Bella – Review

http://www.bellamoviesite.com/

Bella, released in 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival, is one of those movies that I really meant to see, but never got around to it.  Thanks to Netflix, I finally did, and wow, what a great movie!

The story, which takes place in one day, may get a little confusing as the backstory unfolds in flashbacks.  Jose, a soccer star who has just signed a lucrative contract, accidentally kills a small child and serves time in prison.  After his release, he works in his brother’s restaurant as a chef, where he meets Nina, a waitress who has a brief affair (not with Jose) which ends in an unplanned pregnancy.  Nina’s solution is to end the pregnancy, but Jose has other ideas, and Nina changes her plans (as shown in flash-forwards, confused yet?).  The subtle anti-abortion message is so powerful, that I can see why pro-life groups adopted this movie and helped to heavily promote it.  

I enjoyed the portrayal of Jose’s family and particularly his interaction with his brother Manny, whose compulsive reactions Jose responds to with calm dismissal.  Such as when Manny fires Jose, who simply walks out the back door of the restaurant, then returns the next morning and cooks Manny breakfast as if nothing happened.

My favorite scene has to be Jose, sitting with a rosary in his hand, while Nina is taken into the back of the abortion clinic.  It’s something you might miss, if you weren’t Catholic, but to me, it screamed the power of Our Blessed Mother’s intercession.

Bella is a story about imperfect people, living sometimes difficult lives and facing complicated choices.  It’s about the power of God bringing awesome good out of our human weakness.

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Catholic Education: Homeschool or the Parish School?

I read in our diocesan newspaper last week about how enrollment is dropping at Catholic schools.  People can’t afford tuition, there isn’t enough assisstance to go around, etc.  Families are disappointed that they have to pull their children out of the parish school and put them into public school.  Frankly, my enthusiasm for Catholic schools has waned since more of the teachers started coming from the secular and often non-Catholic community, and more of the students from non-parish and frequently non-Catholic families who could “afford the better education”.

Assuming that these same schools are keeping the tuition as low as possible, and that these same families are making sacrifices to come up with the money for their childrens’ education, such as giving up the extra car, the boat, the vacation home, the vacation, meals out, extra wardrobe, shoes, downsized house and lifestyle, and still can’t afford tuition, I have another suggestion – Catholic Homeschooling.

Homeschooling is far more economical than either tuition or public schooling (considering the expense of fashionable wardrobe/uniforms, supplies, backpacks, lunches and transportation).  A homeschooler’s primary cost is books.  There are many excellent Catholic curricula available now, far more than when I began.  And a family doesn’t have to use all of one program.  Materials can be mixed and matched according to individual needs and preferences.  Some families even use entirely free public domain and library materials.

Two working parents can teach, one parent can stay home (thereby saving the expense of working wardrobe, convenience foods and transportation for that parent).  Even single, working parents can homeschool – I am not suggesting parents need to be super heroes, either.  Homeschooling can take about as much time as the nightly sitcoms, and when done well, merges right into daily life and experience.

As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1653:  “Parents are the principal and first educators of their children”.  And again 2221:  “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute”.  As well as numerous other references in CCC 2221-2230.

I homeschooled my 3 grown children (two of whom recently graduated with Associate’s Degrees and transferred to universities) for several of the middle- and high school years, and am currently homeschooling my second grader.  I encourage anyone to check into this fantastic option for providing our children with a wholesome Catholic education.

Some places to start:  Homeschool Legal Defense Association – great resource for state laws and precedents regarding homeschooling.

Catholic Heritage Curricula – excellent Catholic education resources

The Homeschool Lounge – great place to meet other homeschoolers, get ideas, support and have fun!

Traditions of Roman Catholic Homes – another great site for support and ideas for Catholic homeschooling

Mrs. D’s Homestead and Around the Homestead – my other website and blog, where I discuss my country life and homeschooling

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