‘Mother Teresa: No Greater Love’ is an inspiring documentary
NEW YORK — The life of one of the most compelling modern saints is chronicled in the inspiring documentary “Mother Teresa: No Greater Love” (Fathom, in select theaters October 3-4). Released timed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of its 87-year-old subject, the film also offers an exploration of his lasting legacy.
Filmmaker David Naglieri uses archival footage and dramatizations to chronicle the famous nun’s journey from obscurity to global stardom. Born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in present-day North Macedonia, she was the daughter of a successful and politically involved Kosovar businessman and his deeply pious wife.
Her initial vocation was with the Sisters of Loreto, oriented towards education. But a mystical experience she called “the call within the call” eventually led the successful teacher to undertake a very different mission: tireless work among the poorest of the poor in India and beyond. The steady growth in the number of its collaborators in this difficult undertaking resulted in the creation of the Missionaries of Charity in 1950.
Naglieri uses Mother Teresa’s biography as a framework in which to examine current missionary activities. His globe-trotting survey of their many projects – they employ more than 750 facilities around the world – spans from South America and Haiti to the United States, Africa, the Philippines and, of course, the Sub -continent, where it all began.
Boldly pro-life, Mother Teresa was also a pioneer in providing fearless medical care to AIDS patients in the early days of the disease, a time when many people shunned it. Another topic Naglieri tackles is his lifelong friendship with Saint John Paul II, a bond of mutual understanding and appreciation that required little verbal expression.
Fans of Hollywood movies will be especially intrigued by an interview with actor Mark Wahlberg’s brother, Jim. Once a drug addict and convict, he credits his fervent Catholic faith – and thus the radical reformation of his life – to a visit Mother Teresa made to the prison in which he was incarcerated.
Now a religious family made up of several branches, all dedicated to the faithful following of the demanding spirituality of their founder, the Missionaries continue to respond to the needs of the forgotten and the excluded. Uplifting but overly long, this study of their heroic service — by the Knights of Columbus — is a soul-filling experience.
Look for: A celebration of holiness.
Attention : Potentially disturbing images of civil unrest and disease and mature themes.
The Catholic Moviegoer’s advice is T-suitable for mature teens. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.
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A former Catholic News Service staffer, John Mulderig has been examining visual media from a Catholic perspective for 15 years. His column is syndicated by Catholic Review Media.