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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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Joseph Benedict Cottolengo: In some ways Joseph exemplified St. Francis’ advice, "Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up to now we have made little or no progress" (<i>1 Celano, </i>#103). 
<p>Joseph was the eldest of 12 children. Born in Piedmont, he was ordained for the Diocese of Turin in 1811. Frail health and difficulty in school were obstacles he overcame to reach ordination. </p><p>During Joseph’s lifetime Italy was torn by civil war while the poor and the sick suffered from neglect. Inspired by reading the life of St. Vincent de Paul and moved by the human suffering all around him, Joseph rented some rooms to nurse the sick of his parish and recruited local young women to serve as staff. </p><p>In 1832 at Voldocco, Joseph founded the House of Providence which served many different groups (the sick, the elderly, students, the mentally ill, the blind). All of this was financed by contributions. Popularly called "the University of Charity," this testimonial to God’s goodness was serving 8,000 people by the time of Joseph’s beatification in 1917. </p><p>To carry on his work, Joseph organized two religious communities, the Brothers of St. Vincent de Paul and the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul. Joseph, who had joined the Secular Franciscans as a young man, was canonized in 1934.</p> American Catholic Blog The image of God! This is what it means to be human! We are not just a bunch of cells randomly thrown together by some impersonal forces. Rather, we reflect an eternal God who knew us from before we were made and purposely called us into being.

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