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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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Joan of Arc: 
		<p>Burned at the stake as a heretic after a politically-motivated trial, Joan was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920.</p>
		<p>Born of a fairly well-to-do peasant couple in Domremy-Greux (southeast of Paris), Joan was only 12 when she experienced a vision and heard voices that she later identified as Sts. Michael the Archangel, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret of Antioch.</p>
		<p>During the Hundred Years War, she led French troops against the English and recaptured the cities of Orléans and Troyes. This enabled Charles VII to be crowned as king in Reims in 1429. Captured near Compiegne the following year, she was sold to the English and placed on trial for heresy and witchcraft. Professors at the University of Paris supported Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvis, the judge at her trial; Cardinal Henry Beaufort of Winchester, England, participated in the questioning of Joan in prison. In the end, she was condemned for wearing men's clothes. The English resented France's military success–to which Joan contributed. </p>
		<p>On this day in 1431, she was burned at the stake in Rouen, and her ashes were scattered in the Seine River. A second Church trial 25 years later nullified the earlier verdict, which was reached under political pressure.</p>
		<p>Remembered by most people for her military exploits, Joan had a great love for the sacraments, which strengthened her compassion toward the poor. Popular devotion to her increased greatly in 19th-century France and later among French soldiers during World War I. Theologian George Tavard writes that her life "offers a perfect example of the conjunction of contemplation and action" because her spiritual insight is that there should be a "unity of heaven and earth."</p>
		<p>Joan of Arc has been the subject of many books, plays, operas, and movies. </p>
American Catholic Blog A surfer becomes a better surfer as he spends more time in the water and learns from his friends and experiences how to improve. It is so with the virtues too. They’re actionable—which means our ability to pursue the good improves with practice!

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