Tom Quiner’s Man-Up West Presentation

Pulse board president, Tom Quiner, spoke at Man-Up on Mark Twain’s book on Joan of Arc.


Who is the greatest college women’s basketball player? Duh! Caitlin Clark.

Who is the most noble person who ever lived?

If you asked Mark Twain that question, his response would’ve been instant: Joan of Arc. Said the great writer, Joan of Arc is “the most noble life that was ever born into this world save only One.”

Joan of Arc really touched the heart of a cynical man who considered his 1886 novel, “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc,” to be his masterpiece, despite his hostility towards Catholicism. 

He conceded that he had been “educated to enmity toward everything that is Catholic.” And yet he spent a dozen years researching and writing a most reverent and riveting narrative on the life of a 15th century peasant girl whose greatness was defined by her Catholic faith.

Mark Twain’s novel is more relevant than ever, because the essence of Joan’s saintliness is needed more than ever. And what is this essence? Faith. Trust. Courage.

C.S. Lewis tells us in the Screwtape Letters that “Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.”

Joan of Arc lived this reality:

“Go forward bravely. Fear nothing. Trust in God; all will be well.”

She said:

“I am not afraid; I was born to do this.”

Joan of Arc’s life was a miracle. Born in lowly circumstances, she was uneducated but strong in her faith. At the age of 13, she began to hear voices from God. The voices included angels and saints who presented her with a directive: free France from English occupation.

The voices, which included those of the angels Michael and Gabriel, and Saints Margaret and Catherine of Alexandria, provided counsel to help Joan govern herself. But by the time she reached the age of seventeen, her voices’ directive expanded to liberating France from the English. And she did it, at a steep price. 

Pulse Life Advocates believe that Joan’s example of utter faith in God and the courage to trust his promptings are immediately relevant to our age. We see the need in the pro-life movement. Imagine: if a single Catholic teenage girl relying on nothing other than faith in God could liberate an entire country, just think what an entire Catholic community could do today.

Miraculously, this peasant girl from Domremy, France, some 42 miles from where St. Bernard composed his Memoraré prayer, got an audience with the king-in-waiting, known as the dauphin.

The future King Charles and his court were amused at the boldness of the unschooled peasant girl who managed to wrangle an audience at court. She was there to tell him that God told her to lead the French army to drive the English out of France and see the dauphin crowned king.

To mess with her, they put one of the dauphin’s pals on the throne to fool her into thinking he was Charles. Keep in mind, there were no photographs or television in those days, so a peasant girl from Domremy would have no idea what the Charles really looked like.

So Joan entered the court amidst a snickering throng of royal hangers-on. Remember, she was called to venerate Charles. So she walks up to who is being presented to her as Charles, and she stops.

She looks around the hall until she spots the real Charles, to whom she approaches and venerated to the astonishment of everyone.

Charles gave her a private audience, and she revealed a secret known only to Charles that confirmed the legitimacy of her visions.

The rest is history. She eventually led the French army against the English, most notably freeing Orleans from a protracted English occupation. She scored victory after victory for awhile, before eventually being captured and put on trial. King Charles VII, now crowned thanks to Joan, refused to pay a ransom which could have freed her.

The English and French Burgundians charged Joan with heresy and for being a witch. Her trial lasted four and a half months. She was convicted and burned at the stake.

A complete transcript exists of the trial revealing Joan’s grit and preternatural wisdom which so often outfoxed her interrogators. Here is an example. When asked,

“Joan, are you in a state of grace?”

She responded,

“If I be not in a state of grace, I pray God place me in it; if I be in it, I pray God keep me so.”

Twenty-five years after her death, the Pope absolved Joan of all charges in a posthumous retrial. She was formally canonized as a Catholic Saint in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

Joan’s wisdom

Here is a sampling of her wisdom from her trial:

        • All battles are first won or lost, in the mind.

  • Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, nevertheless they give up their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it, and then it’s gone. But to surrender what you are, and live without belief – that’s more terrible than dying – more terrible than dying young.
  • It is better to be alone with God. His friendship will not fail me, nor His counsel, nor His love. In His strength, I will dare and dare and dare until I die.

Here’s what she said about her visions:

  • I saw them with my bodily eyes as clearly as I see you. And when they departed, I used to weep and wish they would take me with them.
  • I die for speaking the language of the angels.

       • The angels are as perfect in form as they are in spirit.

Here are quotes revealing the depth of her faith:

  • I place trust in God, my creator, in all things; I love Him with all my heart.
  • I fear nothing for God is with me!
  • About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they’re just one thing, and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.
  • [Before being burned at the stake for her faith:] Hold the cross high so I may see it through the flames.

What a saint!


Movies on Joan

The Messenger 

  • 1999 action film starring Milla Jovovich, directed by Luc Besson. The film gets Joan’s motovations wrong.

Joan of Arc

  • 1948 film that gets the full Hollywood treatment, starring Ingrid Bergman, directed by Victor Fleming.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

      • 1928 silent film directed by Carl Dreyer and focuses only on Joan’s trial. It stars Marie                     Falconetti as Joan of Arc in what movie historians call the greatest screen performance in               history.


ABRAHAM LINCOLN?  “You have to be honest with the American people. Slavery is a personal issue. I am unapologetically pro-emancipation for the slaves. But we have to acknowledge that the courts have given the power to make this decision to the individual states.

And as much as I am pro-emancipation, I don’t want anyone being judged for being pro-slavery, and I don’t want them to judge me, because there are some things that are going wrong on the pro-emancipation side. The same on the pro-slavery side. 

When it comes to the federal law, it will take 60 senate votes, a majority of the house and the president to sign it. We’ve never had 60 senate votes. Ever. No Republican president can ban slavery anymore than the Democrat president can ban state laws. 

Let’s make sure that none of these laws put slave owners in jail or give them the death penalty for depriving black people of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and let’s focus on freeing as many slaves as we can and stop the judgment. We do not need to divide America over this anymore.”

Obviously, Lincoln didn’t say this. But these are the exact words used by a so-called pro-life president candidate earlier this year. I simply substituted  slavery for abortion.

THE PROBLEM: Abortion is not a states rights issue, it is a human rights issue. A person can’t be a human being in Iowa but only a clump of cells in Illinois whether you’re considering the issue through the prism of faith, science, or philosophy.

THE SOLUTION: The courage to speak the TRUTH always. That’s what Joan of Arc would tell us. Make the other side PROVE that the thing in the womb isn’t human despite scientific and theological evidence to the contrary. Leadership is needed, not retreat.

The Abortion Landscape

Knights of Columbus Marist Poll:

  • 66% of Americans support placing legal limits on abortion
  • 6 in 10 support limiting abortion to first trimester
  • 83% support pregnancy resource centers, centers that don’t provide abortions, centers with which Pulse is very much involved. We may have more news on that front in the near future.
  • 2 out of 3 believe healthcare professionals with religious objections to abortion should not be legally required to perform them.
  • 86% believe laws can protect both the mother and her unborn child.
  • 37% of Democrats believe abortion should be limited to first trimester at MOST; 22% of Dems believe it should be limited to cases of rape, incest, or the mother’s life … at MOST.


In order to inspire our local Catholic community, Pulse is hosting a musical event this Sunday, April 14th, with the theme of “Women of Worth.” It will feature a set of songs composed just for this event that honors the Blessed Mother, Ruth of the Old Testament, and especially Joan of Arc in a piece presented theatrically.

The price is $10 per person or $25 per family, and the performance takes place here in St. Francis church at 3PM. It’ll be followed by a wine/cheese/cookie reception.

Mark Twain’s book and Joan of Arc’s life inspired me to write a song about the Maiden of Orleans. The song grew into something much more. Hope you can come and hear it performed.

Joan of Arc said something interesting at her trial: 

“How else would God speak to me, if not through my imagination?”

C.S. Lewis said that “the imagination is the organ of meaning.”

St. Thomas Aquinas said it takes the power of the imagination to understand reality.

And that is why I have been writing music and plays for the past quarter of a century, and why Joan of Arc is so important to me.

Art is essential to helping us understand the meaning of life and its objective value.

We’re performing “The Story of Joan” theatrically. I think you’ll be entertained, and hopefully inspired. I framed my piece around three Psalms which I believe capture the essence of her story: 42, 22, and 116:

42: Like a deer that longs for running water, my soul longs for you my God.

22: My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

116: I am greatly afflicted, precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.

I read on the Word on Fire website something that had quite an impact on me:

“Our art takes the raw materials of God’s creation and ‘makes them anew,’ casting them in new light. When our creations are aligned with truth and goodness, they become unique contributions to the ongoing creation of the world. Good art is, therefore, a vital aspect and symbol of man’s inherent dignity.”

… Dignity, I might add, bestowed on us at the moment of conception.

The Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which converted the Aztecs has been replicated and travels the United States on an explicit mission to end abortion. It is carried into Churches and it is brought in front of abortion clinics nationwide.

The Missionary Image you see is one of four actual (4’X6’) replicas of the original Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They were made from a digital image of the tilma in 1999 and the digital image was blessed by St. John Paul II, and by Monsignor Ponce, Rector of the Basilica of Guadalupe to bring conversions, reverence for life, respect for the sanctity of the family and solidarity of the Church in America.

The images have visited every state in the U.S. and traveled around the world. Many signs, wonders, conversions, healings, reconciliations and graces have been reported. Abortions have been prevented and many abortion centers have closed after visitations by the Miraculous Image. In Iowa, since the 2012 visitation of the Missionary Image, 20 of 26 Planned Parenthood centers have closed.  You are invited to touch this important sacramental and ask our Mother to pray for you and your intentions.

Mary’s Helping Hands

Bring diapers, nursery items, or clothing for 2 and under.

Joan’s final words to us:

“Courage! Do not fall back.”