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Matthew 25

This series of films were commissioned by the Religious Orders of Queensland, Australia to celebrate their many years of faithful service of the people of God. The series uses the various elements of Matthew 25 and introduces us to extraordinary Religious who in ordinary, but extraordinary ways embrace the words of Jesus, “I was hungry and you fed me … a stranger and you made me welcome!”

Film 1: Beyond the Bars – Religious inviting freedom. “I was in prison and you came to see me.”

Part of the film series ‘It’s a privilege’ this film explores the extraordinary contribution Religious Sisters, Brothers and priests are making in the lives of people trapped in various types of imprisonment. Religious working in prison ministry, with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, with refugees and asylum seekers and with the elderly trapped by dementia and other forms of imprisonment are responding to the Gospel call, “I was in prison and you came to see me!” The Religious featured in his film are an example to all of us to go to those in our lives who are entrapped in poverty in its many forms. In this sacred space we are called to come as guest, to choose to be deeply present, to allow our hearts to open in compassion and then – we and the other will experience the gift of true freedom.

Film 2: No such thing as stranger – Religious in the Global Village. “I was a stranger and you made me welcome!”

Part of the film series, ‘It’s a privilege’ this film focusses on the words of Jesus, “I was a stranger and you make me welcome!” We live in such a divided world; rich and poor, black and white, us and them and more. These polarities create so much pain and division. This polarisation thrives on making the other into an enemy – into a stranger. But when with the eyes of love and compassion we truly see the stranger as our brother and our sister and when we break open story with them the energy of division fades away. We truly live in a global village where we are called into relationship with one another. At this privileged time on planet Earth sadly the Earth itself has become for too many a stranger as well. This film breaks open Matthew 25 and invites us to find life to the full when we welcome the stranger into our hearts in the myriad of forms that the stranger takes. 

Film 3: To love them all Equally

Part of the film series ‘Its’ a privilege’ this film’s title focuses on the words of Saint Marcellin Champagnet that we must love “them all equally!” The film focuses on the gift of presence in relationship. The film follows the presence of Sr Anne Cannon rsj within a school community. It is Anne’s presence within the community that is so powerful. Responding to the call of the Gospel the Catholic school reaches out to those most in need; the refugee, the asylum seeker, the Indigenous family and those marginalised within society. This film would be ideal for the staff of a school to reflect upon what they do and why. “I was hungry and you fed me!” “To respect the dignity of all!” Saint of the Cross MacKillop

The second part of the film looks at a Christian Brother, Br Phil Joyner, working with children in a Flexible Learning Centre for children excluded from mainstream education. We also meet a Sister of Mercy working with special needs children in Mt Isa and a Marist Brother creating a sense of community within a school so that they feel that “we love them all equally!” The film concludes with Bishop Mark Edwards OMI when he was Rector of Iona College – focussing on the hunger of youth for meaning and purpose within our world. 

Film 4 : Standing on the Shoulders

Charism and Gospel Governance for our time.

Part of the film series ‘It’s a privilege’ this film focuses on the role of Religious today and especially in the handing on of charism. The film looks at what Charism is. Charism expresses what we “are really on about.” Religious have always been at the cutting edge of the Church and are often the ‘itch’ in the side of the Church. How is mission ‘mission’ and not just a good work? Charism is a gift to the whole Church.

Through this film we meet both Religious and others who are fired up by a particular charism (Gospel insight). This film is future looking, not seeking to return to the past. Standing on the Shoulders is essentially about Governance. It explores both charism and ways of governing for this time that honour those who have gone before us – faithful to founding visions that reflect the Gospel.

As well as exploring issues of governance the film examines other creative ways of engaging with and belonging to charism for this time.

Film 5 : Someone to believe in. “I was thirsty and you gave me a drink!”

Part of the film series, ‘Its’ a privilege’ this films looks at the search for meaning and purpose. “I was thirsty and you gave me a drink!” The film takes us inside the Carmel at Ormiston and we meet the Sisters as reflect on their inner journey of prayer and love. Much of this movie reflects on our image of God and our God as loving father – who loves us just as we are. Our God is there for us, our God loves us – our God is love in our loneliness. A Sister of Mercy shares a beautiful story of an encounter she had with a difficult student who was longing for acceptance and belonging. Through her ‘presence’ and her deep belief in the young student the student found freedom. “I think she knew that I believed in her!” This thirst – to be loved and accepted – flows through this film. The God encounter leads these Religious to reach out to the lost one who is thirsting for love. The Religious who share with us through this film are a witness to discipleship, to what being a follower of Jesus is all about.

Film 6 : No other agenda “I was hungry and you fed me!”

Part of the film series, ‘It’s a privilege’ this film focusses on the gift of presence. So often it is not what Religious do but it is the quality of their presence with people on the margins of society. We meet Good Samaritan Sisters working on Palm Island, we meet a Brother working at Logan City and an Ursuline Sister in parish ministry. Much of the film focusses on the ‘hunger’ that people experience; hungering for acceptance, for belonging, for healing and for love. “To be with people on their journey!” One of the Sisters defines ‘presence’ as “pastoral loitering – being with the people. Walking with, being with the people”. Often the Religious in this film speak, from the heart, about just being with the people of God. For these Religious, ‘presence’ is not a duty, it is a ‘way of life!’

Film 7: Love in the Harsh Land “I was naked and you clothed me!”

Part of the film series, “It’s a privilege” we meet Religious living and working in communities in the outback of Queensland. Inspired by Catherine McAuley, Mary MacKillop, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Mary Aitkenhead and Edmund Rice these Religious women and men are called to be there in solidarity with the people in very isolated areas. In the midst of the harshness of Western Queensland so many people are longing for spiritual companionship on their journeys. This film is all about how Religious have walked with and broken bread with the ordinary people of the west.

Film 8: Education – “I was hungry and you fed me!”

Part of the film series, “It’s a privilege” in this film we meet Religious who in various ways have been involved in education. The film focuses on the gift of presence in relationship. The film follows the presence of Sr Anne Cannon rsj within a school community. It is Anne’s presence within the community that is so powerful. Responding to the call of the Gospel the Catholic school reaches out to those most in need; the refugee, the asylum seeker, the Indigenous family and those marginalised within society. This film would be ideal for the staff of a school to reflect upon what they do and why. “I was hungry and you fed me!” “To respect the dignity of all!” Saint of the Cross MacKillop

The second part of the film looks at a Christian Brother, Br Phil Joyner, working with children in a Flexible Learning Centre for children excluded from mainstream education. We also meet a Sister of Mercy working with special needs children in Mt Isa, and another who was profoundly touched by the people she walked with in an Indigenous community. The film concludes with Bishop Mark Edwards OMI when he was Rector of Iona College – focussing on the hunger of youth for meaning and purpose within our world. 

Film 9: Always two way – “I was sick and you visited me!”

Part of the film series, “It’s a privilege” in this film we meet Religious who engage with the innate dignity of the other. The film addresses the power and possibility of being guest and present to people who are sick and in nursing homes. In nursing homes we meet the ‘vulnerable Christ!’  “Visiting, a sacred mission of the Heart!” Sometimes silence, sometimes sharing tears together – but always honouring the innate dignity of the other. The film is profoundly about the power of story and of ‘wasting time’ with people. “I was sick and you visited me!”