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Freedom Writers

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Source: Catholic News Service

Classroom drama about the efforts of an idealistic, novice high school English teacher (Hilary Swank) to transform a racially divided class of troubled teens into model students by inspiring them to believe in themselves and break the cycle of gang violence in which they feel trapped. As a way of empowering them, she has them record their personal stories, experiences and feelings in journals, which they eventually get published. Director Richard LaGravenese overcomes a predictable and, at times, message-heavy script with emotionally powerful performances by the young ensemble and redemptive themes of self-worth, the efficacy of education and empathy to overcome intolerance, and the ability of one person to make a difference. Some graphic violence, including shootings, beatings and brief but disturbing images of domestic abuse, a divorce subplot, one instance of the f-word, recurring crude language and a few racial slurs, limiting its appropriateness to older adolescents and up. A-II -- adults and adolescents. (PG-13) 2006

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Catharine of Bologna: Some Franciscan saints led fairly public lives; Catharine represents the saints who served the Lord in obscurity. 
<p>Catharine, born in Bologna, was related to the nobility in Ferrara and was educated at court there. She received a liberal education at the court and developed some interest and talent in painting. In later years as a Poor Clare, Catharine sometimes did manuscript illumination and also painted miniatures. </p><p>At the age of 17, she joined a group of religious women in Ferrara. Four years later the whole group joined the Poor Clares in that city. Jobs as convent baker and portress preceded her selection as novice mistress. </p><p>In 1456, she and 15 other sisters were sent to establish a Poor Clare monastery in Florence. As abbess Catharine worked to preserve the peace of the new community. Her reputation for holiness drew many young women to the Poor Clare life. She was canonized in 1712.</p> American Catholic Blog Dear God, when you pour yourself into the little vase of my being, I suffer the agony of not being able to contain you. The inner walls of this heart feel as if they were about to burst, and I am surprised this has not happened already.


 
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