O Sapientia

17 Dec O Sapientia

The Great O antiphons begin today and herald the coming of He who was born in a stable. Most films about the meaning of Christmas miss the point. There are some pretty poor films about religious faith and saints.

One of the worst films ever made is about the “reluctant saint” Joseph of Cupertino, the Franciscan fool of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, the UKIP wing of the Franciscan conservatives.

It is such a bad film it is actually inspirational. It also contains the best donkey scenes ever included in an inspirational bad holy film. From the very first scene, there are donkeys everywhere and the donkey is used symbolically throughout to underline the simplicity of Joseph the holy fool and stable boy. How a stable “boy” is played by a 30-something actor is part of the madness here!

Watch it with the family over Christmas and compare notes with the worst that mainstream broadcasting can offer.

Get out the rosary beads and start watching. The director was clearly as much a holy fool as Saint Joseph of Cupertino. I will be watching this film on Christmas Day. Just for the donkeys? No. For the true spirit of St Francis which comes across marvellously in this mad, badly scripted, awful but totally inspirational film.

The “New Evangelisation”? Eat your heart out! When Joseph starts flying off, levitating in the final scene, held down by his Father Guardian holding onto his habit, we can only believe it. There is no other option.

Deo Gratias. Probably.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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