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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Monsieur Lazhar

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

This Oscar-nominated film from Canada is the story of an Algerian refugee in Montreal who becomes a teacher to a seventh-grade class after their teacher commits suicide.

With no options the principal hires Mr. Lazhar who steps into the classroom of children who are still in shock and deftly leads them through the rest of the year.
 
But Mr. Lazhar has misrepresented himself, though we don’t find this out right away. When his immigration status as a political refugee is challenged his backstory of loss fills in the blanks to explain his heart and empathy.
 
Then there are the children. A boy and a girl seem friendly at first but it soon becomes clear that she blames the boy for the death of the teacher. He has done something that pushes the teacher over the edge, someone that everyone seems to known was fragile, and she cruelly sets up her death so that the boy is the one who discovers her.
 
There is much healing needed in the school, within Mr. Lazhar, and society.
 
This is a gentle film about loss, grief and a caring man who transcends his own sorrow to offer hope and stability to children. Monsieur Lazhar is in French with English subtitles.


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Leopold Mandic: Western Christians who are working for greater dialogue with Orthodox Christians may be reaping the fruits of Father Leopold’s prayers.
<p>A native of Croatia, Leopold joined the Capuchin Franciscans and was ordained several years later in spite of several health problems. He could not speak loudly enough to preach publicly. For many years he also suffered from severe arthritis, poor eyesight and a stomach ailment.
</p><p>Leopold taught patrology, the study of the Church Fathers, to the clerics of his province for several years, but he is best known for his work in the confessional, where he sometimes spent 13-15 hours a day. Several bishops sought out his spiritual advice.
</p><p>Leopold’s dream was to go to the Orthodox Christians and work for the reunion of Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. His health never permitted it. Leopold often renewed his vow to go to the Eastern Christians; the cause of unity was constantly in his prayers.
</p><p>At a time when Pope Pius XII said that the greatest sin of our time is "to have lost all sense of sin," Leopold had a profound sense of sin and an even firmer sense of God’s grace awaiting human cooperation.
</p><p>Leopold, who lived most of his life in Padua, died on July 30, 1942, and was canonized in 1982.</p> American Catholic Blog Heavenly Father, give me the grace to be grateful and to use my gifts and talents to show your love to others so that when they see me, they recognize you living in me and loving them through me. I ask this in Jesus's name, Amen.

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