The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.


Explore The Tree of Life: Film and Lecture

A friend and I watched the Terrence Malick film, The Tree of Life, in a Kansas City theater in 2011, when it was newly released and it has intrigued me and my family ever since.

Several of the people in the theater with us walked out. I had the opposite reaction: I came back with my family.

Benedictine College will host a showing of the movie The Tree of Life on Tuesday April 17 at 7 p.m. in John Paul II Center’s O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium followed by a lecture on Wednesday April 18 at 4 p.m. in Ferrell Academic Center’s Fourth Floor McAllister Boardroom by Dr. John Callaghan of Notre Dame. His lecture explores just how deeply the Malick delved into his theme.

Since seeing it for the first time I have been surprised how many college students call The Tree of Life — a challenging film — their favorite movie.

The film, starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Sean Penn, was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography and made more critics’ year-end lists for 2011 than any other film.

The film begins by quoting the Book of Job and then follows the fictional story of a tragedy in a 1950s family, accompanied by hauntingly beautiful choral and orchestral soundtrack.

“Jesus Wept: Misericordia in Augustine, Aquinas, and Malick,” the multimedia presentation by Dr. O’Callaghan coming to Benedicitne, explains just how significant even the soundtrack in the film is.

Dr. John O’Callaghan is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is a permanent member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas and past president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

Join us on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Tom Hoopes


Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II, The Fatima Family Handbook and What Pope Francis Really Said, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia and the Register. He lives in Atchison, Kansas, with his wife, April, and has nine children.