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Marcelina - How the movie story turned into reality!
Monday, 17 May 2010 Written by fra Ivica Perić


When I was young, and especially during my missionary days, I often enjoyed the wonderful Spanish movie from 1955 – “Marcelino, Bread and Wine”. I saw the movie, starring the famous child actor Pablito Calvo about a dozen times. My friar brother, the late Vjeko Ćurić, loved the movie even more. He saw “Marcelino, Bread and Wine” at least twenty times.

I do not know whether or not you’ve seen the movie, but the important thing to emphasize is that the movie deals with the friars who educated a child whom a woman left by the monastery door one cold night. The Friars, dedicated to their parishioners, did not know what to do with the child in the beginning. The guardian’s order was either to find parents for the child or to take him to the inn. The Friars did not have the heart to return the child to insensitive caretakers and they decided, honestly and awkwardly, to raise the child together. They baptised him and named him Marcelino.

It is a legendary scene from the movie when the little Marcelino, as a boy, in the friary attic, despite being strictly prohibited by the friar cook to go there, because “there is a big secret there”, discovered a large crucifix. Marcelino did not know what it was all about, but he felt sorry for Jesus and his misery, and so he promised to bring him food each day – bread and wine. And in order to fulfil the given promise, he had to “steal” bread and wine from the friar cook and take it to Jesus on the cross.

Marcelino and Jesus established contact, Marcelino shared his troubles with Jesus and told him how much he would like to see and meet his mother. Jesus hugged him and finally accepted him into his Kingdom... All the friars, who were following Marcelino to find out where the food from the pantry was disappearing, bore witness to the great miracle. Therefore, it is no wonder that the movie title was translated in many countries as “Marcelino’s miracle”.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, a few days ago, in Kivumu, we experienced a story with a similar beginning. The driver of the ambulance vehicle was rushing from nearby Gitarama to return the vehicle to our nuns.

At the entrance into the clinic complex he got out of the vehicle, intending to open the gate, when he heard a child crying. Lying there at the entrance was a baby, four days old at most, wrapped in rags. The driver did not even hesitate. He took the baby in his arms and walked with it to the sisters’ convent. Of course, the nuns helped him. After all, they, unlike us friars, know how to deal with children, so it was no problem to take care of the girl whom we immediately named “Marcelina” after the movie name of Pablito Calvo!

And we are all enjoying this new role. We are only worried, having learned from the movie experience of Marcelino - what if our Marcelina will “steal” bread and wine from our pantry when she grows older!?

Translated by:
Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

Father Vjeko Center

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