On the 9th
in 1431, at Rouen, France, the seat of the English government of occupation, the trial of Joan of Arc
on charges of heresy began. When the judges asked of Joan if she knew that she was in God’s grace, Joan brilliantly responded by saying “If I am not, may God put me there; if I am, may God keep me there
.” The question was a trick. Had Joan answered ‘yes’ she would be guilty of heresy because no one can be certain of being in God’s grace. However, had she answered ‘no’ she would have essentially pled guilty to all the charges. None of Joan’s light-hearted bantering, however, would prevent her from being found guilty and sentenced to die by burning at the stake. This sentence would ultimately be carried out on May 30, 1431
. Joan’s fate wasn't as grim as it seems at first glance. In 1452
, she was granted a re-trial and on July 7, 1456
, she was acquitted
of all charges. Her attorneys should have gotten their fee up front, because Joan never paid their bill.