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St. Teresa of the Andes
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(Sep 30, 2009)
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A beautiful, epic mini-series produced in Chile that tells the story of the inspiring life of the new young Carmelite saint who lived in the 20th century, died at the age of just 19 years old, and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1993. St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, known officially as "St. Teresa of the Andes", grew up in a close-knit, upper middle class Catholic family in Santiago, Chile, was very popular with her friends and relatives, entered Carmel at age 19, and died before her 20th birthday.
So what is it about this young, modern American saint that caused the Church to recognize her heroic virtue and sanctity at such a young age? Though she was a Carmelite for less than a year, she possessed a refreshing sanctity and message that will resonate with all lovers of Christ, especially with the youth of today. That inspiring story of Chile's first saint, and America's newest and youngest saint, is revealed in this definitive film on St. Teresa of the Andes.
Starring actress Pauline Urrutia in an acclaimed performance as St. Teresa, and with excellent acting performances all around, this film shows Teresa as a normal young woman who was a well-rounded person with many interests, including being an excellent athlete, who had a winning personality and a profound love for God, her family and friends. She had a true contemplative spirit to match her outgoing personality, and when she entered Carmel she already had a deep spirituality and a strong prayer life. Thus she quickly ascended the heights of sanctity that was recognized by her Carmelite community and beyond. She is a great role model and witness for today's youth.
This DVD includes the following language tracks: Spanish with English subtitles.
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In addition, the movie seems to depict traditional Spanish Carmlelite spirituality quite well, including some rich Carmelite traditions that have been forgotten in many convents. It is clear the director/producers did their homework. And what is more, they were able to capture in some small way the heart of this saint--though no movie is ever able to capture it perfectly.
Although the movie begins somewhat slow, and the production is not the best quality, do not let this deter you from seeing it through (it begins to pick up a lot in the second part of the series. The first part is just setting the stage as they say). I would also recommend, if you know anyone who might have a vocation to religious life, have them watch this. Movies should be able to impact people's lives, and this is one of the few that can.
The only shortcoming in this movie, I feel, is that they only used a handful of quotes from her diary and letters. They should have incorporated more exerts from her writings, so that her love for God and souls could really shine forth. She was a more than just a sweet young girl who loved God. She was consumed by love. She did more than suffer and die gracefully. She suffered and died gracefully for the salvation of souls. The movie could have brought forth, more, this redemptive quality of suffering, which so imbues Carmelite spirituality.
This film captures not only the simplicity of St. Teresa of the Andes, but also the beautiful life of the Carmelites. This low budget film is refreshing. Viewers quickly realize that we don't need modern-day technologies often seen in newer films to have a powerful impact on the messages being portrayed. No doubt I will watch this film again and again, and each time I will pick up on something I missed before. After watching this movie the first time, I found myself thinking about it throughout the next few days.
The only minor shortcoming is that the scene transitions are a bit difficult to follow. Characters are not effectively introducted in the film, therefore, I understood the film much better the second time I viewed it. Yet, this is a minor detail and the overall qualities of the film far exceed the shortcomings.
The story is one I'd never heard of before. Her life seems to be depicted in a most convincing manner.
I had to watch this again immediately after the first viewing.
THEN I had to buy my own copy (this one) so that I can see it again in the near future.
Fantastic movie, done extremely well.