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Monthly Archives: October 2011

When October Goes

Saw this over at The Anchoress‘s place and had to hang it up at my place, too.  So lovely, so gorgeous.  I love autumn.  I love the quietness and peaceful feeling that the earth is slowly winding down, retreating within.  That’s why I love winter, too.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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China’s Shame: Two year-old Wang Yue Crushed Under Two Vans and Left to Die

at Catholic Online

Little girls are worth next to nothing in China.  Baby girls are killed on a regular basis in China.  We all know that.

Yet little YueYue’s story may finally succeed in accomplishing what up to this point has not quite been done:  bringing shame upon China for their abhorrent and violent treatment of their daughters.

The Chinese government routinely rounds up women who violate the 1-child policy by getting pregnant with a second child and forcibly aborts them, even well into the third trimester of pregnancy. Some mothers die along with their preborn babies. Sometimes they threaten and beat up fathers and husbands who refuse to cooperate; they threaten families’ homes and businesses; in short, they destroy people’s lives in every way they can — literally.  All for the sake of their evil, anti-human policies.

Yet inexplicably, this has failed to draw the international ire it deserves.  Even our own government tries not to really notice, and certainly goes out of its way not to criticize.  I don’t really expect intelligent or courageous talk from Vice President Joe Biden, but his political-correctness sank to an inexcusable low when he told the Chinese, “We understand.”

Perhaps Wang Yue, by her horrible, brutal death, will begin to arouse a disinterested world; perhaps she can revive the death-cold heart of her country by forcing the Chinese people to see her for what she was:  a human being; a helpless child they trampled and threw away.

On October 13, Wang Yue, nicknamed “Little Yueyue”, was crushed nearly to death in the street in the Chinese province of Guangdong.  She’d wandered out alone into the small street near her parents’ shop, and she was run over by a van.  The driver hit her and she fell under the front wheel.  The van slowed to a stop, and then drove on, crushing her a second time under the back wheel.

The driver never stopped again.

Now mutilated, smashed and broken, bleeding profusely onto the ground, Little Yueyue lay there as a total of 18 people passed her by.  The first man to encounter her practically had to step over her as he walked past.  He never stopped.  Others walking down the street stopped to stare for a moment before turning their heads and continuing on their way.

Her little arms still moving from time to time, she waited in agony for help.  Not a single adult who witnessed her suffering did anything to help her.  A 2 year-old child lay in the street crushed and dying, and no one would even acknowledge her there.

Then, unbearably, along came a second van.  The driver made no apparent attempt to avoid her, and she was crushed under the wheel for a third time.

As more people continued to pass her by, her blood flowed into the street.

Finally, an older woman carrying a trash bag sees her, set her bag down, and walked over to the mangled child.

She grabbed Yueyue by the arms and dragged her across the pavement, out of the way of oncoming vehicles and people.  Then, the child’s mother appeared, and she half-carried her dying child away.

Little Yueyue died of brain and organ failure on Friday, October 21.  The intensive-care doctors treating her said her injuries were too severe and treatment had no effect.

The entire, horrific, unspeakable scene in the street was captured on surveillance video and posted online for the whole world to see.  There can be no denying what happened to this child; no one can attempt to explain or rationalize or ask us to understand.

I watched the video and fought the intense urge to vomit.    The violence, apathy, callousness, and stone-cold indifference of the people who crushed and then ignored this little girl is sickening beyond words.  It will leave you shaken to the core.  If it does not, something’s very wrong.

We must call China to account for this act of brutality and inhumane cruelty.  Chinese officials may attempt to conceal from the eyes of the world their violent treatment of pregnant women, their destruction of preborn babies, their brutality against families who violate the inhumane one-child policy, but this, this they cannot conceal.

They cannot pretend it did not take place, nor shroud it in political language. The images and facts of Yueyue’s death give indisputable testimony to the truth that China has lost its humanity and its soul.

We can take some small measure of encouragement from the cries of outrage being voiced by many Chinese citizens who are asking what has happened to their country to cause such apathy in the face of a child’s suffering.

A BBC news story said that many people in China choose not to help for fear that they will end up being charged for the crime.  Without evidence to prove their own innocence, they will not interfere.

A professor of social science at Hong Kong University of Science “said he believed China’s political environment had ‘no tolerance’ for people with a social conscience.”

Can anyone still seriously question the destructive effects of a government that rejects the moral laws of human freedom, religious freedom, and the sanctity of human life?  Look at China: see what happens when people become mere instruments of productivity for the sake of economic prosperity.

Will the United States government now finally voice an unequivocal condemnation of China’s brutal and cruel human-rights violations?  What do you think, Joe?  Do you still understand?  How about you, Mr. President?  Any comment?

Be wary and pay attention, America, because China’s present could become our future if we do not cherish our freedoms and guard our hearts.

I saw a beautiful photo of Yueyue, her mother and her older brother, and the thought occurred to me, “Wait — she’s their 2nd child?  How’d they manage to have a 2nd child?”

Is it unreasonable to question whether perhaps this little girl was targeted and killed intentionally because she was her parents’ 2nd child?  It’s a chilling thought, but is it really an unreasonable one?

For now what we know for certain is that a little girl has demanded through her death the attention her country refused her as she lay bleeding in the street.  She died a victim of apathy and cruelty.  Shame on China!  Shame on every person who passed her by and ignored her.  Shame, shame, shame!

Rest now in peace, little Yueyue, in the loving embrace of your Heavenly Father.  Those who mourn your death beg your forgiveness and ask for your prayers.  Please pray for your lost country.

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Mighty Macs Review

at Catholic Online

In one of the opening scenes of The Mighty Macs, you’re looking down from the ceiling into the beautiful, massive rotunda at the entrance of Immaculata College.  It’s mostly empty and quiet, yet there’s a sense that something big is about to come to that grand hall.  “When next you see this space,” an unspoken voice seems to whisper, “it will be immortalized in a moment, and things will never be the same.”  And so this incredible story begins.

And what a story!  You might think was just fanciful screenwriting were it not based on the amazing true account of Cathy Rush and the Immaculata Women’s basketball team in the early 1970’s.

The Mighty Macs writer and director Tim Chambers presents the inspirational story of their unlikely rise to glory in a movie that fulfills both his own requirements: it honors the team and Immaculata College, and it’s suitable for the entire family to watch.  (In fact, he fought hard to maintain the film’s G-rating, when studio execs wanted him to add some cursing or some other “edge” to bring the movie to a PG-rating.  Chambers refused.)

Cathy Rush, played with great flair by Carla Gugino, is hired to coach the team, if you can call it that prior to Rush’s arrival.  The campus gymnasium had burned to the ground, and there was no money for equipment or uniforms.  Rush gets busy clearing out an old recreation room-turned storage unit, and a motley group of half-hearted players soon find themselves challenged both on and off the court, as Rush begins to open their eyes to possibilities they’d never imagined.

When Rush faces a rather dour and tough Mother Superior at her hiring interview, we get our first glimpse of her determination and focus.  Mother Superior asks her with a disapproving tone, “Are you suggesting that our girls will become athletes?”  Rush replies matter-of-factly, “If they want to win, yes.”

Winner of Hollywood’s triple crown – an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony award – Ellen Burstyn is both irritating and endearing as Mother Superior, the cranky old nun (okay, it’s a bit stereotypical) who has much bigger worries than basketball.  She’s trying to keep the college from being sold and fading into history.  Little does she know that Cathy Rush is the answer to her prayers or that history is indeed about to claim Immaculata College.

Rush gets some coaching assistance from an unlikely source – Sister Sunday, played by Marley Shelton – a nun who is questioning her call to religious life and finds new inspiration as she helps guide the team to victory.  Sister Sunday has a memorable scene with Rush in a quiet bar after an away game where she removes her habit veil and promptly gets hit on by a male patron.  The two have a humorous exchange, all innocent enough, but I admit to feeling a little bit disturbed at seeing a nun portrayed as hiding her vocation that way.

Newcomer Katie Hayek, in her first feature film, plays Trish Sharkey, the “star” player.  She describes how her audition for the role took place first on the basketball court.  For Tim Chambers, it was crucial that the actors’ basketball skills be up to snuff. Chambers knew that if the ball-playing wasn’t real and believable, the movie simply would never work.  All the “movie Macs” are basketball players in real life and it shows in the basketball scenes of the film.

Hayek’s character has some of my favorite scenes in the movie.  Her family is struggling financially, and early on we see Trish’s mother at the kitchen table mending Trish’s worn-out sneakers for her.  As Trish, clad in baggy denim overalls, is hurrying to get out the door, she slips two bread bags over her feet and borrows her brother’s wet boots to wear for the day.  The affection between mother and daughter is obvious and heartwarming.

Later in the film, the team is asked to wear their “Sunday best” for a newspaper photographer, and Trish is there in her overalls and scraggly hair, and the photographer tries to hide her in the back row.  Humiliated, Trish runs to the lock herself in the bathroom.  Her teammates gather in a quick huddle, then disappear, only to return armed with dresses, shoes, and makeup.  The janitor unlocks the bathroom door, and in a few minutes, they all come out smiling.  Trish emerges looking as beautiful on the outside as she’s always been inside, and she just glows with newfound confidence.  Half the people in the theater were wiping away tears, including me.

It’s a scene the really captures the unity and spirit of friendship that exists among the Macs, and real-life Mac Theresa Shank Grentz, on whom Trish Sharkey is based,  says their bond was indeed strong and remains so today.  “We had a virtuous friendship on the team.  We’d never disappoint each other.  When one needs the others, you call and we’re there.”

Chambers says that any good, inspirational sports movie uses sports as a metaphor for something else, something bigger.  What Cathy Rush did in 1972 for a humble women’s basketball team went way beyond elevating their game to a championship level; she elevated their hopes, their ideas about what their lives could be, about who they could be and what they could accomplish.  In the end, what the Macs achieved changed women’s sports in this country forever.

In an era where a son’s dreams were bigger than a daughter’s, Cathy Rush came along and said, “If you want it, fight for it.”  Dreams, she insisted, were not merely for the rich or powerful, nor were they only for men.  “Dreams are for everybody, but you have to believe it.”

I had the honor of attending the red-carpet premiere of The Mighty Macs in Philadelphia last week, and I was able to meet some of the real Macs, as well as Cathy Rush.  Mrs. Rush is gracious and charming; her delicate stature a surprising juxtaposition with her powerful legacy.  After leading the Macs to three consecutive National Championship victories, she concluded her coaching career at Immaculata with a stunning 90.9% win percentage.

The testament to Mrs. Rush’s influence is that her example led her players to achieve success in their own lives, with many of them going on to successful coaching careers of their own.  Others went on to become doctors, lawyers, and teachers – all of them paying tribute to Mrs. Rush’s mentoring influence.

Simply put, Cathy Rush taught the girls it was okay to want the prize.   And she motivated them to work hard and sacrifice for it, and to never give up.

That rotunda I mentioned earlier?  It marks a pivotal moment in the film when the prize seems all but gone, and the team is more demoralized than ever.  Having lost the game that would have sent them to the National tournament, the ladies arrive back at Immaculata late at night crushed by defeat only to learn that they’d won one of the four at-large bids and would indeed play at the Nationals.  (Of the 16 teams playing, the Macs were ranked #15.)

They walk into that rotunda expecting silence, and it absolutely explodes with the cheers and shouts of their fellow students.  Signs and streamers are everywhere, and in a flash, there’s a palpable feeling of hope and expectation.

Mrs. Rush described what it was like for her when they filmed that scene, which is not merely a dramatic screenplay invention, but really did happen:  “I was standing on the upper floor of the rotunda during that scene, and I looked down at Carla (Gugino) and our eyes met, and it was incredible.  I was overcome with emotion and tears.  It was like I was right back there in that moment in 1972.”

Amidst the deluge of movies that are full of offensive garbage, The Mighty Macs is a real treat and worth every penny of the ticket price.  It truly is a film you can take your young children to see without worry.  The entire family will love this uplifting movie.

I’m passing along a plea from the people who have labored for years to bring you this wonderful film:  go see this movie when it opens in theaters nationwide, Friday, October 21st!  Why does it matter?  Simply because opening weekend ticket sales are a big deal in the movie business.  If you want to see more movies that are free of explicit language, sex, and violence; if you want to see more films that are filled with virtue and inspiration rather than degradation and immorality, then you need to send that message loud and clear by supporting The Mighty Macs in the theater.

Visit The Mighty Macs website (www.themightymacs.com) for a listing of theaters in your area.
Get your tickets and get ready to cheer!  LET’S GO MACS!!

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Mighty Macs

I just bought our tickets for Friday!  Opening weekend for The Mighty Macs — go see it!  It’s a great family movie based on the true story of the Immaculata College women’s basketball team in 1972.  They surprised everyone by making it to the first ever National Championships for women’s college basketball.  What happened next changed women’s sports in this country forever.

 

 

You can take your kiddos to see this movie without worry.  It’s rated G, and lots of fun!  Get ready to cheer!

LET’S GO MACS!!

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Our Lady of the Rosary

A grotto outside a hospital in India.

Photo source

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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