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Best this month Marie’s Story

At the end of the 19th century, Marie Heurtin was born in rural France

to a humble artisan and his wife and is discovered to be “deaf and dumb.” When they are unable to handle their daughter’s crazy and wild behavior, her parents handed the 14-year-old’s care over to the nuns at the Larnay Institute. There deaf girls and those with other maladies are taught sign language and then become sisters. Marie was fortunate since most girls with her disabilities are sent to mental asylums. One of the nuns, Sister Margue- rite (Isabelle Carré), is determined to rehabilitate Marie through the use of sign language. Director Jean-Pierre Améris draws out exceptional performances from

the two lead actresses. In publicity notes he shares a few ideas he had in mind about the drama: “The bond created between Marie and Sister Mar- guerite is nothing less than a nun experiencing something which, by defi- nition, she is not intended to experience: maternal love. The film I had in mind was a luminous one. I wanted to film Marie’s hands touching animals, trees and faces, moving moments which turn out to be the invention of language and the story of liberation, a rebirth” (Film Movement —not rated).

Marie Heurtin (Ariana Rivoire) and Sister Marguerite (Isabelle Carré) create a bond in Marie’s Story.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

The Spirituality of Age: A Seeker’s Guide to Growing Older

Aging can be a meaningful and

rich path to mature spirituality, say Robert L. Weber, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and Carol Orsborn, founder and editor of Fierce With

Age: The Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration, and Spiritu- ality. They have come up with 25 questions designed to help older people deal with the thorny aspects of growing older, such as loss and mortality. Sharing their own and others’ stories, they emphasize both

the shadow and the light sides of this journey in chapters on spiritual maturity, spiritual awaken- ing, freedom, becoming more fully ourselves and the value of aging to society. We were also impressed with their “Twelve Exercises for Seekers” and their extensive list of resources for rec- ommended reading (Park Street Press,

Author bio:

The Brussats publish the website www.SpiritualityandPractice. com where you can find more information about the items reviewed in this column.


Just for Today John XXIII (1881-

1963), the “people’s pope,” was a commit- ted practitioner of everyday spirituality. He was admired by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike for his life characterized by humility, kindness and service of others. This exquisite children’s book with lovely

illustrations by Bimba Landmann contains the pope’s “Decalogue for Daily Living.” It is a poetic collection of ways to live each day fully. Among his intentions are devoting 10 minutes to sitting in silence and listening to God, doing one good deed and telling no one about it, doing at least one thing he did not enjoy, guarding against haste and indecision, pondering the fact that God cares and looks after us all, having no fears and more (Eerd- mans Books for Young Readers, www.eerdmans. com/youngreaders ).

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