. Despite the distance between them, he would travel regularly to hear the princess's confession. Joan began to develop a strong pleasure in prayer, and would pass long periods in the castle chapel. The baron supported her in this and had a path paved between the castle and the chapel built for easier walking in poor weather. Under the friar's guidance she was admitted into the Third Order of St. Francis.
In 1471 King Louis XI ordered the catechism of reciting the Hail Mary for peace to be practised throughout the kingdom. Joan had a strong attachment to this particular prayer. She would later write that it was in that same year that she had received a prophecy from the Virgin Mary that some day she would found a religious community in honor of Our Lady.
In 1473 King Louis had signed marriage contracts for his daughters. On 8 September 1476, at the age of 12, Joan was married to the young Louis, Duke of Orléans in Montrichard. Louis of Orléans was compelled to be married to his handicapped and supposedly sterile cousin Joan. By doing so, Louis XI hoped to extinguish the Orléans cadet branch of the House of Valois.Louis was displeased at the forced marriage, and his treatment of his new wife reflected this.
King Louis died in 1483 and was succeeded by his son Charles, but as he was still a child, his sister, Anne de Beaujeu, was made Regent of the kingdom. By 1484, the duke had begun a series of military campaigns against the kingdom. This lasted until 1488, when he was taken captive by the royal forces. During this period, he fathered an illegitimate son, Michel de Bussy, who was later appointed the Bishop of Bourges. Joan administered his domain during his imprisonment, especially the Italian cities of Milan and Asti. Joan, imagining virtues in her husband that did not exist, exerted herself to mitigate his sufferings and to get him freed.Duke Louis was released in 1491. Within a few years, he accompanied King Charles on his military campaign in Italy.
When Louis ascended to the throne in April 1498 after the accidental death of Joan's brother, King Charles VIII, he appealed to the pope to have the marriage annulled in order to marry the late king's widow, Anne of Brittany, in the hope of annexing the Duchy of Brittany to the French Crown.
In what has been described as "one of the seamiest lawsuits of the age",Louis did not, as might be expected, argue the marriage to be void due to consanguinity (the general excuse for the dissolution of a marriage at that time). Louis argued that he had been below the legal age of consent (fourteen) to marry and that the marriage had never been consummated due to her physical deformity, and provided a rich variety of detail as to how she was malformed. Joan, unsurprisingly, fought this uncertain charge fiercely, producing witnesses to Louis boasting of having "mounted my wife three or four times during the night." Louis also claimed that his sexual performance had been inhibited by witchcraft; Joan responded by asking how, in that case, he was able to know what it was like to try to make love to her. Joan would likely have won, for Louis's case was exceedingly weak, however Pope Alexander VI was committed for political reasons to grant the annulment.
The commission of investigation appointed by the pope established that the marriage with Joan was invalid for lack of consent and that it never had been consummated.Accordingly, he ruled against the Queen. The annulment was declared on 15 December 1498. Joan stepped aside, saying that she would pray for her former husband. She was made Duchess of Berry and retired to Bourges, capital of the duchy.
Once settled in her new domain, Joan confided to her spiritual director, the Blessed Gabriel Mary, O.F.M.,her call to monastic life. He supported her in this venture, and she began to make plans for the Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a new enclosed religious order in honour of the Annunciation (the announcement to Mary by an angel that she would become the mother of Jesus, although she was a virgin). It was established as an independent branch of the Poor Clares. By May 1500 she had received 11 postulants, the nucleus of the new Order. The Rule of Life she had written for the Order was approved on 12 February 1502 by Pope Alexander. Construction of the first monastery was begun the following year. On Pentecost Sunday 1504, Joan and Friar Gabriel Mary made private commitments to follow the Rule, and thereby established themselves as co-founders of the Order. On 21 November of that same year, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, Joan and the other women publicly and legally committed themselves to the Order.
Joan died on 4 February 1505 and was buried in the chapel of the Annonciade monastery. Her grave, however, was desecrated and her body, found to be incorrupt at that time, was burned by the Huguenots during their sack of Bourges on 27 May 1562.Soon after her death, miracles and healings attributed to her were said to have occurred. The cause for her canonization was begun in 1631 and Pope Benedict XIV beatified her on 21 April 1742. She was canonized on 28 May 1950 by Pope Pius XII.
The nuns of the Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary still maintain their way of life in monasteries in France, Belgium, Costa Rica and Poland. The Religious Sisters serve in Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France and Guatemala.
|Ancestors of Joan of France, Duchess of Berry|
The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. They succeeded the House of Capet to the French throne, and were the royal house of France from 1328 to 1589. Junior members of the family founded cadet branches in Orléans, Anjou, Burgundy, and Alençon.
Charles VII, called the Victorious or the Well-Served, was King of France from 1422 to his death in 1461.
Charles VIII, called the Affable, was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.
Louis XII was King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504. The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII, who died without a closer heir in 1498.
Charles IV, called the Fair in France and the Bald in Navarre, was last king of the direct line of the House of Capet, King of France and King of Navarre from 1322 to 1328. Charles was the third son of Philip IV; like his father, he was known as "the fair" or "the handsome".
Joan of Arc (1412–1431) was formally canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church on 16 May 1920 by Pope Benedict XV in his bull Divina disponente, which concluded the canonization process that the Sacred Congregation of Rites instigated after a petition of 1869 of the French Catholic hierarchy. Although pro-English clergy had Joan burnt at the stake for heresy in 1431, she was rehabilitated in 1456 after a posthumous retrial. Subsequently, she became a folk saint among French Catholics and soldiers inspired by her story of being commanded by God to fight for France against England. Many French regimes encouraged her cult, and the Third Republic was sympathetic to the canonization petition prior to the 1905 separation of church and state.
Anne of Brittany was Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death, and queen consort of France from 1491 to 1498 and from 1499 to her death. She is the only woman to have been queen consort of France twice. During the Italian Wars, Anne also became queen consort of Naples, from 1501 to 1504, and duchess consort of Milan, in 1499–1500 and from 1500 to 1512.
Louis I of Orléans was Duke of Orléans from 1392 to his death. He was also, Duke of Touraine (1386–1392), Count of Valois (1386?–1406) Blois (1397–1407), Angoulême (1404–1407), Périgord (1400–1407) and Soissons (1404–07).
Duke of Berry or Duchess of Berry was a title in the Peerage of France that was created several times for junior members of the French royal family. It was frequently granted to women, either members of the royal family or married into it. The last official holder was Charles Ferdinand of Artois, son of Charles X. The Berry region is now the departments of Cher, Indre and Vienne.
Yolande of Aragon was a throne claimant and titular queen regnant of Aragon, titular queen consort of Naples, Duchess of Anjou, Countess of Provence, and regent of Provence during the minority of her son. She was a daughter of John I of Aragon and his wife Yolande of Bar . Yolande played a crucial role in the struggles between France and England, influencing events such as the financing of Joan of Arc's army in 1429 that helped tip the balance in favour of the French. She was also known as Yolanda de Aragón and Violant d'Aragó. Tradition holds that she commissioned the famous Rohan Hours.
The House of Capet or the Direct Capetians, also called the House of France, or simply the Capets, ruled the Kingdom of France from 987 to 1328. It was the most senior line of the Capetian dynasty – itself a derivative dynasty from the Robertians. Historians in the 19th century came to apply the name "Capetian" to both the ruling house of France and to the wider-spread male-line descendants of Hugh Capet. Contemporaries did not use the name "Capetian". The Capets were sometimes called "the third race of kings". The name "Capet" derives from the nickname given to Hugh, the first Capetian King, who became known as Hugh Capet.
Anne of France was a French princess and regent, the eldest daughter of Louis XI by Charlotte of Savoy. Anne was the sister of Charles VIII, for whom she acted as regent during his minority from 1483 until 1491. During the regency she was one of the most powerful women of late fifteenth-century Europe, and was referred to as "Madame la Grande". Between 1503 and 1521, she also acted as de facto regent of the Duchy of Bourbon during the reign of her daughter Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon.
Charlotte of Savoy was queen of France as the second spouse of Louis XI. She served as regent during the king's absence in 1465, and was a member of the royal regency council during her son's minority in 1483.
Marie of Luxembourg, was by birth member of the House of Luxembourg and by marriage Queen of France and Navarre.
Marguerite of Lorraine, Duchess of Orléans, was the wife of Gaston, younger brother of Louis XIII of France. As Gaston had married her in secret in defiance of the King; Louis had their marriage nullified when it became known. On his deathbed, Louis permitted them to marry. After their remarriage, Marguerite and Gaston had five children. She was the stepmother of La Grande Mademoiselle.
The crown lands, crown estate, royal domain or domaine royal of France were the lands, fiefs and rights directly possessed by the kings of France. While the term eventually came to refer to a territorial unit, the royal domain originally referred to the network of "castles, villages and estates, forests, towns, religious houses and bishoprics, and the rights of justice, tolls and taxes" effectively held by the king or under his domination. In terms of territory, before the reign of Henry IV, the domaine royal did not encompass the entirety of the territory of the kingdom of France and for much of the Middle Ages significant portions of the kingdom were the direct possessions of other feudal lords.
Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici were married on October 28, 1533, and their marriage produced ten children. Henry and Catherine became the ancestors of monarchs of several countries.
The Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Sisters of the Annunciation or Annonciades, is an enclosed religious order of contemplative nuns founded in honor of the Annunciation in 1501 at Bourges by Joan de Valois, also known as Joan of France, daughter of King Louis XI of France, and wife of Louis, the Duke of Orléans, later King Louis XII of France.
Anne of Armagnac, Dame d'Albret, Countess of Dreux was a French noblewoman and a member of the powerful Gascon Armagnac family which played a prominent role in French politics during the Hundred Years War and were the principal adversaries of the Burgundians throughout the Armagnac-Burgundian Civil War. Anne was the wife of Charles II d'Albret. One of her illustrious descendants was Queen Jeanne III of Navarre, mother of King Henry IV, the first Bourbon king of France.
Jeanne d'Albret, also known as Jeanne III, was the queen regnant of Navarre from 1555 to 1572. She married Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, becoming the Duchess of Vendôme and was the mother of Henri de Bourbon, who became King Henry III of Navarre and IV of France, the first Bourbon king of France.
Joan of France, Duchess of Berry
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 23 April 1464 Died: 4 February 1505
Anne of Brittany
| Queen consort of France |
7 April 1498 – 15 December 1498
Title next held byAnne of Brittany
Title last held byFrancis of Valois
| Duchess of Berry |
Title next held byMarguerite de Navarre