The Powerful New ‘Cabrini’ Reminds Us God Isn’t Done With America

By Jason Scott Jones Published on March 6, 2024

I know too many fellow believers and patriots who have swallowed what some call the “black pill.” That is, they’ve let frustration, fear, and indignation consume them, to the point that to protect themselves from further disappointment, they now embrace despair. They dwell on each piece of genuine negative news, and each rumor or ominous warning, with almost a perverse glee. Like Job’s “friends” in the Bible, they advise us to “curse God and die.”

As someone who has for decades worked in the front lines of the pro-life movement and opposed our country’s useless wars inside elite GOP circles, nobody could accuse me of being some Polyanna optimist, or of refusing to face the darkness and ugliness that confront us every day. But in the midst of depressing headlines and high-profile betrayals, I hold onto hope. And more frequently than you might think, I’m consoled by genuine evidence that the tide has turned in our favor — that God has not washed His hands of us, and that we might turn out like penitent Nineveh, not Sodom.

Hope in the Shape of Film

Sometimes those nuggets of hope come in the unlikeliest shapes. One of them is the career of my friend, the filmmaker Alejandro Monteverde, whose latest work, Cabrini, is the gorgeous story of a saint. Powerfully filmed and brilliantly acted, Cabrini shows how supernatural faith can overcome the grimmest obstacles our fallen world throws before us.

The young, sickly Francis Xavier Cabrini forms a religious order and crosses an ocean to offer love and care to thousands of new Italian immigrants, in a Gilded Age New York City which treats them like disposable, cheap labor at best — and a sinister threat at worst.

That movie opens officially this weekend, though thousands have already screened it. The Stream’s John Zmirak reviewed it for Chronicles magazine, noting how it highlights the Catholic Church 100 years ago using its own private funds to heroically minister to legal migrants — rather than profiting massively by trafficking migrants in illegally, on the taxpayers’ dime, as our Church sadly does today.

A Grateful Immigrant

To me, Cabrini is the latest development in an astonishing cinematic career. It is the work of a grateful legal immigrant to the U.S. who loves our country enough to gently but firmly examine even the darkest sides of our history — and affirm that what’s noble and good about America can triumph. And will triumph, I think, based on the powerful resonance Monteverde’s films have had, one after the other.

The first film was Bella, on which I served as executive producer. That film won the Toronto International Film Festival’s People Choice Award. An honest drama, it showed a lonely, broke American woman with a crisis pregnancy finding hope and deciding to choose life. What few people have noticed was what in the film conveyed that hope to her: an experience with a beautiful, loving, and faithful Latino family. In fact, Bella was the first American film in history, I think, to make such a family its hero. That film explored one of our country’s grimmest realities, our throwaway culture of death, but showed us the way out and through.

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Monteverde’s second exquisite film was Little Boy, set during World War II. That film depicts two twin evils that afflicted the U.S. simultaneously: the hideous reality of Japanese militarism afflicting the peoples of Asia and killing American boys, and the panicked reactions of the U.S. government. That is, the mass internment of thousands of patriotic American citizens and legal residents of Japanese descent, followed by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The film shows how the young son of an American P.O.W. suffering at the hands of the Japanese befriends an elderly Japanese-American facing bigotry and possible internment. And yet, for all the evils it confronts, the film is almost a Norman Rockwell painting come to life — a passionate depiction of basic human decency and the basic goodness of America and its system.

Most of you are likely familiar with the next film Monteverde made, which came out just two years ago, after Hollywood sat on it and tried to censor it for nearly a decade. Sound of Freedom goes into the very darkest places imaginable, exploring the world of child sex trafficking in our underground economy — a vile abuse now being made vastly worse by America’s refusal to secure our southern border. (Indeed, one star of Sound of Freedom, Eduardo Verastegui, who also starred in Bella, wrote a column for The Stream making just that point.) But as always, there is still hope. Sound of Freedom tells the true story of Americans who risk death at the hands of human traffickers to affirm the truth that “God’s children are not for sale.”

If immigrants can come to this country and find in it the profound goodness that Alejandro Monteverde has — values that resonate with millions of Americans — then we can’t be as far gone as we sometimes fear. In fact, we’re on the side of Natural Law itself, the structure of human nature, and the will of almighty God. That should carry us through the No Man’s Land of the next few ugly, partisan months, and whatever crosses we find we might have to carry until they pass.

 

Jason Jones is a film producer, author, activist, popular podcast host, and human rights worker. He is president of the Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization (H.E.R.O.), known for its two main programs, the Vulnerable People Project and Movie to Movement. He was the first recipient of the East Turkistan Order of Friendship Medal for his advocacy of the Uyghur people. Jones was an executive producer of Bella and an associate producer of The Stoning of Soraya M. His humanitarian efforts have aided millions in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and the Ukraine, as well as pregnancy centers and women’s shelters throughout North America. Jones is a senior contributor to The Stream and the host of The Jason Jones Show. He is also the author of three books, The Race to Save Our Century, The World Is on Fire, and his latest book The Great Campaign Against the Great Reset. His latest film, Divided Hearts of America, is available on Amazon Prime.

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