Courtesy of Black Forest Musings:
As we continue our monthly saint movies, I am deviating a little bit because of the two upcoming political conventions at the end of August. As we watch the conventions and are preparing to vote in November, it might be helpful to ground ourselves and our own convictions with the memorable story of St. Thomas More, A Man for All Seasons. St. Thomas More chose to die for what was right and true rather than capitulate in the conflict with his friend King Henry VIII over the king’s divorce from Ann Boleyn and his refusal to swear the Oath of Supremacy which would declare the king as the head of the Church in England. A wonderful family man, a loyal servant, Thomas More said of himself…”The king’s good servant, but God’s first.” For a wonderful teaching about this holy martyr of conscience, read the first page of the bulletin from Holy Ghost Church in Denver.
During the month of September, the Church puts Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Pio of Pietrelcina before us.
Blessed Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1999, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 10, 2003. Because Mother Teresa lived in our day, there are volumes written about her life and many are first-hand accounts by people who knew her. She founded the Missionaries of Charity to work among the poor and dying in the streets of Calcutta. Her work drew the attention of the world’s leaders and among other honors, she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Her fame did not affect her, however, and she boldly talked about the culture of life versus the culture of death in the presence of the rich and powerful. She believed in the inherent dignity and worth of every human being and lived her life serving others.
Mother Teresa is considered the definitive story of her life. This film, shot in ten countries, was five years in the making. It shows how Mother Teresa was able to do her work without getting entangled in the political, religious and social barriers which could have discouraged a less determined missionary.
Mother Teresa: The Legacy was the official film for the beatification of Mother Teresa. It contains interviews with Mother Teresa and chronicles her legacy.
My favorite pick for a Mother Teresa movie is Mother Teresa: Her Heart Found the Forgotten, Her Faith Found a Way, which stars Olivia Hussey whom we first met in Romeo and Juliet years ago. More recently she has performed in Jesus of Nazareth and The Jeweler’s Shop. In this film, Olivia Hussey portrays the fearless missionary with a vision, the holy nun, and the servant of the poor.
A different format is an animated film called The Fifth Word: Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This film is a documentary in the “Giants of Peace” collection and was nominated for the Mother Teresa International Film Festival in Calcutta.
Padre Pio’s feast day is September 23. Francesco was born into a shepherd’s family and entered the Capuchin novitiate at the age of 15. This holy priest received the stigmata at the age of 30 while praying before a crucifix. He was a gifted confessor, and it was said that he could read hearts. It was reported that some people would deliberately conceal their sins or confess false sins and Padre Pio would admonish them to tell the truth and repent. Padre Pio endured excruciating physical suffering coupled with great joy and persecution during his life. He died in 1968 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. There are numerous documentaries about this contemporary saint and a couple of dramatizations as well. In the award-winning film, Padre Pio, Miracle Man, the viewer meets the young boy and follows him throughout his life up to the time of his death. The Night of the Prophet is told through the eyes of a journalist who while seeking a story, discovered in Padre Pio a man who lived Christian purity and charity to the utmost. Even skeptics were moved by this saint, and countless thousands were privileged to confess to him and receive his blessing.