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.

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