AMISH GRACE highest rated LMN event ever: more than 4 million viewers

AMISH GRACE was viewed by more than 4 million viewers yesterday making it the highest rated Lifetime movie premiere ever. It won all demographics (meaning more than women).

AMISH GRACE will air again this Thursday and Saturday: check local listings.

For those asking about the DVD, it is in the works (this was planned from the beginning; will post the release date when it is available.)

AMISH GRACE premiere’s tonight; check out the reviews

AMISH GRACE, premieres  tonight on the LMN (8ET/5PT). I just received this list of reviews for the Lifetime television movie with a note from the executive producer, Larry A. Thompson, expressing hope that “…  tonight’s broadcast will inspire many and awaken them to the healing powers of faith and forgiveness.” This is a story for all seasons, but what a way to begin Holy Week and Passover.  You have time to set your TiVo’s and DVR’s if you won’t be at home or record it so you can go back and savor it. -Sr Rose

Lifetime Movie Network

Selected Reviews

And News Items

March 28, 2010

Christian Science Monitor

Amish Grace


“This is a gentle, well-crafted, made-for-TV movie about a difficult subject done with dignity, insight, and yes, grace.”

Click here: Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff / The Christian Science Monitor –

Preview Online

by Phil Boatwright

“Riveting, emotionally stirring, a powerful television experience.”

“…a penetrating examination of the concept of true forgiveness.”

Click here: And on TV… Amish Grace

National Enquirer

Amish Grace

by Len Feldman

“…this is a masterfully acted, written and directed emotional powerhouse of a movie…”

Catholic Exchange

Amish Grace:  A Time for Forgiveness

by Sister Rose Pacatte

“Amish Grace is a powerful television production that belies its simplicity.  The performances are strong, unadorned, and credible.  The filmmakers avoid explicit violence by suggesting it instead.  They chose to make a movie about, and with, grace and they have succeeded.  As I watched the film, I just let the story wash over me and I could not stop crying.”

Click here: Amish Grace: A Time for Forgiveness | Catholic Exchange

Also on Sister Rose’s weblog:

Click here: Amish Grace on LMN March 28 « Sister Rose’s My Movies Weblog

Huffington Post

Amish Grace is a Story of Grace Under Fire

By Jackie K. Cooper

“The overall theme of the film is one of forgiveness and love.”  .”  “It is a performance with range and shows Kimberly Williams-Paisley’s growth as an actress.”  “Tammy Blanchard can convey an enormous range of emotions with just her body language.”  “An inspiring movie and a totally believable one.”

Entertainment Tonight

Amish Grace

by Mark Steines

“…an inspirational true story of forgiveness”

Catholic On-Line

By Leticia Valasquez

“Tammy Blanchard is passionate as Amy Roberts”…”Highly recommended for the whole family

Click here: Review of “Amish Grace” – Catholic Online


Amish Grace – TV Review

by Brian Lowry

“The most compelling reason to tune in is Blanchard, who — after CBS’ “Sybil” remake and “Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows” — conveys the pain of a woman who keenly realizes it’s not merely her own life that’s been devastated.”

“Onscreen depictions of the Amish have a way of feeling stilted, unless Harrison Ford happens to be in them. To their credit, the filmmakers seek to go beyond that, capturing in a more generic sense how religious faith can help people endure when confronted by such a horrible and capricious act.”

“…if thee like the occasional tearjerker, thou hast good reason to watch.”

Click here: Amish Grace Review – TV Show Reviews – Analysis Of Amish Grace The TV Series

Hollywood Reporter

Amish Grace – TV Review

By Randee Dawn,

“Bottom Line: Effective and heartfelt”

“To the credit of the screenplay, the dialogue works, relying less on Bible quotations than gently espoused faith.”

“The story is assisted by solid, convincing acting — including a moving turn from Emmy winner Blanchard as Amy Roberts. It’s almost impossible not to tear up when the Amish first approach her or when they turn up later at Charles’ otherwise sparsely attended funeral.”

“Amish Grace” is an effective, heartfelt take on walking the walk and talking the talk. By avoiding peachiness, it proves that one can live a religious ideal — even in the face of disbelief from an entire outside world.”

Click here: Amish Grace — TV Review

Amish Grace:  Coming to a Greater Understanding of God’s Grace

by Dr. Ted Baehr and Jeff Holder

“Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Ida gives a terrific performance”…”The story is well written and moves along quickly”…”Amish Grace is a gripping story that is profoundly touching and contains a message of grace that is sure to inspire.”  “It will bring many to tears and many more to a deeper understanding of God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ.”

Click here: ‘Amish Grace’ – Coming to a greater understanding of God’s grace

Lifetime Moms

by Nicole Smith

“It was harrowing, exhausting, and amazing to watch this story unfold…It will move you to understand how faith and forgiveness go hand in hand to help people move beyond the most difficult and heart wrenching experiences…It’s forever changed my views of how to have faith and how to forgive whenever I feel forgiveness isn’t an option.”

Click here: My Connection to “Amish Grace” the LMN Original Movie Airing March 28

Catholic Exchange

Forgiveness, Not Just An Amish Grace

by Patti Maguire Armstrong

“Amish Grace is a portrayal of how forgiveness can overcome tragedy.   Emotions are shown as very real but something that can be guided by Christian teaching if one has the desire.  It’s a movie both simple and complex in Bible teachings.”

Click here: Forgiveness, Not Just An Amish Grace | Catholic Exchange

World Magazine

Supernatural Reaction

by Megan Basham

Blanchard’s performance as a shattered woman overcome by miraculous love is gripping.”

Click here: WORLD Magazine | Supernatural reaction | Megan Basham | Mar 26, 10

by Angela Walker

“Amish Grace is Amazing”

“Movies about tragedies have a challenge: to walk the fine line between over-dramatizing and sensationalizing an event, or under-dramatizing an event, denying the impact it had on the victims. The producers of ‘Amish Grace’ maintain a fine balance, never really straying to one side or the other in their portrayal of the events at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.”
“In contrast to so many of today’s fast-paced thrillers and procedural shows, the story is allowed to unfold gracefully.”

“Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Matt Letscher, both familiar from television series, give finely-tuned performances in leading roles as Ida and Gideon, the parents of one of the dead girls.”
“In this graceful retelling of the event that brought forgiveness to the forefront of world news, we’re reminded that although the words of the Lord’s Prayer sound simple, the actual accomplishment of them is not easy.”

Click here: Amish Grace review by Angela Walker

Parents Television Council

Best TV Show of the Week

by Ally Matteodo

Click here: Best Family TV Shows of the Week – Amish Grace on Lifetiem — 03-26-10

Additional Quotes

“Well-acted and moving. A story that drives home the incredible healing power of God’s forgiveness.”  – Bob Hoose, Focus on the Family

“Tammy Blanchard…gave a wonderful and very believable performance. 5 stars for her!” Crystal Elwell – The Mungle Show

“Director Gregg Champion shows us individual Amish families struggling with their loss in often heartbreaking ways.”

“As we approach Easter, and consider the cost God paid to forgive us of our sins, ‘Amish Grace’ is a timely tale.”

“My hope is that ’Amish Grace’ will inspire more people to live their faith out loud…”

Christian Post – Marc Newman

“This movie shows a realistic response through characters who forgive even while also suffering incredible pain, anger and even guilt.”

“’Amish Grace’ serves as a great reminder that forgiveness can be a long, ongoing journey, but always one worth taking.”

Charisma Online – Leigh DeVore

The Patriot News

Amish Grace Movie Fictionalizes Nickel Mines Tragedy, Generates Debate

By Ivey Dejesus

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Amish Grace poor retelling of Lancaster County tragedy

by Rob Owen

Click here: ‘Amish Grace’ poor retelling of Lancaster County tragedy

Read more:

Amish Grace on Lifetime Movie Network

by Francine Brokaw

Click here: Amish Grace on Lifetime Movie Network: Based on a True Story

Lifetime Moms

Amish Grace Explores the Question:  What Is Unforgivable?

by Lindsay Maines

Click here: LMN’s “Amish Grace” Explores the Question: What is Unforgivable? | Lifetime Moms


Behind the Scenes of AMISH GRACE: A Universal Story About Dealing with Anger and Grief By Jeff Holder, Managing Editor

Click here: Behind the Scenes of AMISH GRACE: A Universal Story About Dealing with Anger and Grief

New York Daily News

Amish Grace Gets To the Heart of Faith

by David Hinckley

Click here: Lifetime’s ‘Amish Grace’ gets to the heart of faith

New York Times

TV Movie on Amish School Shooting Draws Criticism

Click here: TV Movie on Amish School Shooting Draws Criticism –

The Blade

Toledo, Ohio

Amish Grace Producer says controversy based on misinformation

by David Yonke

Click here: — The Blade ~ Toledo Ohio

New York Post

Grace Under Fire

by Linda Stassi

Click here: Lifetime movie ‘Amish Grace’ comes under fire for its fictional treatment –

New York Post

Grace Notes:  Amish Have Mercy on School Shooter

by Paige Albiniak

Click here: ‘Grace’ notes –

USA Today

Click here: Movie on Amish school shooting draws criticism –

Local Amish express concern over Lifetime’s ‘Grace’ (video)

by Peter Mergenthaler

Click here: Local Amish express concern over Lifetime’s ‘Grace’ (video) – York Dispatch


Transforming Forgiveness

by Sister Rose

Click here: Transforming forgiveness: ‘Amish Grace’ |

Producer Larry Thompson Delivers Amish Grace

Click here: Producer Larry Thompson Delivers “Amish Grace”

By Aaron Barnhart

The Kansas City Star

Click here: ‘Amish Grace,’ Lifetime’s docudrama about 2006 school shooting, gets everything wrong –

River View Observer

Click here: River View Observer » TAMMY BLANCHARD “Amish Grace” Actress Follows Her Yellow Brick Road

National Catholic Register

Amish Grace:  Forgiving our enemies

by Steven D. Greydanus

Click here: Amish Grace: Forgiving Our Enemies | Blogs |

Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley Finds Inspiration in Amish Grace

Kelley Mathews

Click here: Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley Finds Inspiration in Amish Grace,

CT Entertainment

A Story of Grace, Forgiveness and . . . Doubt?

by Laura Leonard

Click here: Christianity Today Entertainment Blog: A Story of Grace, Forgiveness and . . . Doubt?

National Catholic Reporter

Without Forgiveness: There’s no room left for love

by Sister Rose Pacatte

Click here: Without forgiveness, there’s no room left for love | National Catholic Reporter

The Street – Jim Cramer

Kimberly Williams-Paisley Stars In Lifetime Movie Network’s Original Movie Amish Grace

Click here: Kimberly Williams-Paisley Stars In Lifetime Movie Network’s Original Movie Amish Grace | Press Releases | Financia


Click here: Interview: Karley Scott Collins of ‘Amish Grace’ – Movie Mom


Amish Grace – Video Review

Click here: Amish Grace | Guideposts

Tidings Online

Transforming Forgiveness

Sister Rose

Click here: Transforming forgiveness: ‘Amish Grace’ |

Stations of the Cross: praying with today’s pop music

Every year Cornerstone Media releases a CD of the traditional Stations of the Cross complimented by a brief selection from a pop song that reflects the themes of prayer and life.  Actually, it comes with a whole kit of resources.

I listened to this year’s CD on the way home from the Religious Education Congress last Sunday. What a way to make holy the task of driving for an hour in Los Angeles traffic.

As I listened and prayed I reflected on how catechisms and youth ministers, indeed anyone leading the Stations of the Cross, could transform this practice into a relevant spiritual moment. If you visit the website you will discover the many applications. The first thing I wanted to do was to prepare a PowerPoint of visuals to go along with the CD (which can be paused to add reflection time). Then lo and behold, you can actually download PopwerPoints from the website, too.

Some of the artists included are Shakira, Carrie Underwood, and 12 others. A second CD has reflections that you can use as a guided meditation for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Cornerstone Media has been producing “The Dirty Dozen (The 12 worst songs of the year) and Psalm 151 (the 21 best value songs of the year)” for sometime now. The 2009 edition is available now.

I don’t think I can say enough how important these resources are for religious education, catechesis, evangelization, and so fourth. All ministries. The exercise of focusing on values in popular media can lead all of us to be more media mindful, to discern our media choices, and once we choose, to make meaning from the media we experience. To ask what the story means, does it make a difference, how can I make a difference?

Of course, it is understood that each person reflects on and articulates the values they live by first of all.

Cornerstone’s mission is faith formation, to integrate discernment skills with popular culture, spirituality, and scripture.

I once heard Anna Scally, president of Cornerstone Media, speak to a group of Catholic communicators. The most important thing she said, if I recall well, is that we are to honor our students, our young people. If we honor young people, our whole attitude and ways of relating changes. To honor their music may seem more of a challenge, but there is a lot to savor and contemplate in popular music.

Now I look forward to listening to the Scripture Themes & Popular Music CD kit and The Gifts of the Holy Spirit 2 CD kit.

Amish Grace on LMN March 28

Kimberly Williams-Paisley in “Amish Grace”

Amish Grace: A Time for Forgiveness

Television movie review by Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP

On Palm Sunday, March 28, the Lifetime Movie Network will premiere a made-for-television film about the October 2, 2006 shootings of ten Amish schoolgirls in Nickel Mines, PA: “Amish Grace”.  Five of the girls, aged 6-13, died at the hand of an “English” milkman, that is, non-Amish, known to all the children. Charles Carl Roberts, 32, took his own life as state troopers prepared to storm the school.  Then, in the immediate aftermath of such tragedy, the Amish parents and community forgave  Roberts, astounding the media and people around the world who watched the story unfold on their televisions.

The film respects the facts of the event, but takes some artistic license in order to explore the Amish belief in unconditional forgiveness as well as their practice of shunning, which seems to contradict the act of forgiving.  When the Amish community extends forgiveness to Roberts and then visits his wife Amy (Tammy Blanchard) to console her and her children for their loss, Amy is astounded. But one Amish mother, Ida Graber (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), tells her husband, Gideon (Matt Letscher) that she cannot forgive the man who murdered her daughter, Mary Beth.

Ida accuses Gideon of making Mary Beth’s life and death cheap by his “easy forgiveness.”  He replies by telling her that the Lord does not ask them to follow an easy path: “… faith when everything is the way you want it is not true faith. It is only when our lives fall apart that we have the chance to make our faith real….”

This fictionalized account of those events takes its name from the 2007 non-fiction book  “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy”, by three Amish scholars, Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher.  Executive producer Larry A. Thompson said in an interview that even before he obtained rights for the book Kraybill had explained that the authors would not be able to consult on the film. This was due to their close relationship to and respect for the Amish community that lives “plain” and does not seek notoriety nor approve of film and photography.

Thompson, a television and film professional, is a life-long Catholic and member of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Los Angeles. He explained that his reasons for making the film emerged from his reflection on the words of Jesus in the Our Father. “When I heard about what happened to these Amish children, I recalled that I have prayed these words all my life, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. I don’t think I really understood what they meant until I heard of this astonishing and powerful story of how the Amish people forgave. Their actions made me realize what God has really asked us to do as Christians. I talk the talk; these people walk the talk.”

Two documentaries made by Catholic filmmakers take the events at Nickel Mines as their point of departure to explore forgiveness.  The Big Question: A Film about Forgiveness (2009), directed by Vince DiPersio, was produced by Paulist Productions ( and The Power of Forgiveness (2008) by Martin Doblmeier, Journey Films ( Both films look at forgiveness from various religious, spiritual, and philosophical perspectives and are available from

“Amish Grace” is a powerful television production that belies its simplicity. The performances are strong, unadorned, and credible. The filmmakers avoid explicit violence by suggesting it instead. They chose to make a movie about and with grace and they have succeeded. As I watched the film, I just let the story wash over me and I could not stop crying.

“Amish Grace” airs on Palm Sunday, March 28, at  8ET/5PT on LMN. Check local listings for reruns during April and May.

Religious Education Congress 2010

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It is with great enthusiasm that you are invited to share in the experience of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress 2010.


We know that not everyone can make it to this annual event of over 40,000 Catholics, so we are hoping to bring the event to you this year.   Simply, login to                    Religious Education Congress Live anytime between 8:30 am – 10 pm PST on Friday, March 19th or at 3:30 pm on Sunday, March 21st.  You will be able to experience everything from prayer experiences to workshops!  Also, join us on Facebook  Religious Education Congress FACEBOOK or  Religious Education Congress TWITTER (with hash tag #REC2010) to let us in on how the experience is for you while hearing from others onsite throughout the weekend!

Don’t forget that Sr Gretchen Hailer and Sr Rose Pacatte are presenting on saturday, March 14:
Session 4-10

Eight Ways to Navigate “Our Media World”

Kids K-8 are immersed in their preferred media zones; catechists already know this. “Sister Catechist” and “Sister Media” will share with us what they have recently concocted in their media mindfulness lab in this highly interactive presentation. Whether you share faith as a parent, catechist, Catholic schoolteacher, scout leader or Vacation Bible School director, join the sisters to learn exciting new ideas to help kids make wise media choices. Handouts will be provided.

Gretchen Hailer, RSHM

Sr. Gretchen Hailer, a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, is a lifelong catechist practitioner and author. She has been engaged in faith formation of children, youth and adults for over 40 years, and focused in media literacy education since 1975. Sr. Hailer was a member of the staff of the Office for Religious Education for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, and headed their media center. She presently is a retreat facilitator and spiritual director.

Rose Pacatte, FSP

Sr. Rose Pacatte is Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, located in Culver City, Calif. As a media literacy education specialist, she is a national and international speaker on the subject. A Daughter of St. Paul, Sr. Pacatte is the film/TV columnist for St. Anthony Messenger magazine and a contributor to the National Catholic Reporter. Her most recent book is “Our Media World,” with Gretchen Hailer, RSHM.

City of Angels Film Festival March 12-14 Directors Guild of America, Los Angeles

Check out the film slate at The City of Angels Film Festival

There will also be an alternative track

Founder’s Forays into Film

Saturday, March 13

hosted by the City of Angels Film Festival co-founder, Scott D. Young.

Theater 3, Directors Guild of America

1 pm FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES Director, Gerald Peary

Documentary on the (melo)dramatic story of film criticism

“a fascinating look at the vibrant personalities who changed the way we look at film”  Chris Gore

Screening followed by panel discussion: “Writing On Film”

Panel Moderator: Scott Young

Panelists: Claudia Puig, USA Today film critic, Scott D. Young, and Sr Rose Pacatte, FSP, film journalist and author


KILLER OF SHEEP  Director, Charles Burnett

Considered one of the finest student films ever produced. Selected as one of the 100 Essential Films by the National Society of Film Critics.

“an American masterpiece,independent to the bone”   Manohla Dargis, New York Times

Post-screening discussion: Scott Young


MULHOLLAND DRIVE  Director, David Lynch

Voted Best Film of the Decade by Film Comment (survey of 100 international moviemakers/critics/academics)

“Hypnotic”  Roger Ebert         “A Maniacal Thrill”  New York Times

Post-screening discussion: Scott Young

Open Culture – free classic movies (and more) online

Very impressive online access to some fantastic movies….

American Idol 2010 first prediction

I predict a girl singer will win this season; and so far Lilly is my favorite, though there are four others (at least) who are really good. Go girls!

Shutter Island

I saw this film yesterday and it haunts me still, not because it is a psychological thriller but because of how it questions the essence of what it is to be human and who has the power to define humanity and the human condition.

A friend suggested that I look at it through the lens of Flannery O’Connor. I am still pondering this but after seeing the film, I think it is a valid and rich approach. Watch this space.

Bl. James Alberione, founder of the Daughters of St. Paul, on cinema

Bl. James Alberione (1884-1971) believed in the power of the media to communicate God's Word and a culture of peace

“We need to put down the scissors of censorship and pick up the camera” because “the power of the cinema surpasses that of the school, the pulpit, and the press and always produces greater results.”

These are the words of Blessed James Alberione, who initiated his apostolate of the cinema and film activity on March 18, 1938.