Joan of Valois, Saint and Queen

Joan Of Valois, Saint and queen was the daughter of Louis XI of France and Charlotte of Savoy, and was born in 1456. She was plain in face and somewhat deformed, and her father, who wished a son, treated her with contempt. This dislike increased, until on one occasion the king rushed into the room to kill her, and her life was only saved by the countess of Linieres. In her twelfth year Joan was married against her will to duke Louis of Orleans, who also treated her with coldness and contempt. Louis XI died in August 1483, and his son succeeded him as Charles VIII, under the regency of his elder sister Anne. The husband of Joan, thinking the regency ought to have been intrusted to him, endeavored to stir up an insurrection, was unsuccessful, and fled to Francis II of Brittany the bitter foe of France. War broke out, and Joan stood as an angel of peace and reconciliation between the contending parties. Twice she obtained pardon for her captured husband, and he as often returned to his perfidy. After the death of Charles VIII, April 7, 1498, the duke of Orleans ascended the throne a Louis XII. He at once obtained a divorce from pope Alexander VI, by taking an oath that his marriage with Joan was not complete. He gave her the duchy of Berry and Pontoise. She resided at Bourges, where she spent time and revenues in the exercise of charity. In 1500 she founded the order of the Annunciation for women. Joan took the habit herself in 1504, but died February 4, 1505, and was buried at Bourges. Her body was torn from its resting-place in 1562, and burned by Calvinists. She is commemorated in the French martyrology on February 4. Her canonization began under Clement XII, and was completed by Pius VI, in 1775, but she was venerated at Bourges from the time of her death. See Baring-Gould, Lives of the Saints, 2:109.

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