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Monsieur Lazhar

Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.

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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Catherine of Alexandria: According to the <i>Legend of St. Catherine</i>, this young woman converted to Christianity after receiving a vision. At the age of 18, she debated 50 pagan philosophers. Amazed at her wisdom and debating skills, they became Christians—as did about 200 soldiers and members of the emperor’s family. All of them were martyred. 
<p>Sentenced to be executed on a spiked wheel, Catherine touched the wheel and it shattered. She was beheaded. Centuries later, angels are said to have carried the body of St. Catherine to a monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai. </p><p>Devotion to her spread as a result of the Crusades. She was invoked as the patroness of students, teachers, librarians and lawyers. Catherine is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, venerated especially in Germany and Hungary.</p> American Catholic Blog We exist because God is infinitely beautiful, infinitely good, and overflowing with a love that seeks to share itself. When he made us and placed us in this glittering created world, it was an act of pure generosity.

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