VidEos about Francis in the Schools

Francis in the Schools
Time: 92 minutes
Many children growing up in underserved urban areas face forceful challenges of life, including ethnic and social blending and a below-average standard of living. To help these children, Sufism Reoriented created Francis in the Schools, a nonsectarian, fun-filled day based on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Offered in the spirit of Francis, the program seeks to touch the hearts of children from neighborhoods plagued by poverty, crime, and neglect with Francis’s transformative message of love, courage, and joy.

This powerful film conveys the excitement of close to 300 children who gathered together in San Francisco’s National Shrine of Saint Francis to see an original musical play about Francis. Skilled actors dramatize scenes from his life, enriched with lively songs, dances, and puppetry. The children then enter the nearby Porziuncola Nuova, a superb replica of the little church that Francis himself rebuilt in Assisi, Italy. Pope Benedict XVI designated this replica a Holy Site, one of only five in the Catholic world.

Finally, the children are taken to a beautiful park where they discover a wonderful “Umbrian Renaissance-style Faire” staged just for them. Here we see scenes from different Faires, where the children are given a nutritious lunch and take part in face painting, flower-basket arranging, and games, and are entertained with a puppet show about Saint Francis.

In this charming film, Francis’s love for God, his kindness to all God’s creatures, and his love for the abundant beauty of the Earth are brought magically to life.

Day of Perfect Joy
Time: 78 minutes
“Powerful” … “overflowing” … “life changing” … “We have heaven here.” It was one of those moments in life when words seem inadequate. On an autumn morning in 2013, 1,400 inner-city schoolchildren, 400 volunteers, and one golden-voiced friar gathered together in Oakland, California, for a remarkable event – a concert and Faire designed to inspire, love, unity, and brotherhood. The event was sponsored by Francis in the Schools, a program founded by Murshida Carol Weyland Conner of Sufism Reoriented.

The children were from some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Bay Area. The volunteers were from California and places as distant as Washington, DC, and Hawaii. The friar, Alessandro Brustenghi, was from Assisi, Italy, where he’d spent a quiet life as a Franciscan monk until his gift for song thrust him into the international spotlight. In this uplifting film, we experience a day when “the air was filled with happiness”.

Sharing the joy of St. Francis
Time: 74 minutes
Follow more than 500 schoolchildren from inner-city Washington, DC, on a delightful day-long field trip as they discover the inspiring story of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis in the Schools is an innovative nonsectarian program designed to strengthen the core sense of self of children from backgrounds of poverty and underservice. This engaging program shows how the children’s hearts respond to the example of Saint Francis, “the poor one of Assisi”. Francis's qualities of compassion, courage, unstinting service to those in need, and unbounded love for all life are demonstrated—not simply in stories, but in the loving way each child is honored and served. The free Francis in the Schools program has been so successful in California that in 2014 founder Dr. Carol Weyland Conner was invited by East Coast school officials to bring the program to 1,750 children in economically disadvantaged areas of Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland. Today's program begins with an enchanting presentation of vignettes from Francis’s life illustrated by the beautiful music of international recording star Friar Alessandro Brustenghi, who made a special trip to America just to sing for the children. The concert is given in Washington in the magnificent Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.

Nearby Whitefriars Hall is the setting for the colorful and jubilant Umbrian Renaissance-style Faire that follows, where the children enjoy a tasty and nutritious lunch, games, dancing, singing, face painting, flower arranging, a puppet show, a beautifully decorated gift treat, and delightful talks with characters from Francis’s life. Over 300 volunteers from both coasts worked tirelessly for months to create this special “day of perfect joy”, to give these children the respect and love they are often denied, but so richly deserve. These children are our world’s future, and their smiling, laughing faces reflect their dawning awareness that if such a day as this is possible, then anything is possible!