Monday, August 11, 2008
The Faithful Traveler and the Miraculous Medal Shrine
Two of my favorite books are Catholic Shrines of Western Europe and Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe, both of which are subtitled "A Pilgrim's Travel Guide. I have often wished for as comprehensive a guide to the United States. Lo and behold, here comes The Faithful Traveler to fill that need, beginning in Philadelphia.
I am not much for watching travel DVDs, unless they are those that Michael Palin has done with clever commentary and an interesting theme (such as traveling around the world in 80 days). However, Diana von Glahn sent me a review copy of this DVD so I dutifully sat down to watch it, expecting to sample a bit and skip around before quitting. Unexpectedly I liked it so much that I watched the entire thing, including extras, and then told Tom he will have to watch. (He is much less resistant to this sort of thing than I am.)
First of all, Diana's screen presence is charming. She is serious about the subject yet there is always the hint of an underlying merriment that is most inviting.
Secondly, I didn't expect this to be a partial Catholic history class with plenty of fascinating information about the origin of the Miraculous Medal as well as about the Philadelphia shrine. Additionally, in order to make sure that viewers understand the concepts well, there is are brief explanations of Catholic concepts along the way (such as why Catholics venerate Mary or that the medal is not superstitiously viewed "as a good luck charm"). This means that the DVDs can also be passed on to nonCatholics who might have questions or be interested in the shrine. A nice touch.
The music is contemporary Christian but is not some of the sappy, overly sentimental stuff that I shrink from hearing. It is either upbeat or heartfelt, but good.
My only critiques would be that the information on the extras page is not large enough to read easily and that the word "amazing" gets a bit overused. However, as a podcast who has found that her favorite "make a noise while thinking of what to say next" word is "and" I can understand this tendency.
The Faithful Traveler website is loaded with information, including a blog that has many pertinent facts that would be helpful when visiting a location. You can see samples of the dvd or order it here.