“I believe to work with God according to His will, one can’t be too sane.” – Sister Maria Rosa
Preach, Sister Maria Rosa.
The new documentary With this Light, follows Sister Maria Rosa Leggol, a nun in Honduras for over 70 years. In a landscape of systemic violence and toxicity, Sister Maria Rosa has faithfully served her people by helping children escape poverty and oppression. Through her commitment to education and social reform, she has helped over 80 000 children break the cycle of poverty and move forward into a healthier tomorrow.
Directed by Nicole Bernardi-Reis, With this Light lives up to its name by shining a spotlight on a woman who helped change a nation.. Although she may not be well known, Sister Maria Rosa has left an impact on the nation of Honduras that demands attention. Dedicating her life to elevating the young men and women of her community, her efforts to help for young people on the street by creating housing and education is nothing short of remarkable. Although Sister Maria passed away several years ago, multiple interviews with her reveal the impact that she has had on those around her.
While young men are certainly welcome in her facilities, Light‘s emphasis seems to be young women. By following three young women who have lived under her care, Light reveals the treacherous toxic masculinity embedded within the culture. From sexual assaults to masculine bias, the film points to a nation that are dominated by machismo. As such, women become oppressed and violated by those in roles of power. As such, Sister Maria Rosa works tirelessly to help anyone in need in any way they need it.
And, quite frankly, the work is never finished.
Sister Maria Rosa’s ministry is not only about the people they have, but also on the people that they don’t. With an intent to elevate care for those outside of their homes, there is an openness to all who need help within their facility. To sister Maria, Faith is rooted in action. She believes that faith owned is faith lived. Her spiritual passion frames the way that she views the entire nation.
Interestingly, there is a huge emphasis within this film on the concept of moving forward. While this certainly refers to the lives of the young people to whom she has been ministering, so too does it also speak to her passion to continue to reach out. What began as a few simple homes to help local girls has become a massive facility that has the support of the nation and its people. Housing, job training and education are all key building blocks that have reached over 80 000 young people within their reach. In many ways, it’s rare for a ministry of this type to the impact on the government that she did. However, her passion for her faith led her to make an impact, even at the government level. Despite the boldness of her work and vision, Sister Maria Rosa has no fear of violence (including bullets, as she says).
Instead, what she fears is not continuing to serve.
However, With this Light is not only about the work of one woman but how her life inspired others to pick up the mantle. This is a film that reminds people that even the smallest of people can change the world, especially if they are driven by faith and vision. in this way, the film is an invitation to participate in changing the world, one person at a time.
To Sister Maria, every individual matters… and every individual can help bring change.
With this Light is available on VOD on Tuesday, August 15th, 2023.