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Setting the World Ablaze

Mary Rose Bacani Valenti

Friday, January 16, 2009

nashscreencollage.jpgLast Friday, soon after arriving in Nashville, Fr. Thomas Rosica and I had the tremendous pleasure of screening the documentary Beloved: The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia before an audience for the FIRST TIME! Around 50 novitiate sisters and 32 vocation visitors were there, and I couldn’t believe their reactions – their laughter, their tears, and the sharing that happened afterwards.
We had another screening the next day at 2 pm, with 85 sisters or so. Around 35 lay people were present -- some local friends of the sisters, benefactors, and supporters of the Congregation and the Dominican Campus. They were very enthusiastic and were very moved by the screening.
Here are some words of appreciation from those present:
“The Nashville Dominicans are all about that which is hopeful and good. ‘Beloved’ does an excellent job of conveying the Sisters' message of hope and good; a message of optimism which is always helpful to hear, but particularly so in these times of strife and economic distress." - Michael Sheridan (Michael is the father of two children who attend an elementary school run by the Dominican Sisters. He is an attorney in Nashville and his mother graduated from St. Cecilia Academy)
“I wish there were words to express how moving the film is and how much it meant to see it. Thanks so much for including me, and for the DVD, which my 87-year-old mom (who lived at the St. Cecilia boarding school in the 1930s) is going to love! I was very impressed with the highly professional technical quality of the filmmaking as well as the contents.” - Michael Kurek (Michael is a son of a St. Cecilia Academy graduate. He is a professor at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt and is head of the Composition Department. He is presently working on the music for a ballet version of Macbeth!)
“… Beautiful portrayal of love…. Eyes watered seeing true love at work and being demonstrated in so many ways. Divinely inspired and very moving!” - Bob Rudman (Bob lives in Franklin, TN and is a retired marketing expert. He is active in the Serra Club where he met the sisters. He and his wife attend lectures at the College where they serve as friends and volunteers)
As for myself, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity given me to work on this documentary. I feel renewed in my faith and I feel I have found so many great friends in the Nashville Dominicans! This documentary has a message for all of us, both lay and religious.
I think Sr. Catherine Marie Hopkins, O.P., Associate Producer for this documentary, says it best:
“We meet people all the time who are not aware that there are young people entering religious life and that congregations exist that have the age-old formula for spiritual success: love of the Church, a life that is prayerful, sacrificial, apostolic and joyful! It is wonderful to think that we can help to spread a message of hope for the future with consolation in the present. The message is not just about religious life but for all who strive for holiness. St. Catherine of Siena once said, and Pope John Paul II repeated, “If we become what God created us to be, we will set the world ablaze.” Isn’t it really all about lighting fires in whatever way we are called so that the Mystical Body of Christ is strengthened and can effectively grow?”
May God bless all of us who continue on our individual and personal journeys towards Him.
If you missed Beloved earlier this week on Salt + Light, tune in this Friday January 16 at 8:00pm, Saturday January 17 at 12:00am & 3:30pm, or Sunday January 18 at 1:30pm for encore presentations. All times ET.

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