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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Seven Days in Utopia

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

“Seven Days in Utopia” is based on a best-selling 2009 novel by renowned sports psychologist Dr. David Cook: Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia.
 
 
When Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black) ignores the advise of his lifelong coach and caddy, his dad Martin (Joseph Lyle Taylor), Luke loses and his dad walks off the course.  Luke has a meltdown and takes off. He drives the lonesome roads of Texas until he crashes his car in a field trying to avoid a very large bull – a good metaphor for his own hard head and heart. A rancher, Johnny (Robert Duval) rides his horse to the scene of the accident and offers aid.
 
They go to the local diner where Lily (Melissa Leo) and her daughter Sara (Deborah Ann Woll) tend to his cuts. Sara’s hopeful boyfriend Jake (Brian Geraghty) looks on, immediately jealous. Johnny offers hospitality to Luke at his ranch-motel; if Luke will give him a week, Johnny will get him and his golf back on track.
 
This is a perfect film for a youth or parish retreat because it goes through the phases of the spiritual exercises in many ways and it is totally appropriate for young people. Day one, Luke has to write his life story and look for his identity, the next day they go fly fishing, then they paint, and so forth. The rodeo poker exercise is very funny.
 
“Seven Days in Utopia” has much to recommend it but the two things that bother me about it are that the camera can’t take its eyes off of Lucas Black’s face or the Bible – reinforced with a good pat now and then. I really wish the filmmakers would have trusted the audience more and trusted their own skills to choose subtlety over the “in your face” approach. And they missed the obvious by beginning with Easter Sunday and then ignoring it at the end. Easter, with themes of redemption, resurrection, new life are all there, but instead of good parallel structure chose another close up of the Bible, this time with the translation visible. It’s a little cheesy.
 
The PGA and the Golf Channel both supported this film. KJ Choi Asia’s greatest golf champion, plays ‘Tae Kwon Oh” and Luke and he battle it out at the end when Luke draws a wild card position for a pro tournament. The sequence will even keep the non-golfer interested. The opening cinematography especially, is beautiful.

Golf takes self-knowledge, discipline, a community and—soul.


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Angela Merici: Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women. 
<p>As a young woman she became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis (now known as the Secular Franciscan Order), and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like St. Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighborhood. </p><p>She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the center of a group of people with similar ideals. </p><p>She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost. </p><p>At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of St. Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.</p> American Catholic Blog I hear far more people discuss the presence of evil in their lives than they do the supreme power of grace. God is bigger than evil!

 
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