The Purple Rose of Cairo


n 1993 while doing the forty day IgNation retreat in Guelph, one homily stays in my memory. Father Shano was talking about how God invites us into relationship. To strengthen his point he showed a short clip from Woody Allen’s film: “The Purple Rose of Cairo.”

It’s about a waitress Cecilia played by Mia Farrow, who frequently goes to the movies to escape her bleak  life, and loveless abusive marriage. She’s invited by a character on the screen to join them. “You mean me? You want me?”

Although this movie plot is pure  fantasy, the notion of being invited to join, to be included,  parallels what we believe as Christians happens upon baptism. We are anointed as worthy. As hard to believe as it sometimes is, it’s not fantasy. Unlike the actor playing a part, God actually exists.

In contemplating my elderly life, I understand membership in our Catholic community more fully than ever. While it’s good to hear the invitation of a religious authority figure to tell me I’m wanted, even without that, count me in.


John Montague earned his Master of Divinity from Regis College, University of Toronto. He is an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He has a Master of Social Work, and, until his retirement, provided counselling to individuals, couples, and families. For seventeen years he organized a Day of Reflection for Catholic parents of lesbian daughters, gay sons, and transgendered children.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 12:57h, 10 June Reply

    Thank you John!

  • Dianne Musgrove DOS
    Posted at 16:37h, 10 June Reply

    Thank you for the blog insight, isn’t strange we spend our entire lives looking to be wanted and from the moment of our creation we have always been wanted by our God, and it takes getting slower and older to finally realise all the blessing He has given us along the way to show us day in and day out , we are still “wanted| and loved. Blessings to you and your confreres in the work you do to help us learn/know that truth.

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