This was just in the Michigan Catholic last weekend and I'm just now getting to it. I'm only providing the first part of the article, which was the lead story. There are many pictures in the original so do start out here, then follow the link at the end to continue reading at the Michigan Catholic.
You will recognize many familiar faces if you have been to any of the musical stage plays put on at Assumption Grotto. The talented actors and actresses are from various parishes around the archdiocese, and the director is none other, than Grotto's own, Joe Maher, who directed Palla Eius and The Heritance. It is being produced by Holy Trinity Productions (an offshoot of Holy Trinity Apostolate). Read below...
Romeo - Once Barbara Middleton read about the little-known sister of St. Therese of Lisieux, she knew she had to share Leonie Martin's life with others.
That project has developed into a 90-minute feature film involving 100 actors, dozens of crew members, a Romeo neighborhood, a veteran Hollywood filmmaker, a new production company and, most of all, the grace of God. "I have never been involved in something more fulfilling, and rewarding, and exciting," said director Joe Maher, referring to both the film, "Leonie!", and the musicals he's directed at Assumption (Grotto) Parish, Detroit, his home parish. "Nothing I ever did compares to the greatness of these things."
For the last week or so, the "greatness" Maher spoke of was taking place at a historic house in Romeo, already furnished with family pieces of the period, after filming earlier this month in a Warren school house. Middleton, who's the film's executive producer, talks of how the production has come together: People lined up to participate in auditions; she spotted the house on a drive around Romeo, and homeowner Diane Jesmore happened to be home that day; a neighbor offers to hold off mowing her lawn until shooting was done for the morning; a Lutheran church up the block gave the cast and crew full use of their basement.
Middleton, a member of SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Sterling Heights, said once she read about Leonie Martin, "she captured my heart." "I was so taken by St. Therese's sister," she said, and the problems she had - fevers as a child, learning disabilities, fits of anger, illness. "She had a lot of struggles."
pray to her daily for her intercession. "Her life touched me," she said. "Once I read about her, I decided we're going to do a story on Leonie."
So little is known about Leonie Martin, the book the production crew worked from, "Leonie Martin: A Difficult Life," had to be ordered from Ireland.
That lack of information doesn't stop Mary Rose Maher, a member of Assumption Grotto, who plays Leonie, from becoming the character during taping. "When I am in the habit, it's just a total transformation," she said. "I feel tranquility and peace."
As she's filming, she said, she looks to Leonie for her struggle to keep on going, since Leonie entered a religious order a total of four times before finding a fit for life. She never gave up, "no matter how much people told her no," Mary Rose Maher said.
Paige Pilarski, who plays Sr. Jean Marguerite, a friend of Leonie, agrees: "It's not only what she believed, but what she knew was God's will," she said. "She wasn't going to let anything on Earth stop her from that."
Continue reading, "Giving Life to Leonie" by Kristin Lukowski in the July 24th, 2009 Michigan Catholic. Once again, there are many photos in this excellent article about the upcoming movie in which many of our parishioners and friends from other parishes are involved.
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!