When Films Touch Real Life

Over at the Patheos Movie Club (you didn’t know we had one of those?) and also on the Catholic Landing Page, we have, along with many other interesting pieces, this fascinating article that about 75 Carmelite Sisters who saw For Greater Glory and a piece of their own history:

We have read about the Cristeros, researched the elements of the persecution in Mexico, and a few times we’ve given talks on the beginnings of our community. Some of our first sisters were put in jail. We heard about sleeping on mats and having to get up at a moment’s notice, taking all belongings to escape over rooftops to safety. We read coded letters in which our holy foundress, Venerable Mother Luisita, wrote in detail about current fashions. She was a very simple and austere soul, who wore only a mended Carmelite habit, so some of us would wonder, “why such detail about current women’s fashions, for heaven’s sake!” After seeing the movie, we understood. It was to help the sisters wear a better disguise, so they would not be discovered and arrested.

After seeing, For Greater Glory, it all became real for us. The blood. The torture. The injustice of it all. Above all, the faith of the people. What faith!

Our community was born in religious persecution. Our first sisters and the people who stood by them were courageous, strong Catholics. When Mother Luisita arrived by train into the United States in June 1927, she stepped down and kissed the ground of a country with religious freedom. She could wear her Carmelite habit.

You’ll want to read it all.

Speaking of films and reality, you might also be interested in this piece (H/T New Advent) by our old friend, Webster Bull, wherein he writes of walking the El Camino, and what the film The Way got right, and got wrong:

Right: The friendships are surprising.
There is something about the Camino that evokes sincerity and promotes friendship. The film’s great strength is the foursome at its center: Sheen’s character, along with a fat Dutchman, a bitter Canadian woman, and an Irishman angry at the Church. The way they slowly reveal their deepest secrets to each other is not just a screenwriting trick. It actually happens here. I feel a striking affection for many of the people I have met on the Camino, and even a certain intimacy with some. When we run into them again, always a surprise, it is usually with a joy that surprises me.

Wrong: But friendships don’t make a pilgrim. The Way itself does that.
Marian and I have entered the final quarter of the traditional Camino Francés, 800 kilometers in all from St. Jean to Santiago. The fraternal atmosphere of the first week or two—so prominent late in the film—has actually subsided, giving way to a deeper silence and thoughtfulness and even melancholy. I cannot tell you whether most pilgrims experience what I am experiencing. But seeing the Camino as a metaphor for life, I myself realize now, at age 60 and 200 kilometers from my destination, that this pilgrimage is nearing its end.

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About Elizabeth Scalia