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Dorothy Day Film, Entertaining Angels

Entertaining Angels covers the early bohemian and activist life and the later Catholic conversion of a woman many refer to as ôAmericaÆs Mother Teresaö, Dorothy Day (Rhodes). The film, directed by Michael Ray Rhodes, was produced by the Roman Catholic Paulist Fathers, a clerical order that promotes Catholicism through the media. The film is at its best when it portrays the early life of Day, a woman who drank heavily, chain-smoked, had affairs and an illegal abortion, and who actively fought for feminism and pacifism. In her 30s, Day searched for something deeper and more lasting for fulfillment and discovered Catholicism and life devoted to helping the homeless and dispossessed of New YorkÆs lower East Side.

With the aid of her mentor, Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker, channeling the profits from the successful publication to her Catholic organizations that helped feed and shelter the homeless and dispossessed. While the film does an excellent job at showing what Day did, it fails at showing who she was. For Day spent most of her life sleeping, working, and eating among the poor, but the producers portray her as pious and remove the very earthy qualities of DayÆs character that made her a true Christian.

Entertaining Angels portrays Day as pious and as one of GodÆs chosen. When she has a crisis of faith and heads to a nearby, vacant church to speak with God, the soundtrack plays ominous thunder at her entrance. Likewise, the Paulist producers show her crying her heart out in prayer to God during this crisis of faith. Such heavy-handed tactics are used only to remind audience members that even the most devout Christians can temporarily doubt but the Lord ultimately provides. In addition to these flaws, the filmmakers show DayÆs conversion but they show none of the emotional or spiritual forces that prompted the conversion. When Day discovers the Catholic Church is against her efforts, we are provid...

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Dorothy Day Film, Entertaining Angels. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:00, June 16, 2019, from