One of the most memorable images from 9/11 was Reuters photographer Shannon Stapleton’s pieta-like snapshot of rescue workers hoisting the lifeless body of Franciscan priest Mychal Judge from the rubble at the World Trade Center. Judge died when debris fell on his head after following firefighters into one of the two buildings, though some may remember several sources reporting that it was a person’s falling body that killed him. Saint of 9/11, though, does not have room in its heart for such gruesome minutiae and postulations, focusing instead on the reality of Judge’s awe-inspiring humanity. The film feels very much like a funeral reception, allowing Judge’s friends and family to come together to remember a man who rejected the indignities of the world by going every place he felt God needed him, like standing by the sides of AIDS victims cast off by the Catholic Church during the early ‘80s and tending to the grief of families who lost loved ones when TWA Flight 800 went down off Long Island in 1996. The film only scrapes the surface of this foot soldier’s personal life—his early years, alcoholism, homosexuality—but it does grapple with the way his personal identity shaped his righteousness: A chaplain for the FDNY who was beloved by everyone people around him, Judge never disclosed his sexual identity to his firefighter friends for fear that their biases would allow them to lose sight of his spiritual mission. The diversity of the man’s goodness is something we can all learn from.
- IFC Films
- 91 min
- Glenn Holsten
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