As I am familiar with the life of this mystic I found the presentation unusual. The Black and White seem to highlight the imporant elelment of the story. It takes two viewings to really appreciate what is being said. I found it sometimes a little slow moving and perhaps understated and elements missed out but a very good introduction to this holy woman life.
The first English language DVD on the life and mission of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa, has just been released in England by the Catholic film company Mary's Dowry Productions. Two sisters, Bernadette and Emily Bevans, founded and run this company, and do almost everything themselves in the production and filming of the DVD's, even composing and playing the music for the soundtracks. Most of their DVD's to date have been about the lives of English saints and martyrs, but both sisters have had a devotion to Blessed Alexandrina of Portugal for some years, and so have been very pleased to make this film of her life and mission.
The DVD continues the unique style that has been developed by the Bevans sisters, using actors and sets to portray the characters and scenes. The set designed by the sisters for this DVD is very much like Blessed Alexandrina's room. The action scenes are interspersed with photographs taken at Balasar, and the DVD has mostly been shot in black and white, with colour sequences at the end, which adds to the atmosphere, bringing to mind the many old black and white photos taken of Blessed Alexandrina in her home, and the video footage of her undergoing Christ's passion. The film also features shots of flowers and the beauty of the countryside - things which were very close to Blessed Alexandrina's heart.
The narration is very clear in the DVD and the main events of the life and mission of Blessed Alexandrina are all covered. The DVD starts with a brief description of her birth and childhood, linking this with the Miraculous Holy Cross of Balasar, which appeared in 1832. Pictures of the Holy Cross and Blessed Alexandrina's home are skilfully interwoven with the acting scenes. The scene of the attack on Blessed Alexandrina and her companions is well executed and very moving. After the attack, the film then turns to the events of Blessed Alexandrina's life after her complete paralysis.
A recurring theme of the DVD is Blessed Alexandrina's devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist in all the tabernacles of the world, and her recognition that she had become a prisoner in her bed, just as Jesus has become a Divine Prisoner in the tabernacles for love of us. Instead of asking to be cured, she accepted Our Lord's invitation to become a 'victim soul', offering her sufferings to make reparation for the sins of mankind. The film mentions some of the appearances of Our Lord and Our Lady to Blessed Alexandrina, and also some of the attacks that Satan made on her.
Blessed Alexandrina's connections to the events of Fatima come across very well in the film, which mentions Sister Lucia of Fatima's links with Alexandrina, and especially the pleas of Alexandrina to 'pray the Rosary, make the First Saturdays, and consecrate yourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through the Brown Scapular' highlighting the Marian nature of Blessed Alexandrina's apostolate.
The DVD also mentions Our Lord's request to Blessed Alexandrina to undergo His Passion every Friday in reparation for the sins of the world, so that the Pope would consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, an act which in turn would shorten World War II. The Passion scenes in the DVD are very reminiscent of the original footage of Blessed Alexandrina undergoing the Passion of Christ. The consecration was eventually accomplished through the prayers and sufferings of Blessed Alexandrina. Although the consecration was made, Blessed Alexandrina's mission certainly hadn't come to an end, as Our Lord told her that he wanted her to live on the Holy Eucharist alone - again highlighting the Christocentric and Eucharistic nature of these events. The acting scenes are often interspersed with pictures of various tabernacles, which help to bring this point home. The story of Alexandrina should be an impetus to the reception of Holy Communion and Eucharistic Adoration, and the DVD stresses this point.
The film also highlights Alexandrina's connections with the Salesians and that she specifically prayed for young people. The horror of sin and the terrible suffering that Alexandrina underwent because of the sins of others is also brought home to us in this DVD. The film ends by showing the death of Alexandrina, and the Bevans sisters have lovingly recreated the famous photograph of Blessed Alexandrina after her death, surrounded by flowers and white gauze material. The final images of the DVD are some colour shots of Alexandrina's tomb and the parish church in Balasar, including a picture of the newly renovated tomb.
This DVD is a much welcome resource to introduce others to the life and mission of Blessed Alexandrina. The Bevans sisters have done a great job and it should come as no surprise that they won the 2010 Catholic Women of the Year award, which was started 'to pay tribute to Catholic women who give outstanding service to the Church'. This is a well-deserved accolade for them and their work.