February 14, 2011

Queer Review: Saint of 9/11

Saint of 9/11
Director: Glenn Holsten
Narrated by Ian McKellen

The Saint of 9/11 tells the story of Father Mychal Judge, a Catholic priest and a member of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, 2001. This documentary shows all aspects of Father Mychal Judge's life and emphasis his outreach to the poor, homeless, recovering alcoholics, and those living with AIDS/HIV. Judge was a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department and was at the World Trade Center site when it collapsed giving aid to the rescue workers and the injured.

Notably, Father Judge supported the LGBTQA organization Dignity, even after after it had been banned by many diocesan churches. Furthermore, Judge himself identified himself as gay to many of his close friends and associates, although he remained celibate and closeted to the larger public.

Glenn Holsten's documentary about Father Mychal Judge shows the friar to be a man full of life and compassion for all. While Father Judge clearly loved all people and there can be no doubt that he was among the truly faithful, the greatest strength of Saint of 9/11 is that it makes every attempt to humanize Judge. There is no attempt to white wash Judge's life. For instance, we are shown Judge's struggles with alcoholism during the 1970's and the film does not shy away from addressing his sexual orientation and the reasons behind why he remained in the closet.

On the whole, Saint of 9/11 contains more then enough compelling material to warrant a recommendation and Father Mychal Judge's story is clearly one that should by known by all.

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