Une Sacrée Bonne Femme (A Bloody Good Woman)

What a beautiful woman. She moved with grace, she was entirely feminine, and yet, she possessed incredible inner strength. She’s a survivor. ~ Jan Moran, Scent of Triumph 

For me France is a country (generally speaking) more respectful of women than Australia. Recently I came across the term ‘Une Sacrée  Bonne Femme’ which is used to describe  a woman who is strong, authentic frequently beautiful both inside and out who lives life on her terms A woman not to be overlooked or ignored and certainly not a submissive little mouse! .  I thought of  an equivalent Australian term and came up with ‘A  bloody good woman’ . 

Recently I visited Orléans  a city  dominated by a heroine of French history, Jeanne D’Arc. I can remember my first encounter with Joan as a young Catholic girl. There, on her pedestal amongst all the pious and humble female saints, stood Joan. Dressed in silver armour carrying the flag of France and sporting her sword, stood this sacree bonne femme. Passionate, visionary, self-confident and psychic, she was my kind of hero-who ended up being betrayed and  burnt at the stake before becoming an official saint hundreds of years later. 

Currently, her esteem in the hearts of the French people has been tarnished by het adoption  as the hero of the National Socialists, I mean National Front. Each year on her feast day members of  this racist  and insular party descend on the city to proclaim their tenuous link with the saint.  Now her history is being reassessed; was she really a simple country girl or the half sister of the king with the authority of a noble to rally troops and raise an army? 

The writer Georges Sand fulfills the criteria for being une  sacrée bonne femme. Choosing a male name-of necessity in those times for a female writer- she loved many people and had a passionate affair with the musician Frédéric  Chopin. Refusing to compromise her happiness for the sake of propriety which at the 6ime was so important to the social survival of women, she left her husband and took her children to live with her and Chopin. 

The artist’s vocation is to send light into the human heart

Georges Sand

But as I learn more about the people of Vierzon where I am currently staying, I come across stories of immense courage, sacrifice and bravery during the time of the Nazi occupation. So many stories of ordinary women who stepped out of their comfort zone and chose to fight the good fight against their tyrannical oppressors. In a local histotical journal I found a picture of recipients of medals including LA Croix de Guerre, in a ceremony held on the 8th of May 1945. At least half the group were women- and  bloody good women they were Too! 

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