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Larry Crowne

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

I wanted to like “Larry Crowne”, a new film directed by the brilliant Oscar-winner Tom Hanks and co-written with Nia Vardalos, who gave us the wonderful film “My Big Fat Greet Wedding” in 2002. Yes, I was looking forward to seeing “Larry Crowne” but the best thing about it was seeing it after “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. It gave me a chance to unwind. Unfortunately, I almost fell asleep.
Larry (Tom Hanks) is a middle-aged retail worker who gets along with everyone. He’s been employee of the month nine times. But he is fired because he does not have a college diploma and cannot advance in the company. He was in the Navy for twenty years but this does not seem to count. Recently divorced with no children, he regroups – and buys a motor scooter from his next-door neighbor with a never-ending yard sale, Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), to save on gas.
An advisor suggests that Larry take a speech class and another on basic economics. The speech teacher, Mercedes (Julia Roberts), is unhappy but her class of ten students responds to her reluctant teaching, much to her surprise. When Larry offers her a ride after a disastrous dinner with her porn-addicted husband,  Mercedes responds to his genuine and gentle kindness.
The class is made up of interesting people but they really never get a chance to develop, and the storyline for one girl who drops out to open a business, is never really concluded. There was one student, though, that caught my eye; she looked just like Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, who has had a recurring role as a deliciously devious and brilliant attorney on CBS “The Good Wife”.  The credits listed her as Grace Gummer, another of Meryl Streep’s four children. Grace has a small role here, but she may be an actress to watch.
The economics class starts off well; the professor, Dr. Matsutani (George Takei)  thinks he’s a comedian but he speaks so slowly that the film’s energy drops every time we end up in his class.
“Larry Crowne” is a good-hearted film that wants to encourage people in economically depressed times, to re-train, go back to school, and for some audiences, this will resonate.  It makes a great point that pornography destroys relationships (without showing any). But the mega-watt star power of Hanks and Roberts overwhelms the simplicity of the script that never quite finds its footing.

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Marie-Rose Durocher: Canada was one diocese from coast to coast during the first eight years of Marie-Rose Durocher’s life. Its half-million Catholics had received civil and religious liberty from the English only 44 years before. When Marie-Rose was 29, Bishop Ignace Bourget became bishop of Montreal. He would be a decisive influence in her life. 
<p>He faced a shortage of priests and sisters and a rural population that had been largely deprived of education. Like his counterparts in the United States, he scoured Europe for help and himself founded four communities, one of which was the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Its first sister and reluctant co-foundress was Marie-Rose. </p><p>She was born in a little village near Montreal in 1811, the 10th of 11 children. She had a good education, was something of a tomboy, rode a horse named Caesar and could have married well. At 16, she felt the desire to become a religious but was forced to abandon the idea because of her weak constitution. At 18, when her mother died, her priest brother invited her and her father to come to his parish in Beloeil, not far from Montreal. For 13 years she served as housekeeper, hostess and parish worker. She became well known for her graciousness, courtesy, leadership and tact; she was, in fact, called “the saint of Beloeil.” Perhaps she was too tactful during two years when her brother treated her coldly. </p><p>As a young woman she had hoped there would someday be a community of teaching sisters in every parish, never thinking she would found one. But her spiritual director, Father Pierre Telmon, O.M.I., after thoroughly (and severely) leading her in the spiritual life, urged her to found a community herself. Bishop Bourget concurred, but Marie-Rose shrank from the prospect. She was in poor health and her father and her brother needed her. </p><p>She finally agreed and, with two friends, Melodie Dufresne and Henriette Cere, entered a little home in Longueuil, across the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal. With them were 13 young girls already assembled for boarding school. Longueuil became successively her Bethlehem, Nazareth and Gethsemani. She was 32 and would live only six more years—years filled with poverty, trials, sickness and slander. The qualities she had nurtured in her “hidden” life came forward—a strong will, intelligence and common sense, great inner courage and yet a great deference to directors. Thus was born an international congregation of women religious dedicated to education in the faith. </p><p>She was severe with herself and by today’s standards quite strict with her sisters. Beneath it all, of course, was an unshakable love of her crucified Savior. </p><p>On her deathbed the prayers most frequently on her lips were “Jesus, Mary, Joseph! Sweet Jesus, I love you. Jesus, be to me Jesus!” Before she died, she smiled and said to the sister with her, “Your prayers are keeping me here—let me go.” </p><p>She was beatified in 1982.</p> American Catholic Blog It is in them [the saints] that Christian love becomes credible; they are the poor sinners’ guiding stars. But every one of them wishes to point completely away from himself and toward love…. The genuine saints desired nothing but the greater glory of God’s love… <br />—Hans Urs von Balthasar

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