The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

bing crosby ingrid bergmanIt’s like Sister Act 2, except Whoopi Goldberg is played by a balding white man in his forties.


OK, let me just stack this up for you:

There was Alexander the Great.

There was Genghis Khan.

And there was Bing Crosby.

All three have enjoyed world domination, and at least one of them sings quite the rousing version of “I’m an Old Cowhand from the Rio Grande.” (And I would know because it’s currently sitting in my iTunes library.)

Both Bing Crosby and director Leo McCarey won Oscars the year before for a movie called Going My Way (a movie which largely inspired this whole blog, by the way). The Bells of St. Mary’s is the sequel to that movie.

For this film, Ingrid Bergman was added to the mix. You know Ingrid. She was in another hum-“ding”-er called For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The Bells of St. Mary’s was ridiculously popular at the time and ended up becoming the most profitable movie in the history of RKO studio. It was also nominated for a whole slew of Academy Awards…which is a nice way of saying it didn’t actually win any. Actually, it did win the Academy Award for “Best Sound, Recording” so that could be a game-changer for all four of you in the world who care about that.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: I know I said this movie was like Sister Act 2, but it’s more like the latest Hunger Games movie. For one thing, it’s a sequel. And for another, it has singing. Third, there is a nun who gives a child boxing lessons. (Sorry to spoil that scene if you haven’t seen Mockingjay, Part 1 yet…)

ingrid bergman bells of st marysFor me, the climax of this film hits when Sister Mary Benedict says a tearful prayer to help her forgive the person who has turned her life upside down and find a way to accept her situation:

Dear Lord, remove all bitterness from my heart. Please help me to see thy holy will in all things. Please…please help me.

Prayer is a very prominent part of this movie. And while we cannot make demands of God or change His will, we can secure for ourselves, through faith-filled prayer, the blessings God already has planned but that are conditional on our asking for them.

And as we pray, we must be willing, as Sister Mary Benedict, to give up what we think we want for what God knows we really need.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” — Matthew 6:10

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