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I’ll never forget the first movie night I went to at a local Catholic church. I must have been in middle school or early high school, and I went with some friends. They were showing a movie about St. Rita in the church basement, and serving snacks in the back. I remember loving the snacks, and … not loving the movie. It seemed a little cringey and kept dragging on and on.
Although I’ve always loved reading about the saints, I’ve been wary of movies about saints ever since that evening. But there are some good ones out there. And learning about the lives of people who loved Jesus first in their lives is a great way to grow in your faith.
Here are my favorite saint movies to watch, linked to where you can watch them, and some saintly snack ideas to munch on while viewing!
This movie about St. Joseph Cupertino, the flying saint, is my favorite saint movie of all time. Yes, it is in black and white, but don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a try. This movie is in English and under two hours (a majority of saint movies are at least three hours, and subtitled). It keeps you engaged, entertained, and edified the whole way through.
Snack idea: A caffeinated beverage, like some bubbly soda or any drink that lifts your spirits and puts some pep in your step (although if you’re watching this before bed, skip the caffeine and just do something carbonated)
I often imagine that God wants me to go on some grand adventure in order to follow Him, when in reality I am really supposed to hone in on loving the people right next to me in my current city, neighborhood, family.
St. Philip Neri learns that lesson too, but his gusto in loving his neighbor is next level. Not only does the actor who plays St. Philip do an awesome job, but the many children in this movie are phenomenal as well. This movie is in Italian and has subtitles.
Snack idea: A comforting soup so you can eat along with the kids near the catacombs when they enjoy their miracle pot of soup on screen
Ever hear conflicting things about Vatican II in the Catholic world? This movie about Pope St. Paul VI helps put the council in perspective–giving it context with how the world was at that time. Watch how Pope Paul VI approached the question of “will the church allow contraception now?”
A moment that stuck with me was when a priest asks to be laicized because he is in love and Paul VI responds with, “My son, when did you stop praying?” A great way to get to know a more recent saint and pope.
Snack idea: Something vaguely Italian, maybe toast with Nutella or biscotti and coffee
This is a movie I loved as a child and as an adult. Yes, it too is black and white. Yes, it is great.
Snack idea: Something with a nod to France, like a baguette and a glass of wine. And some bottled spring water!
This is a story in eight one-hour episodes, and it’s in Spanish. It draws you into the life of Teresa, a great mover and shaker in our church. I didn’t think I’d want to watch eight hours on her life, as I already know and admire St. Teresa. However, this one grabbed me and kept me. The scenery of her life in this film is beautiful to boot.
Snack idea: Pretzels and candy Rolos (the caramel as a nod to her order: the Carmelites!)
While Sr. Clare is not a saint (yet!), the story of her life is beautiful and uplifting. She died several years ago, so this biography on Youtube features a lot of actual footage of her daily life. Because of this movie, my husband now wants to name a child “Clare.” Keep tissues handy for your eyes. Bonus, it’s under two hours.
Snack idea: Something vaguely Irish and fun, like a bowl of Lucky Charms (or the vastly superior knock-off brand: Marshmallow Mateys)
All you holy men and women, pray for us!