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The Lessons of Sister Victoria
The cover of the documentary features a photo of Sister Victoria who recently passed away.
At 7 p.m. this coming Wednesday, Feb. 1, “The Lessons of Sister Victoria,” a Gale Largey documentary film, will be shown to the public for free in the Grand Community Room at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts at 104 Main Street in Wellsboro.
Released in 2014, Largey researched, wrote and produced this one-hour and 57-minute documentary about the influence the Benedictine Sisters of St. Joseph’s Convent had on life in St. Marys, Pennsylvania.
At its peak in the 1950s, there were nearly 150 slsters in the convent. They epitomized their motto “Pray and Work,” teaching students at three parochial grade schools, a high school and a music and art academy. In addition, they administered the local hospital and a home for elderly women.
By January of 2014, only 17 sisters remained and it became necessary to close the convent and move them to other locations.
The first part of the documentary focuses on Sister Victoria, capturing her warmth and strength as she talks about what she taught her students. Her lessons included Prayer is Friendship with God…Everyone is Equal…Angels Offer Comfort from Pain…Honor Motherhood…Help People in Need…Protect God’s Creation, the Environment…Trust is a Virtue…God is the Best Medicine…and, That Judgment Day May Come at Anytime.
The second part of the documentary includes interviews Largey conducted with former students who were asked to tell anecdotal stories about life in St. Marys during the 1950s as a reflection of the lessons they learned from Sister Victoria and the other Benedictine sisters. Some are interesting, others humorous or touching.
The film suggests that the sharp decline in the numbers and influence of religious sisters since the 1950s has been the source of significant changes in the beliefs and behavior of Catholics in American society.
Largey will introduce the film and point out interesting aspects about its production. After the showing, he will host a question and answer session with the audience.
The Grand Community Room is located on the second floor of the Deane Center and is handicapped accessible via a ramp into the lobby from Main Street and an elevator in the lobby that takes people to the second floor.
More Largey films will be shown for free at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, Feb. 22 and March 1 and 22 and Saturday, May 20.
Donations are appreciated and will be used to support the Deane Center and its programs. For more information, call the Deane Center at (570) 724-6220.
Writing: Diane Eaton