Newsroom (July 31, 2021 8:03 AM- Gaudium Press)- Dr. Josephine Lombardi, Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, is an award-winning author, a documentary filmmaker, and a professor at St Augustine Seminary of the Archdiocese of Toronto. She wrote, produced, and directed her most recent work, “The First Lady and Her successors,” a documentary about Our Lady, prophecy and victory. The film results from long years of research and a deep relationship with the Mary, the Mother of God.
Our Lady and ‘the New Eve’
“I wanted a story to unfold, from beginning to end, because story telling is a very powerful tool to connect with people,” -she explains. As per the unique characteristics of the title, “The First Lady and her successors,” Dr. Lombardi notes that “it captures two key Marian titles: Our Lady and ‘the New Eve’. The first is a title of respect and great honour; the second refers to Mary’s being, revealing to us God’s intended plan for all of humanity, being created in the image and likeness of God. So Mary reveals to us, she says, what it is like live without fear and to reason without fear. It gives us an insight into God’s intended plan for us in the beginning, before the Fall. So that is why Mary should be called the First Lady, because She is the “First Lady of Creation.” Moreover, the title of the film reflects a deep spiritual meaning for women. “In the very beginning of the book of Acts, -she points out, -when we hear of the Apostles hiding and waiting in the Upper Room, and also as early Fathers of the Church like St Maximus the Confessor show us, we realize how much Mary was actively involved with the Apostles. So anyone who strives to be like Mary, and desires to be of one accord with the Spirit, inspired by God’s grace, is a Marian Successor.”
An Instrument of Evangelization
The film also aims to be an instrument of evangelization for all Christian communities: “When it comes to Catholic Christians, I hope the movie makes Mary real, accessible, not limiting the experience of Mary to a statue, that they see Mary as a real person like us who lived like us, suffered like us, who rejoiced like us, and who overcame fear, someone whose faith was bigger than her fear. I wanted them to see her like a real person, like a living example of a life of grace, showing women that they can be like her. She worried like us; she struggled like us. She witnessed the death of her Son, including all the misunderstandings, the slander and the abuse. Mary can be a real source of comfort for all men and women. Yes, we have Marian dogmas and they are important, but I thought it was important to start with the basics of Sacred Scripture. It helps bring Mary to life in terms of her earthly experience. Sometimes we jump from a statue to dogma. And that is too much. Not everyone has theological training. Our language is too technical and unless you are trained to understand and interpret it, you are not going to be fed by it. Start with Sacred Scripture and from there we can develop our understanding. The next step can involve unpacking the Marian Dogmas, and how they are connected to Sacred Scripture and to Tradition.”
A movie for all christians
And for other Christians? “For other [non-catholic] Christians, -Dr Lombardi explains- especially those Christian communities who have abandoned Mary because they believe Catholics worship her, they, too, need to be catechized regarding Mary’s role in salvation history. We, Catholics, do not worship Mary; we honour her because she is the Mother of the Messiah. In the last decade or so, I noticed how other Christian communities have expressed a renewed interest in Mary of Nazareth, making her an exciting topic for dialogue. I am hopeful that the film will speak to them as well, helping them to see what we see in Mary. And why it is so important to have a beautiful feminine presence in our lives, that complementary energy matters, exposing us to a nurturing, maternal presence. My hope is the film will enrich all Christians, not just Catholics, that God will use the film for evangelization purposes.”
The film can be watched on-demand by visiting Dr. Josephine Lombardi’s website and the narration is available in eBook format with the title Living with the Rosary Expanded edition. The eBook is available on the home page of Dr. Lombardi’s website.
The author encourages groups to have group viewings and retreats where they can watch the film together, and they can unpack the deeper meaning of the Mysteries together. Groups are also welcome to contact Dr. Lombardi for a zoom Q&A where they can ask questions about the movie.
Compiled by Gustavo Kralj