This article accompanies the fable
Voices and Saints
In early 2006 it was reported that Joan of Arc’s rib and some other relics had survived her burning at the stake. A battery of tests were conducted in Paris to find out if the remains were indeed hers, since it seemed unlikely anything could have survived such a fire and there long had been a legend that the ashes were tossed in the Seine. There was no way they could be proved to be Joan’s relics definitively since there was no authentic family DNA to compare them against, but scientists at least could confirm if they were not hers – for example they might turn out to be a man’s. In April 2007 the results were announced: the rib belonged to an Egyptian mummy from between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC!
The most favored explanation for all this chicanery was that holy relics were required in the 19th century before Joan could be beatified and canonized.
What is more interesting perhaps is that the relics were in the possession of the Catholic Church all these centuries. Until recently they were housed at Chinon in a museum owned by the Archdiocese of Tours. Now that they have been determined to be fake, what happens to the mummy's remains?