The Labyrinth: Freedom & Forgiveness Retreat October 30 in SoCAL

For more information about the film The Labyrinth

and an interview with producer Jason Smith The Labyrinth Interview

Ron Schmidt, SJ

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’ |

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.