Christmas movie – A Boy called Christmas

This is an old timey tale about a young boy named Nikolas (Henry Lawfull) who lives in the woods with his father Joel (Michiel Huisman) in long-ago Finland. At Nikolas’s request, Joel frequently retells a story about a young girl named Lumi and her journey to a magical land called Elfhelm. This idyllic life is interrupted when the king (Jim Broadbent) orders the hardiest villagers to travel beyond the borders of their kingdom to bring back something that inspires hope. Whoever does so gets a reward—and Joel knows his family of two needs the dough.

Joel sets out on a mission to find this vague idea of hope, leaving Nikolas in the “care” of his truly terrible aunt Caroltta (Kristen Wiig). But when days turn into weeks and there’s still no sign of his father, Nikolas decides to set out and find him and Elfhelm. The kid brings his trusty pet field mouse Miika along and begins his epic quest.

Book Review – Morality for Beautiful Girls

Mma Ramotswe’s business, the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, has clients but needs to cut costs and increase revenue from fees. To reduce costs, she and her fiancé Mr JLB Matekoni decide to move the agency to the garage, which has plenty of office space. The original office will in turn be let, to add income. Mma Makutsi, secretary, is given the title of assistant detective, with a rise in pay. Mr JLB Matekoni is behind on his paperwork, which Mma Makutsi can organize. He has been lethargic lately. Mma Ramotswe realizes he needs help, and sets out to help him. He will not agree to see the doctor, so Mma Ramotswe asks Mma Potokwane of the orphan farm to step in. Mma Potokwane brings him to Dr Moffat who diagnoses him as having depression, for which he steps back from his garage while medications begin to work. Mma Makutsi takes over management of the garage and the useless young apprentices, making the apprentices accountable for their work, and making rapid business decisions to make good on the garage’s name, Speedy Motors. She shows her strong management skills from the first hour of taking over her role as acting manager. The young apprentices are impressed with her, and how she applies her detective skills to solving some of the auto problems that the apprentices cannot solve.


Despite Kentucky tornadoes, Virgin Mary statue still stands

The deadly storms that hit nine states in the Midwest and the South produced an image of a statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child, seemingly untouched outside the damaged building of Resurrection Catholic Church. The statue is still standing, though the windows and doors are blown out and the roof missing.

A photo of the statue published by the Evansville Courier & Press newspaper shows the statue outside the Dawson Springs church building, which suffered far more severe damage.

A series of storms and tornadoes passed through nine states, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri and Tennessee, late Friday and early Saturday morning. Western Kentucky was hardest hit, with 74 deaths confirmed there as of Monday. Northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, and northwest Tennessee also suffered heavy damage. Across all affected states, the confirmed death total was 87, making the storms one of the deadliest in U.S. history, according to the Washington Post.

Pope Francis approves miracle attributed to a French nun who will be made a saint

Pope Francis has approved a miracle attributed to Blessed Marie Rivier, a French nun who founded a religious congregation amid the French Revolution.

The miracle involved the healing of a newborn baby in the Philippines in 2015 through the intercession of Rivier, who can now be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church.

The baby girl was healed of hydrops fetalis, according to Vatican News. This is a life-threatening condition in which there is a buildup of fluids around the lungs and heart.

Pope Francis authorized the advancement of Rivier’s cause, along with five other causes for sainthood, in a decree on Dec. 13.

Rivier was born in southern France on Dec. 19, 1768. She suffered from a disability for much of her childhood after falling out of bed as a toddler and seriously injuring her hip.

The injury impaired her development, causing her joints to swell and her limbs to shrink. Rivier could hardly stand with the help of crutches, according to the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Her health problems also hindered her desire to enter religious life. At the age of 17, a religious order, the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Pradelles, turned her away on account of her poor health.

Rivier persevered and the following year she opened a Catholic school in the town of Saint-Julien-en-Genevois on the Swiss border. She helped to train unemployed women in her parish and cared for the sick and the poor.

As the French Revolution forced convents and monasteries across France to close and priests and nuns were martyred under the Reign of Terror, Rivier founded a religious community.

In 1796, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, which was dedicated to education of young girls in the faith. The congregation received official approval in 1801 and expanded across France.

Within a few decades of Rivier’s death in 1838, her congregation had spread to Canada and the United States. Today the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary are present on five continents.

At her beatification in 1982, Pope John Paul II spoke of the ardor of Rivier’s apostolate during and after the French Revolution and her faith amid physical infirmity.

The date of Rivier’s canonization has yet to be announced.