Thursday, July 22, 2010

Francis and Clare DVD

Francis and Clare DVD

This has by far been my favorite religious movie of this year. Francis and Clare have always been inspirational for me since my early twenties when I was terribly idealistic in religious matters, and especially matters of "Lady Poverty." Having given away all my possessions at one point except for a backpack, a sleeping back, and a guitar, upon reading of Francis' similar, if not more strict and long lasting (!), calling to the same, he of course appealed to me. He seemed to think like I did at the time, which was hard to find. Francis' love for the Gospel and complete surrender to its most difficult callings, if taken literally, moved me, as did his deep love for the Passion of Our Lord, which ultimately resulted in his gift of the Stigmata in the later years of his life. I also related to his love of God through nature, which was an important part of my spirituality as well.

This film hits home on many levels and is a beautifully made film as well. The setting, from the beautiful and realistically filmed Italian countryside, to the settings in period stone buildings and exquisite costuming, could hardly be done better. The film liberally uses dramatic light and natural elements like rain and wind, sun, stars and moon, fire and water, reminding us of Francis' most well known Canticle of the Sun ( ) to convey spiritual drama.

The story line and the acting by all principle characters are equally well done. I like how they focus on both Francis and Clare in their early years, instead of focusing only on Francis, as many such films do. Their mutually inspiring relationship and parallel spiritual journey is nicely portrayed in this film.

Ettore Bassi's portrayal of the character of Francis is exceptional. He not only brings out the lighter parts of his personality, but the depth of his spirituality as well. One of my favorite and most poignant scenes is where he sees the face of Christ in the leper and kisses him. And the one where he admits Clare into the life of the Poor Clares, which she founded to prayerfully support his mission. And the scene with the Sultan at the camp during the Crusades. And so many more, it is impossible to share them all. Clare is beautifully portrayed by Mary Petruolo, and for once keeps the difference in age realistically. The film gives a nice account of her own spiritual journey and struggles with her family, and of her dedication to Francis' ideals while others questioned whether it could be done. She is not just a supporting character, as in so many other films about St. Francis.

There are so many stories and legends about Francis and Clare, that it is hard to include them all in the limited time frame of a film. Were I to make this film, I might have included more of their later years stories, but this is a nice collection of early years as well as later years. The film, which is made in English and Italian, is made in two parts (totaling 200 minutes) and includes a 16 page booklet with information about the film and the saints and some discussion questions. The dvd also includes a nice behind the scenes section.

On my website I have many more pages of articles about Francis and Clare, if you wish to learn more about them, illustrated by my photos from my trip to Assisi. This film, as well as other books and films are available for purchase, or this film for rental in this section:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Saint Teresa of the Andes series

As I am going through my resources, adding some to my website ( I thought I would write about some of these, because some are not very well known. My most recent discovery was the DVD series "Saint Teresa of the Andes," the first Chilean saint. It is a 5 part mini-series, originally called Sister Teresa of the Andes, and made in 1989. The first section seems to be mostly a portrait of the saint's family, giving a lot of background into the culture and family relationships, their financial struggles, and so on, that helps you understand and relate to the events in the remainder of the series. It is in Spanish with subtitles in English, which makes it somewhat challenging, especially in a few instances where people are talking quickly! But in general, it is easy to follow. Later we follow Saint Teresa through her school years where she struggles with her desire to be a saint against her imperfections, her relationships with her peers, with the Sisters at the boarding school where she attends, and her relationship with Jesus. The 15 page booklet that comes with the series speaks more about her mystical experiences since childhood. The film for the most part deals with her personality, her spirituality and her relationship with the members of her family. This is a very close family so her decisions have a great impact on her siblings, especially. I found it also interesting watching the cultural aspects of this film, their ways of entertainment, and so on. This family began well off, then struggled to maintain that status as their finances dwindle. The film portrays the conflicts between their friends and family members alike over this deteriorating situation, as well as their opinions over Juanita joining the Carmelites. The environment and the authentic costuming of the period in this film help take you into a different time and place, as does the very Chilean music!

The character of Saint Teresa (earlier in the film, Juanita) is superbly acted by Paulina Urrutia, who according to the booklet, after an acting career, is now the Minister of Culture for the Chilean government. She does a very good job of portraying the innocence, strength and uniqueness of this individual. I enjoyed the character of Juanita (St. Teresa) and enjoyed the culture of the film, partly I think because it is so different from our own that it was fascinating.

I would recommend this, especially for people who have an interest in the Carmelite's spirituality. It can be purchased or rented on my website.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Welcome to Caryn's Collection Ministry Blog. This was developed to allow others to make comments on the ministry site, to add their own resources, and to communicate in other ways with people who are interested in youth ministry, ministries in general, or in growing their own personal spirituality through the resources here and through sharing with others on this blog site.

It can also serve to be a place where you can give feedback on the materials such as the dvds and videos, and books on this site. Let us know which ones you liked, or didn't like, and in what ways you have used them in your ministry. This can help others to evaluate what materials they might like to use themselves. Please suggest ones that have worked well for you.

I will periodically post contributions, essays, poems and reviews on this site, so if you would like to be notified of when one has been posted, please register for the posts.

May God Bless you,