Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

The real “September Issue” is grace
September 14, 2009

Photo by
Photo by

First of all, let me tell you about this photo. I asked Sr. Tracey (one of the sisters in my community) what image came to mind when she heard the word “grace”. She said the ocean, big, blue, all-embracing. I asked because I wanted to lead into this reflection with this image in mind….

Last Friday I went to see “The September Issue”, the story of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine, the biggest ever. The film also focused on Anna Wintour, the editor – some say that the Meryl Streep character in “The Devil Wears Prada” was based on her.

Although the film was about fashion, it turned out to be a grace-filled experience.

I wrote it for this blog and then thought to share it via my blog on the  National Catholic Reportersite. I invite you to click through to savor the moment.



“Confront the duck!”
September 1, 2009


The best line from Norah Ephron’s movie Julie & Julia is when Julie (Amy Adams) is watching Julia Child’s cooking show (played by the inimitable Meryl Streep.) Julie has spent almost an entire year cooking her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (co-written with  Simone Beck and Louisette  Bertholle in 1960).

Julie has saved that which she perceived to be the most challenging dish to last: roasting a duck.  Julia Child (Meryl Streep) begins the episode of her show on duck cooking by grasping the legs of a plucked duck and announcing, “The first thing to do is to confront the duck!”

I smiled when I heard this and thought, “This is what the whole movie is about: confronting ducks, our fears,  obstacles to growing up, to taking ones place in the world, to know oneself.”

 “Confront the duck” made me laugh.

For Julie, the year’s journey led up to this finale. If she was really going to finish at least one thing in her life: she had to confront that duck.

That duck was a means of grace for Julie. Once she confronted that duck, she was free to take the next best step in her life, including the disappointment that Julia Child didn’t think much of her blog or her project.

If I had been in Julie’s place, I would have wanted to hear Julia Child say: “Confront the fish!” But duck is so much … funnier.

Food movies are inevitably about grace because they are about creativity, sharing, nurturing, transformation, sacrifice, selflessness.

This blog will be reflections on divine grace in everyday life. I believe that God is the source of grace. As Catholics we believe that grace comes to us through the sacraments, those outwards signs of invisible realities, instituted by Christ. Food movies often suggest the Eucharist, in particular, the panis angelicum of the soul.

Grace grows with each good thought and action that people share with others beyond themselves.  Grace is that free gift of God that empowers us to be the change we want to see in the world (Gandhi.) Grace is there for all, without distinction. How people respond to this gift, or struggle with it, is the stuff of the best stories ever told.

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