Salt + Light Television will host the North American Premiere of Clare and Francis in two parts on our television network this weekend. Produced under the sponsorship of the Franciscan Order, Clare and Francis was shot on location in Italy by Italian film company Lux Vide—the producers of Saint Rita, Pope John Paul II, and St. John Bosco. It is unique among films on Francis because of its historical accuracy and its authentic spirit of joy and piety that Francis was known for, as well as the major role played by Clare, who is given equal stature with Francis.
Clare (Mary Petruolo), the daughter of a patrician family, and Francis (Ettore Bassi), the son of a rich merchant, leave it all to follow Christ. Francis renounces his inheritance to live the Gospel in poverty. Francis starts begging at the church doors for the poor, nursing lepers and restoring the churches of his region. While the whole city think Francis is mad, Claire is the first to read deep into his heart and decides to follow him. It is the beginning of a great love story: an everlasting communion of souls that will lead them both to Sanctity. Both found major religious orders and together they inspired many to follow their radical call to live the Gospel, and their impact has reached across the centuries to change the world.
Did you know that St. Clare is the patroness of television? One Christmas Eve, Clare was so sick that she could not get out of bed even to go to Mass. While the other sisters were on their way to mass, she stayed in bed praying so she could take part in the mass with her prayer. Just then, the Lord granted her a miraculous vision, and she was able to see the Mass, even though she was far away from where it was happening, as if it were taking place right in her own bedroom. In 1958, when Pope Pius XII was trying to find a saint to name as patron for the marvelous new invention called television, he recalled this incident in the life of St. Clare. Since “television” is Greek for “vision from afar”, Clare was chosen as its patroness. We pray to her each day at Salt and Light, so that we may bring the flavor of the Gospel and the light of Christ to many people.
In on one of his very memorable weekly General Audiences (January 27, 2010), Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Poverello of Assisi: “In reality, some historians in the 19th century and also in the last century tried to create behind the Francis of tradition, a so-called historical Francis, just as there is a desire to create behind the Jesus of the Gospels, a so-called historical Jesus. Such a historical Francis would not have been a man of the Church, but a man linked immediately only to Christ, a man who wished to create a renewal of the people of God, without canonical forms and without the hierarchy. The truth is that St. Francis really had a very immediate relationship with Jesus and with the Word of God, which he wished to follow sine glossa, exactly as it is, in all its radicalism and truth. It is also true that initially he did not have the intention of creating an order with the necessary canonical forms, but, simply, with the Word of God and the presence of the Lord, he wished to renew the people of God, to call them again to listening to the Word and to literal obedience to Christ. Moreover, he knew that Christ never is “mine” but always is “ours,” that “I” cannot have Christ and “I” cannot reconstruct against the Church, his will and his teaching — but only in communion with the Church, built on the succession of the Apostles, is obedience to the Word of God also renewed.
…[Francis] knew always that the center of the Church is the Eucharist, where the Body and Blood of Christ are made present. Through the priesthood, the Eucharist is the Church. Where priesthood, and Christ and communion of the Church go together, only there does the Word of God also dwell. The true historical Francis and the Francis of the Church speaks precisely in this way also to non-believers, to believers of other confessions and religions.”
Watch this beautiful movie on our network this weekend to see Benedict’s words come alive in a magnificent production of two the world’s greatest and most beloved saints. Complete air times on our network are as follows (all times Eastern):
June 23at 9pm & 1am
June 24at 1pm
June 26at 9am
June 27at 9pm & 1am
June 28at 12:30pm
June 30at 9pm & 1am
July 1 at 1pm
July 3at 9am
July 4at 9pm & 1am
July 5at 12pm