Submitted by Sr Michelle fcJ and students at St Thomas More Junior High School in Edmonton
Students at St Thomas More Junior High School in Edmonton, Alberta began in October 2019 to create a video about the life of Marie Madeleine d’Houët, foundress of the Sisters Faithful Companions of Jesus. Meeting regularly after school for weeks, students enacted some of the key scenes from Marie Madeleine’s life. A great spirit of camaraderie quickly developed in the group, and it wasn’t long before students were actively making suggestions about props or backdrops that should or shouldn’t be used and about how best to depict the scene/s they worked on each day. Some scenes were shot quickly, but there were others that took 20 takes – ex. when Marie Madeleine’s father was arrested, the group dissolved into giggles time after time! As well, some scenes were more difficult to shoot. Without a proper coffin, students ended up using a chapel bench for Marie Madeleine’s funeral, with one of the smallest students in the school serving as the corpse inside!
After Christmas, a smaller, but very dedicated group of students met to work on editing the movie. This process took months. However these students never had to be reminded. They used every available moment during their lunch hour to complete the editing. When COVID-19 came to Edmonton, it meant an end to in-school classes, and so final editing was completed by Tech Teacher Gerrilynn Pavone. When the crew who had worked so diligently finally saw the finished video, it was from their homes, but they were thrilled. Our Grade 8 assistant director admitted that the final product brought her to tears.
It’s been an odd year, and certainly a strange process to finish making this video about the life of Marie Madeleine. I could not be prouder of the commitment and creativity of the students that made my dream a reality. It’s not an experience that any of us is likely to forget!
Sr Michelle, fcJ