The Knights of Columbus’ new documentary on Mother Teresa premiered at the Vatican Wednesday evening, and the makers of the movie are hoping that it will teach the younger generations about the woman — and now-saint — who dedicated her life to serving the poor.
David Naglieri, the film’s director, told CNA’s sister agency ACI Prensa in an interview Wednesday that there is a generation of young people who don’t know much about Mother Teresa, not having had the benefit of seeing the saint in real life.
“I felt like this film was very, very necessary today to remind people of this incredible life and also the incredible work that continues to be done by the Missionaries of Charity,” Naglieri said. The Missionaries of Charity are the religious community that Mother Teresa founded in 1950.
Patrick Kelly, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, also spoke with ACI Prensa about the film’s ability to teach young people about St. Teresa of Calcutta.
“Our first principle is charity,” Kelly said, speaking about why he supported the film. “So, it's natural that we would look to Mother Teresa as an example.”
“But I think the most important reason is that this film will introduce Mother Teresa to a whole new generation of young people who don‘t really know her,” he said. “They’ve heard of her, but they have no living memory of her.”
Kelly said that the Knights offered a showing of the film to seminarians earlier in the week. The seminarians were under 10 years old when Mother Teresa died, he noted.
“So they really don‘t know who Mother Teresa was, and I think that’s the real reason why we‘re doing this, because she had such a profound impact on all of us who remember her and we want to convey that, pass that, to a new generation,” he said. You can watch the film’s official trailer below.
The film's premiere was held at the Vatican Film Library. Attending the showing was Kelly; Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC, postulator of the cause of canonization for Mother Teresa; Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, dean of the College of Cardinals; Cardinal James Michael Harvey, Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, and Joe Donnelly, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Pope Francis was not present at the showing. However, Kelly said he gave a copy of the film to Pope Francis in a private meeting with him the morning of the premiere.
“His eyes lit up about the film,” Kelly told ACI Prensa. Pope Francis told Kelly that he, also, hoped the film could reach a younger audience.
In theaters Oct. 3-4, Mother Teresa: No Greater Love is airing in more than 960 locations across the United States. Featuring footage from five different continents, the film displays the life of the 20th-century saint and the impact both she and her Missionaries of Charity have had on the people they have served throughout the world.
“The Missionaries of Charity are not publicity seekers,” Naglieri told CNA in an interview Aug. 23. “So, to have the opportunity to highlight the incredible work they do and the way that they live the Gospel, I think this story can positively impact people’s lives and draw them closer to their faith.”