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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Buck

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

When Nicholas Evans went looking for someone on which to model the horse trainer and healer Tom Booker for his 1995 best selling novel “The Horse Whisperer” he found Buck Brannaman. Then Robert Redford hired Buck as an equine technical advisor for the film version, and according to this new documentary, Buck was his double in certain scenes.

This documentary is one of the finest I have ever seen because it tells a compelling and inspiring story that leaves the audience with the sense that they have seen a truly great film – and met a genuine human being.

Buck and his brother were trick rope wranglers from an early age. Their mother, a wonderful woman by all accounts, was a waitress. She died very young but even before she died, the boys were terrified of their father. After her death, he beat them regularly. A school coach saw the marks on Buck’s back and reported it. The boys were placed in a loving foster home; the couple raised thirty foster children – all boys - in their lives.



The film follows Buck through a series of four-day horse clinics that he teaches for nine months of the year. We meet his spirited foster-mother, Mrs. Shirley, and understand the nurturing influence she and her husband had on Buck and his brother, Smoky (though we don’t learn much about him in the film, Smokey spent twenty-five years in the Coast Guard, married and has a family with grown children. Buck said in an interview that Smokey “has had a good life.”) We even meet the sheriff who rescued the boys, one of Buck’s best friends growing up, his wife, and the daughter who has become an excellent horsewoman and trainer herself. This is a film about hope, resilience, self-knowledge and awareness, self-control and respect. If a person develops these character traits, he or she will be successful with horses, other pets, and most of all, people.


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Bernard of Clairvaux: Man of the century! Woman of the century! You see such terms applied to so many today—“golfer of the century,” “composer of the century,” “right tackle of the century”—that the line no longer has any punch. But Western Europe's “man of the twelfth century,” without doubt or controversy, has to be Bernard of Clairvaux. Adviser of popes, preacher of the Second Crusade, defender of the faith, healer of a schism, reformer of a monastic Order, Scripture scholar, theologian and eloquent preacher: any one of these titles would distinguish an ordinary man. Yet Bernard was all of these—and he still retained a burning desire to return to the hidden monastic life of his younger days. 
<p>In the year 1111, at the age of 20, Bernard left his home to join the monastic community of Citeaux. His five brothers, two uncles and some 30 young friends followed him into the monastery. Within four years a dying community had recovered enough vitality to establish a new house in the nearby valley of Wormwoods, with Bernard as abbot. The zealous young man was quite demanding, though more on himself than others. A slight breakdown of health taught him to be more patient and understanding. The valley was soon renamed Clairvaux, the valley of light. </p><p>His ability as arbitrator and counselor became widely known. More and more he was lured away from the monastery to settle long-standing disputes. On several of these occasions he apparently stepped on some sensitive toes in Rome. Bernard was completely dedicated to the primacy of the Roman See. But to a letter of warning from Rome, he replied that the good fathers in Rome had enough to do to keep the Church in one piece. If any matters arose that warranted their interest, he would be the first to let them know. </p><p>Shortly thereafter it was Bernard who intervened in a full-blown schism and settled it in favor of the Roman pontiff against the antipope. </p><p>The Holy See prevailed on Bernard to preach the Second Crusade throughout Europe. His eloquence was so overwhelming that a great army was assembled and the success of the crusade seemed assured. The ideals of the men and their leaders, however, were not those of Abbot Bernard, and the project ended as a complete military and moral disaster. </p><p>Bernard felt responsible in some way for the degenerative effects of the crusade. This heavy burden possibly hastened his death, which came August 20, 1153.</p> American Catholic Blog One of the things that we need to remember is that we’re preaching Jesus, not the institutional Church. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and regulations of the institution and forget that we are saved not by the Church but by the person of Jesus or the Church as the body of Christ.

 
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