Each Sunday for the next two months, The American Spinster will be counting down our list of Top Ten Real-Life Spinsters. These brief biographies will examine the lives of extraordinary single, childfree women who left their mark on the world and made a name for themselves in history.

10. Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc is famous for leading the French army against the English during the Hundred Years War, turning the tide and helping France gain the upper hand. Know also as the Maid of Orleans, the young, uneducated peasant girl claimed she experienced visions from Heaven instructing her to lead the army to victory.

Despite being untrained in any type of war strategy and having no known relatives of a higher station, she was able to convince the members of the court that she and her divine instructions were meant to lead the army. For a 17 year old girl, particularly one of no noteworthy background, to become a military leader in 15th century France was a truly unprecedented accomplishment.


Joan was eventually captured, traded to the English, and faced accusation by the church. Impressively, Joan was reported to have bested her accusers in argument during her trial, causing the remainder to be held behind closed doors. Despite her bravery and skill, Joan was ultimately burned alive as a heretic at the age of 19. She was has long been revered as a martyr and heroine of France, and in 1920 she was canonized as a saint.

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