November 17, 2014

WE NEED MORE NUNS! HELP THE NUNS!


Help end the nun shortage!
Nuns don't grow on trees! You can't print nuns with 3D printers!

Donate to our Daughters of St. Paul VOCATION VIDEO!

Many of you so generously helped fund the filming of our Vocation Video last year.
Now we need to assemble this short sneak peak and make it beautiful!


This video is unique in that it will center on Sr. Maria Kim Bui's perpetual profession
at her home parish: becoming the bride of Christ--what religious life is all about!
(The vocation video will be given away free online & as a DVD.)


Keep checking back
                          to see the progress!

We need $18,500(US) by DECEMBER 31 to finish the video. Can you help us?

DONATE HERE:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE SAFELY ONLINE:
https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=4cb355
No gift is too small!

To show our gratitude, here are a few gifts we are offering you!
(We can mail to USA and CANADA)


$20--"Media Nun pack" The Life of Venerable Mother Thecla Merlo, her medal, holycard
Co-Foundress of the Daughters of St. Paul--a friend in every need

$50 --Large Vigil Candle (with your name or name of a loved one on it) will burn in the
Boston Motherhouse Chapel next to Tabernacle constantly for 2 weeks

$50--The PERFECT Christmas gift for teen/young adult woman! Daily life-coach book (starts in January) signed by author, Sr. Helena Burns, fsp (while supplies last)

$50--"Christmas" Rosary, 23" stainless steel (while supplies last)


$1,000--Blessed James Alberione 12" statue (while supplies last)
Founder of the Daughters of St. Paul & the Pauline Family

How/when do you get your "Thank you" gifts? 
After you donate, indicate via email which gift you want!
HELRAPHAELFSP@AOL.COM (Sr. Helena Raphael Burns, FSP)
Need it by Christmas? Let me know! All gifts will mailed out by December 31.

THANK YOU & GOD BLESS!
You are in our prayers.


Sr. Maria Kim Bui's perpetual profession with Bishop Olmsted
& young women in discernment, Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

Filming with Greg from Spirit Juice Studios in 118° heat wave in Arizona

Jib shot of the big moment!

Saint & Not-a-Saint
(Spirit Juice Studios is also finishing up our Blessed James Alberione film: www.MediaApostle.com)

Learn more about the www.DaughtersOfSt.Paul.org!

CHECK OUT OUR VOCATION PHOTO ALBUM BELOW

Vocation Discernment Days with Eucharistic Adoration



Serious "selfies" with Totus Tuus missionaries











Nun Moms!


Senior Sisters = Prayer Warriors!

Our Native American Sister at St. Kateri's Canonization

One Love: Jesus Christ, One burning desire: Give Him to souls

 Some Sisters in formation -- various stages

Sr. Fay Josephine is from Samoa, now our superior in Hawaii

Renewing our vows on Valentine's Day




With parents of young woman about to enter the convent






A media nun and her bro...BEFORE & AFTER



GLORIA DEO + PAX HOMINIBUS




FROM VATICAN'S "HUMANUM" SYMPOSIUM ON MALE-FEMALE COMPLIMENTARITY




Check out highlights of various talks at same YouTube channel

November 14, 2014

NEW DVD: "PURGATORY: THE FORGOTTEN CHURCH"



Order DVD and watch trailer: www.PurgatoryForgottenChurch.com
A new DVD is out about an oft-forgotten topic and oft-forgotten souls: “Purgatory: The Forgotten Church.” We’re used to thinking of the Church on earth as “the Church Militant” or “the Pilgrim Church,” and the Church in heaven as “the Church Triumphant” or “the Church Glorious,” but there’s a “third” Church--that of the suffering souls in purgatory. It can be too easy to dissociate ourselves from “souls,” but these souls are actually people we know, our loved ones, relatives, friends, acquaintances who are being purified and readied to be with God forever in heaven’s unending, ever-increasing bliss.

The Church has a custom of praying for those we don’t know, also, just generally praying for “the souls in purgatory,” “the poor souls,” and “the most forgotten souls in purgatory” who may have no one praying specifically for them. Why do we call them “suffering” souls? Because they are in intense spiritual agony, longing to be with God. At death they met Him, everything has been clarified for them (what is truly of value, where their desires should be directed), and the “suffering” is simply an overwhelming desire to be with Him.

Why do the souls in purgatory need our prayers? While we’re on earth we have free will, right up till the moment of death. After death, the souls in purgatory can no longer “help themselves,” so our prayers can avail them. In turn, their prayers and sufferings are precious to God and are able to help us. Such is the “communion of saints” and the interconnectedness of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Chicago-based filmmaker, Friar John Clote, an investigative journalist before he entered the Conventual Franciscans, has delved extensively into this subject to produce a comprehensive 75-minute film filled with authoritative information and inspiration. Cardinal George is interviewed along with great “friend of the holy souls,” Susan Tassone, and others.


I recently interviewed Friar John for Chicago’s Archdiocesan Catholic newspaper, “The Catholic New World.” (Twitter: @CathNewWorld)

CNW: What inspired you to make this film?

John: I’ve been interested in this subject for years. My Mom passed away in 2008, and that experience of being a grieving Catholic, and having Masses said for her, that made me think about how I would approach this in a film.

I began praying in a Eucharistic chapel in Arizona, praying for my Mom and Dad and all the people I knew who had passed away, friends of my family and my friends. I began thinking of people who weren’t like my Mom who had many people praying for her. She had lots of friends who were devoted, prayerful Catholics. I kept thinking of deceased people I knew who didn’t have these people in their lives.

CNW: What did you learn in the process of making this film?

John: There’s a spiritual connection that exists between the living and deceased: Earth, purgatory and heaven. The theological definition is “the communion of saints,” but there can also be a tangible component sometimes when the veil between this world and the next thins in varied ways, in beautiful ways that can lead one to believe or reconsider unbelief that there really is something beyond this world.

In the film, we talk about near-death experiences and the development of the Church’s doctrine on purgatory. The idea of purification after death is not unique to Catholicism. The ancient Greeks had an idea of it, too.

CNW:  How has making this film changed you?

John: It has reinforced for me the specific notion that our relationships don’t end here. The love and appreciation—even though we are missing the sense of people’s physical presence—doesn’t end, but translates into a higher form of communication through prayer. I believe the deceased in purgatory can hear us more clearly, understand us more profoundly, and pray for us.

CNW: What are some misconceptions about purgatory?

John: First, that it doesn’t exist, and second, that it’s some kind of antechamber of hell, that it’s “down there” with some kind of trap door to get out. The four misunderstandings that we deal with in the film are: 1) time and space 2) indulgences 3) suicide 4) the motif of fire as the chief form of purgation. Much of the Church’s art, especially from the Middle Ages, depicts purgatory as fire. The focus really is on God’s love, God’s love as consuming fire coming from His Sacred Heart. That kind of fire. Nothing impure will enter heaven. We will be with an all-holy God, so His love needs to purify us so that we can become  a reflection of who God the Father really is.

CNW: What do you want people to take away from the film?

John:  Jesus Christ has unfathomable mercy and love for His Creation and all of us, and we need only ask to be enveloped in that Love. Purgatory is just another expression of God’s profound, unfathomable, incomprehensible mercy.



John B. Clote is a Conventual Franciscan friar, broadcast journalist and filmmaker. He is currently studying to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood. After several years as a producer and writer at NBC News in St. Louis he began working in catholic media producing more than a dozen films and documentaries for The Mercy Foundation. John was one of the last journalists in the world to conduct a televised interview with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Faustina Kowalska’s last surviving sibling. His films and work have appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and EWTN.

NOTE FROM SR. HELENA: I have seen several of John’s documentary films (you probably have, too—they’re in constant rotation on EWTN). Amazing! His masterpiece really is the life of St. Maria Goretti: “Fourteen Flowers of Pardon.” He has also done DVDs on Solanus Casey, Fr. Seelos, Little Audrey, John Paul II and Mother Teresa.




November 11, 2014

MEET THE DAUGHTERS OF ST. PAUL IN ST. LOUIS!




This video was handmade with love by our Postulants, who may or may not be starting
a production company called "Shake & Bake."

November 2, 2014

MOVIES: "GONE GIRL"




AN INTRIGUING PREMISE

I don't know why this simple premise intrigued me when the best-selling book and now movie, "Gone Girl" first came out, but it did: A young married couple. The wife suddenly disappears. Was it murder? Did her husband do it? But alas, the film, for all its accolades, is a massive disappointment, and really, a failure as a film. My biggest beef is with the ending which makes no sense. No sense. Way beyond a plot hole. [Disclaimer: I have not read the book, but am told it ends the same way.]

SPOILERS

There is no way to do this review without spoilers--given the thin premise--but I will jump around and be as sketchy as I can. Several things about this film make it feel amateurish (although I like other David Fincher films). The author of the book, Gillian Flynn, also wrote the screenplay (not bad for a first-time screenwriter, but it shows). Maybe this is part of the problem. The offbeat casting actually does work: Tyler Perry as a high-powered lawyer; Neil Patrick Harris as a wealthy, obsessed fanboy; homey and likeable unknown (but not for long!) Carrie Coon as the husband's twin brother.

There are two main characters: both husband and wife double-narrate their own point of view throughout, although it leans much more to the wife at a certain point, especially since she keeps a diary that provides much of the voiceover.

CASTING & MIS-CASTING

Ben Affleck does not work in the lead role of husband, and I even question Rosemund Pike as the wife. Affleck is a one-note actor who often blurts his lines without truly grasping the emotion or the moment. Everything about Pike is always pristine (which this part calls for), but I'm not sure that either Affleck or Pike grasped the intricate dance that the story was all about--unless I read more richness into the story than is there. Affleck NEVER changes, and Pike only changes from beleaguered wife to full-out psycho which seems SHOULD have been a much slower, more gradual reveal. I thought we could really have commiserated with the wife over the affair, and been made to think that that was the real issue for a while.

You see, ONCE we know that the wife is a full-on psycho, she can longer be THE main character. Screenwriting 101 Rule #1: criminally insane people do not make good main characters because nothing will stop them. They are capable of anything. There is often no real logic to their motivations or actions, as meticulous as they may be. Even if there is a powerful, dangerously crazy, scene-stealing antagonist (Hannibal Lecter, the Joker, any "monster" in a horror film) in a movie, they are offset by a sane protagonist.

MORE SPOILERS

BIG SPOILER ALERT! The ending makes absolutely no sense. Why in heaven's name does the husband stay with her?* He was exonerated. There was absolutely no need at all. The entire story breaks down at this point and veers into ridiculousness. But audiences seem to "just go with it" which is scarier to me than the broken story. I know our society struggles to reason and think logically, but audiences have always been tough on films with shoddy plot points. Maybe guys give it a pass because it's a woman-scorned-chick-flick-dark-drama-but-God-help-you-if-pulled-something-like-this-with-Star-Wars. But gals? Thinking caps?

The brief sex scenes/nudity are not as graphic as they were drummed up to be, but one bloody violent scene is deeply disturbing. There are other problems with the film: it's choppy, a tad boring, the beginning and ending music is odd and drowns out the dialogue, the characters are not fully fleshed out: people talk and talk and talk about who they are and who everyone else is, but we never actually SEE them acting that way. We never really grasped who this couple was (even though they were not always true to themselves) which is essential for the audience investing in them and the story. 
Screenwriting 101 Rule #2: "Show, don't tell." Screenwriting 101 Rule #3: The audience MUST care about the characters because the filmmakers have made us feel like we know them and can relate somewhat (even if they aren't sympathetic characters). The script/dialogue is definitely a writer's script: fancy verbal sparring at all times. Even the cop uses "meta." Really? The urgency of the film doesn't kick in for quite some time (the music could have been used more effectively hear to build tension).

There was some fun layering of plots (the flashbacks, the diary itself, the "treasure hunt" of clues) but the wife's parents were, like, extra appendages or something. They served no purpose. That might be allowed in novels, but not in films. Or if their purpose was that the wife's life wasn't quite "reality" from the beginning because of them, that needed to be played up.

2 THUMBS DOWN

I love good suspense-thrillers, but "Gone Girl" just feels generally gratuitous, precious and precocious. And, it's just a nasty piece of work. It also felt like a film that could easily have been made for the small screen.

The most chilling message of the film is: If you turn love into a game, if you are not yourself before or after marriage and neither is your spouse--whom did you just marry? Few of us will experience a "war of images" on national TV, but it does give one pause to wonder what other (perhaps even insincere) "images" we portray of ourselves that "do battle" for us?

Even more chilling (and strange), in interviews with Flynn and in reviews, people are treating this depiction of a crazed woman and a seriously messed-up relationship as, well, normative: "Yeah, that's marriage for ya."

My head hurts. I rarely tell people to save their money and not go see a film, but I'm gonna say it about this unentertaining turkey. But have all the turkey you want later this month.
____________
*See "comments." The book evidently makes it much clearer why he stayed.

OTHER STUFF:

--I am dreading Batman.

--Canadians loved the Winnipeg joke. (Saw this in a Toronto theater.)

--I'm sorry. Maybe this is mean, but when Ben Affleck's character is being coached by Tyler Perry (the lawyer) not to look smug on camera...well...I just couldn't stop laughing because...well....

--I couldn't help feeling that this film comes from a woman writer trying to prove that she can write as rough and shocking as any man. As if that's what it means to be a man.

--THEOLOGY OF THE BODY in this film? No. It's not even a cautionary tale unless: "Don't Marry an Axe Murderer." The only REAL thing that could be taken away is the game-playing thing. I know people who lied and pretended (even in little ways) in order to get married. And it turned out ugly.

--There is talk of a sequel. A sequel to Gone Girl makes even less sense than the ending of GG. Unless the point is that society has gone insane. Especially at the male/female, marriage/family level. I'm serious.


SR. HELENA'S 10 RULES FOR HOW TO NEVER FIND TRUE LOVE
1. separate love and sex
2. separate sex and marriage
3. separate sex and fertility
4. make love and sex a game
5. postpone marriage for as long as you can (and make "marriage" about a really expensive wedding)
6. make marriage about finding the perfect sexual partner
7. try to put love, sex, marriage and fertility all back together again right before you get married
8. pretend that marriage is a magic wand that will suddenly make you: know how to be faithful, achieve sexual self-mastery, know how to unselfishly sacrifice for your husband/wife/children, stop looking around, stop flirting around, stop hooking up--when you have actually been "in training" for "the opposite of marriage" all this time
9. even after you get married, stay open to finding "the one," because you can never be sure you married "the one"
10. if the person you married doesn't constantly fill all your needs, start at #1 again.


SR. HELENA'S 10 RULES
FOR HOW TO FIND TRUE LOVE
1. keep love, sex, marriage and fertility together
2. be the kind of person you'd want to marry
3. practice chastity=integration of body and soul, sexual honesty, sexual self-mastery
4. within your marriage, make love and sex a lifelong art
5. get married "young" if you find the love of your life "young." build your life together, not apart
6. make marriage about loving as God loves (Ephesians 5:21, 33)
7. in marriage, practice natural family planning: trust God & each other. NFP=healthy for Mom, Dad, brats, environment
8. show your kids what a happy, healthy, holy marriage looks like for the long haul
9. make the love of your life "the one" and treat them like "the one." they'll do the same for you
10. marriage is: good times/bad times, sickness/health, richer/poorer, till death (see: "The Notebook")


October 18, 2014

MEET THE PAULINE FAMILY!


Meet the Pauline Family
founded by Blessed James Alberione!
1914--2014


October 16, 2014

MOVIES: "MEN WOMEN & CHILDREN"



Do NOT see "Men, Women and Children" unless you are inured to today's porn and sex and sex and porn everywhere. The language and visuals are graphic and explicit and involve teens (and remember, today's sex is degraded), but after a few seconds of getting into it each time, the camera mercifully cuts away. But it's constant. I went to see this film because the write-ups highlighted the fact that it deals with technology and relationships, and in this, it doesn't disappoint.

If this was just an easy-sleazy-oh-boy!-tech&sex-is-a-vast-new-area-to-mine! kinda film, I wouldn't even bother reviewing it. But I do think it's something more than that.

THE PERSONALISTIC NORM

The film begins in outer space with Emma Thompson's voiceover, so we know this is going to have some big, philosophical resonance. The narration is clinical, dry humor that becomes very detailed once we situate ourselves on Earth with certain families. Families with teens. Since there is no God, Carl Sagan--in the voiceover and in the body of the film--becomes our guru because he, at least, can explain something of "the universe" to us. (But of course, in this film and IRL, did you ever notice how humans keep using personification regarding the universe? "The universe doesn't care." And trying to personify evolution? "Evolution tells us that monogamy is unnatural." Clearly, the human being is looking for the Personal. The human being is looking to be cared about by Someone and even to obey Someone wiser than ourselves.)

We get deeply into the lives of these families, their habits, their tragedies, their mistakes. There is father and son internet porn, digitally-assisted infidelity, pro-anorexia websites, a stage-mother inappropriately photographing her own daughter, videogame isolationism. At first we might think that this Smalltown, USA, is hypersexual, but we really know our whole culture is (see the older but still very relevant book "Porn Nation" http://hellburns.blogspot.ca/2009/03/books-porn-nation.html#.VEAoD_nF-jk). Without getting too spoiler-y, the point is made loud and clear (albeit at the very end) that sex is great, but most of us really want the intimate relationship--proper to marriage--that is supposed to come with it.

PORN IS NOT COOL

The heart of the film is a teenage couple who use media fairly well and forego sex for a deep, romantic friendship.

Is degraded sex treated trivially or as a joke? No. It's treated as a kind of sad, pathetic addiction. It would seem that the director (Jason Reitman: "Juno," "Up in the Air") might be sex-obsessed, but I think he simply sees our world as sex-obsessed. This interview with Reitman reveals what he was trying to accomplish in the film: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/2014/09/29/talk_dont_tweet_about_my_movies_jason_reitman_says.html and even his genuine personal distancing from the ubiquitous porn phenomenon is telling. In MW&C, Reitman painstakingly shows us computer porn EMASCULATING men so they can no longer respond to real, live women. This film in no way condones any kind of online or offline sexual shenanigans, but rather stares them down and shows them up for the sham and shame they are, with a such a masterful touch that things don't get too heavy, and we are entertained and not preached to. Reitman is an unflinching but not sadistic director.

The fact that uncommitted "love" and sex is deeply unsatisfying is plain to see in MW&C. But, as Fr. Thomas Loya--a Theology of the Body teacher--always says: "No matter how intelligent and well-meaning we are, we will often utterly ruin our lives grasping at what looks like true love and true sex because these desires are so strong in us."

MORE, PLEASE, BUT LESS GRAPHIC, THANK YOU

I really do believe we need more films like these--a lot less graphic, please? We get it, we get it, thanks--that examine our brave new cyborg world. The fact that this film portrays still-searching-for-themselves-crazy-mixed-up-parents along with their almost-adult-teens (and no "children") is significant, because in today's world there often seems to be hardly any difference between adults and teens; the adults acting regressively and the teens acting beyond their years.

Unfortunately, the one lone parent (Jennifer Garner) who actually seems to be concerned about her daughter's media use, does not trust her (trustworthy) daughter at all and goes way overboard tracking her every digital move. She even hosts a meeting for parents about their teens' media use. I think I'm going to use this scene as an example of "Media Literacy & E-Parenting Done Very Badly."

"Men, Women & Children" is an extremely contemporary film, but of course, will be outdated in approximately six months.

OTHER STUFF:

--THEOLOGY OF THE BODY? Indubitably.

--Being a strong Adam Sandler non-fan, I am grateful that he just listlessly says his lines and doesn't destroy the film.

--Every kind of pervasive media gadget imaginable in this film. Wow. Is that what we look like?

--1930's music at film's opening an homage to Woody Allen?

--Hilarious plot point: 9/11 = ancient history to today's teens. 

--Sex without a real relationship? It's just self-centeredly (even if mutually) having "needs met." Almost like infants. And it's playing with fire.

--At one point, there's an intercut sequence of three dating and/or copulating couples, and no one is with their spouse.

--There's even a hint that the obsessive, all-consuming world of sports (here, high school football) can be as addictive and escapist as our technology use.

--"Men, Women & Children" features possibly the longest, most original pickup-line ever. (Except that it is philosophically and theologically null.)

--A good point here about married couples not always having to talk EVERYTHING out (not the same as keeping secrets or poor communication).

--Teens' online lives are so real that if you kill that life? You might kill them.

--This film is coming out at the perfect time: The #Synod14 on the Family. If this is a snapshot of American and/or First World families today? Yeah, we need a Synod.

--How is it that a film by a Canadian director and starring Jennifer Garner is only playing in one theater in Toronto?

--The tired, tired argument about our planet being so small in the scheme of things, that humans are really not the center of the universe--yadda, yadda, yadda--features prominently. I'm sorry. This silly, silly argument/premise/theorem ("The smaller something is, the less it matters" or "Size is all the matters") is just the ramblings of a small, small male mind. I just don't know how else to say it. It also relieves us of all responsibility (a particularly male temptation). The conclusion to this argument in the film (which is a TOTAL NON SEQUITUR) is that, therefore, we must be kind and love one another. WHA???? If nothing and nobody matters? I say the conclusion should be TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN. Or as it says on my young cousin's bumper sticker: GET WHAT YOU WANT. Or how about EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY FOR TOMORROW WE DIE or JUST DO IT or as the Satanic Bible says: DO WHAT THOU WILT.

Besides, if it is true that the tinier something is, the less important it is, please explain atoms to me. Or deadly viruses. Or the myriads of teeny little insects that keep the ecosystem in balance.

The above ludicrous and fallacious premise is bad science, bad philosophy, bad theology, bad anthropology and just bad, wrongheaded thinking.

--Like so many other movies surprisingly and hearteningly portray: one CORRECT conclusion of this film is that the bedrock of our lives must be based on a technology-free ethos, ultimately, the spousal meaning of our bodies, the male-female relationship. Technology (however helpful) is not essential to our life. Love and unmediated bodily human interaction is.

--The film is not really about the "secret lives" of those we think we know. Because in the end "everything that is hidden will come to light" and God can bring good out of evil, even in a film.

PLEASE SEE COMMENTS!

October 3, 2014

MOVIES: "THE GOOD LIE"




I did not want to see "The Good Lie." It was assigned to me by my boss at LifeTeen, Christina Mead (benign dictator). I thought: I already know all about the "Lost Boys of Sudan" (young men who were forced to be child soldiers when their parents were murdered during the civil war). Many sad but touching and hopeful memoirs about these events have been written. Many wonderful projects have been instituted to assist refugees in establishing a new life in the United States. It wasn't "compassion fatigue" for me (after all, what have I done to help?), I just thought I knew this story. Boy, was I wrong.

I thought: Why can't we just see the Sudanese themselves? Why can't this be an African film? Why do we need Reese Witherspoon's star power (as good an idea as it is to get people watching the film)? I thought I had seen the film by watching the trailer and that there would be no surprises. I thought all the good laughs were in the trailer. I thought, I thought, I thought. But again, I was wrong.

AN AFRICAN FILM

"The Good Lie" IS an African film. The first half of the film is the main characters as children in Africa. The horrors are not graphic (more like "the banality of evil") but not downplayed either. This film is more interested in what their experiences have done to these "average" young people. Although there is a kind of ensemble cast, we manage to get into each one's psyche and the drama of their lives quite well. We become African with Mamere, Paul, Jeremiah and Abital, journey to the United States with them AND get a good look at our serious ridiculousness through African eyes.

It's the little every day adjusting to survival and displacement that makes up the bulk of the film. Actually, when the tension heightens, we almost want to go back to the little things, the mundane beauty of what it means to be human, which is the most enjoyable part of this unique film that employs so much realism that sometimes it feels like a documentary.

A CHRISTIAN FILM

These kids are Christian, carry a Bible with them everywhere they go and talk about Moses and the Bible stories, as well as pray in a very organic and natural way. God is so deeply embedded in African culture that  it would have been a "bad lie" to leave Him out! Not only that, these children are upright, truthful, fiercely loyal to each other, and kind to others they meet along the way. Forgiveness of the murderous attackers/soldiers is not mentioned in the film. It almost feels irrelevant. The kids somehow accept that it just happened. They are more concerned about the future--now what are they doing to do?--and their own interactions and pardons among themselves.

A FINE FILM

This is a fine, fine film in every way. The soundtrack is exquisite:  not minimalistic and not bombastic. An elegant alternate mix of piano, strings and what sounds like African instruments, as well as a few sung songs (only three, which is two too many in my book) round out the score.

A FINE ACTRESS

A word about Reese Witherspoon. Reese plays a tough Southern-belle-but-almost-a-redneck-woman, at first uncaring and just "doing her job" as she helps the refugees become acclimated to Kansas City, Missouri. But as she experiences their sincere friendship, guilelessness and true gentlemanliness of these strangers, she begins to soften and enter more deeply into their plight. Reese is just perfect. She does not steal a single scene, and although she's Hollywood royalty, she makes us believe without even trying that she is Carrie, the jaded country girl with the heart of gold who knows that all men are alike and doesn't think life has anything new to show her. Bravo, Reese. Such a classy not classy act!

AN UNUSUAL CHARACTER

There is a fabulous (first time I've ever seen this kind of) minor character in "The Good Lie." A sugary-sweet young Christian woman who, unlike Carrie, has no problem stretching to accommodate the newcomers, totally gets what the refugees are going through, and knows how to explain everything to them. You can tell that charity and goodness is just a heartfelt way of life for her. Later in the film she and Carrie bond over shots of Tequila. Yes. There are Christians like this. Real flesh and blood. Not pathological. Not self-righteous. No hidden agendas.

REASONS TO SEE THIS FILM

This is a great film for kids, too. Really? Yup. To see how kids on the other side of the world live. How they think. The choices they make. Their heroism.

Why should we watch this film? First of all, in order to "go through" something of the refugee experience. Just think of Iraq and Syria and so many other places in the world where millions have been driven from their homes and their countries, cannot go back and are in limbo in every way imaginable. Second, you WILL be able to relate--at least analagously to these young people. Third, I think the world has some big lessons to learn from African culture: family, joy, heritage, sacrifice, discipline, order, worship, humility, priorities, honor, gratitude, contentment, camaraderie. But we also see the virtuous in our own bonkers American culture. There is African generosity and there is American generosity. Two different brands. African? What you do with a little. American? What you do with a lot.

OTHER STUFF:

--I was heartily and loudly chuckling once the little band hits the United States. I mean, it's such a crazy meeting of cultures (with most of the crazy on the U.S. side). It's not about big, dumb, simplistic cultural differences, but deep, subtle and significant ones. It's about getting to the simple truth of everyday things. It was such a swipe upside the head to realize how convolutedly we habitually go about things in our daily lives, rather far from the unadorned truth.

--I wondered at the title and theme of "The Good Lie." Certain lies are told to save lives. Is that really even a question/problem in war time? At the very end of the film, the title will make even more sense, but I still question if this is the theme and proper title.

--There's nothing cliché in this film.

--I never lost interest despite the easy pacing.

--The PTSD comes later. We aren't told/shown everything the kids endured till later. Intermittent reveals. Good storytelling.

--Is there anything as joyful as African singing, dancing and laughter?

--Female screenwriter! Female screenwriter!

--This film made me think about how American women are used to being used in one way and American men in another and we just accept it all now. When the Americans meet the Africans' gentility, their first reaction is: Are you guys for real? And then they have to answer, pleasantly surprised: Yes.  Another way of doing things--perhaps a better way of doing things--is possible.

--The three young adults didn't care about the prosperity of America and don't get sucked up in pleasure and consumerism. They only care about being together.

--Fact: You will get in trouble at work if you are too good and honest.

--You are going to love Theo.

--The chicken joke.

--"Let us give thanks for this miracle food pizza."

--"May we visit your cow?"

--An INCREDIBLE, INCREDIBLE answer to relativism is in this film:
Boss: "What are you doing?" (to refugee working at supermarket who is giving day-old food to a homeless woman at the dumpster--when he was told not to)
Refugee: "It's a sin not to help those in need."
Boss: "Says who?"
Refugee: "Jeremiah."
Boss: "Who's Jeremiah?"
Refugee: "I am."

--I do so want this big-little film to win some Oscars.

--Why do we not see Corey Stoll in, like, every other film that gets made? #underratedactors

--DO stay for the stylish, creative credits and you will find out who these actors really are.

--Daughters of St. Paul (my congregation) are in South Sudan.

--"What does it mean to be human? It means we take care of each other." --Pope Francis

--"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." --African proverb



September 30, 2014

DAUGHTERS OF ST. PAUL CHRISTMAS CHOIR SCHEDULE 2014


 It's almost time again, folks! Here's where we'll be:

Joy to the World
Daughters of St Paul
2014 Christmas Concert


Piscataway, New Jersey
Wednesday, December 3 at 7:00 pm
Our Lady of Fatima Parish
499 New Market Road
Ticket information: Tel. 732-968-5555 | Web: www.olfparish.org


Staten Island, New York
Thursday, December 4 at 6:00 pm
Benefit for the Daughters of St. Paul
Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn
1100 South Avenue @ Lois Lane
Ticket price: $125
For more information: 718-477-2100 x 226
www.daughtersofstpaul.com/hiltonconcert


Cleveland, Ohio
Friday, December 5 at 7:00 pm
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
1007 Superior Avenue
For more information: 216-696-6525 x 5510 | Email: gheislman@dioceseofcleveland.org


Ramsey, New Jersey
Sunday, December 7 at 7:00pm
*Featuring Don Bosco Prep H.S. Boys Choir
St. Paul R. C. Church
200 Wyckoff Ave.
Ticket information: Tel. 201-327-0976 | Web: stpaulrcchurch.org


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, December 9 at 7:00 pm
St. Katherine of Siena Church
9700 Frankford Ave.
Tel. 215-637-7548 | Web: www.skschurch.com     


Marshfield, MA
Friday, December 12 at 7:00 pm
St. Ann by the Sea Parish
591 Ocean Street
Ticket information - Tel. 781-834-4953


Boston, Jamaica Plain, MA
*Now 3 performances *
SATURDAY, December 13 at 7:00pm
SUNDAY, December 14 at 3:00pm AND 7:00pm
Daughters of St. Paul Chapel
50 Saint Paul’s Avenue
Tel. 617-522-8911


For more information, visit our Facebook page: facebook.com/DSPchoir