Thursday, September 9, 2010

Open Discussion on the film "Mother Teresa"

Thank you to everyone who attended the inaugural event of Cinema Catechism! I'm very pleased - it was a resounding success!


What questions, comments, criticisms, do you have of the film?

What are your thoughts on the film "Mother Teresa" overall? What do you think of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta herself?

About the Movie

  • What do you think of the portrayal by Olivia Hussey, who is best known for playing the Blessed Virgin Mary in Jesus of Nazareth?

  • In interviews, she has said that she had wanted to do this film for a long time, and she was concerned with capturing the spirit and mannerisms of Mother Teresa.

  • Was there too much emphasis on scandal? Is the film unfair in this respect?

  • Was the story a bit choppy or disjointed, as some critics have said?

  • The movie was originally a mini-series on Italian television, running about another 60 minutes, which were edited out for the American DVD release.

  • What is your favorite scene?

  • Does the movie instill in you a desire to become a missionary?

  • About Mother Teresa

  • Is there a danger in looking to Mother Teresa as a model? Is she so far above us, so great, that people won’t even try to emulate her?

  • Mother Teresa, following St. Therese, said that it wasn’t necessary to do “great” things, only to do small things with great love.

  • The U.S. is not Calcutta, we do not have that severe poverty here, so is there nothing for us to do then?

  • Mother Teresa often said that the greatest poverty is marginalization, to be unwanted. And, as Pope Benedict wrote in Caritas in Veritate 53, there is a crucial need for true communion in human development. There are many unwanted and unloved even here in this "land of plenty." We must learn to see in truth – (1) to actually be able to see the unwanted and unloved, to realize that they exist and might even be right next to us, and (2) to see Jesus in them. Maybe not as widespread as Calcutta, but we do have material poor here, and we need to learn to see them too.

  • Notice the things Mother Teresa did NOT do –

  • Mother Teresa did not engage in express proselytizing, explicitly trying to convert people. If we are called to be a witness for Christ, what are we to say of that?

  • Mother Teresa said it was up to God to convert people, she merely needed to bring Jesus to them and them to Jesus.

  • Mother Teresa did not turn to government as the answer. But with its unequaled financial power, shouldn't government be the answer for the provision of social services?

  • Mother Teresa saw her service to the poorest of the poor as an individual calling, a personal calling. We are each of us called, to personally give love ourselves, not to shift that responsibility off to someone or something else. Mother Teresa preferred the simple, the personal over the impersonal organization, which is consistent with the Church's teaching on subsidiarity. At the same time, Mother Teresa did not advocate working in isolation, but instead utilized and relied upon the assistance of others, that is, the principal of solidarity. (Caritas in Veritate 71) But she understood that it is not enough to have someone else do it. She was of the mind that if the individual person did not do it, did not personally give that drink to a thirsty Jesus, and did not do it today, that the poor would not be there tomorrow.

  • What other questions, comments, criticisms, do you have of the film? What are your thoughts on Mother Teresa, the Missionaries of Charity, and their mission of love?

  • .


    Philip said...

    I found the scene at the train station, where they depicted her calling, to be very moving. They did a really good job conveying it in an artistic way, what with the image of a Jesus-figure, in the guise of a poor man, saying "I thirst," the crowd disappearing, time stopping, the whole of Mother Teresa's contemplation being focused on this one thing, "I thirst," before she moves on, letting it sink in and realizing what it meant. Very moving.

    Jan said...

    Mark - Cinema Catechism is an inspired concept! With help from your detailed notes and comments I can easily see this being incorporated in many other parish's education programs.

    I wish some of the participants would get a discussion going - I'd be interested in hearing what they have to say.