Did You Know Disney Animated A Beautiful Prayer To Our Lady?

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Nearly 77 years ago, the first screening of the Walt Disney feature film Fantasia took place in the Broadway Theatre of New York. Since its first opening night on Broadway, it has gone down in history as a masterpiece and the pinnacle of animated film. The film is over two hours in length, that was incredibly ambitious for its time, and includes eight animated segments set to different pieces of classical music. The final segment, featuring Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” is a beautiful prayer to Our Lady,  that came close to never being shown in theaters.

The “Ave Maria” segment is the most beautiful of the film, and one of the most ambitious shots in animation history. It was the longest single animated take of its time, and involved moving a camera through a soundstage with a maze of illustrated panels. Walt Disney and his team were so rushed for time that the final footage for the scene arrived to the Broadway Theatre only four hours before the films first showing.

In the penultimate segment, entitled “Night on Bald Mountain,” Chernabog, Satan himself as described by Walt Disney, emerges during the night on the peak of Bald Mountain. (Mount Triglav in Slovenia) The evil figure arises to summon his minions: ghosts, demons, hags, and harpies. Chernabog and his underlings dance maniacally as he throws them into the mountains fiery pit. His antics are defeated when the town below Bald Mountain rings its bells, signalling daybreak, and Chernabog becomes the top of the mountain once again. After the audience descended into darkness, a procession of figures ascends them into light as they greet the coming sunrise.

In the segment, a long line of figures gradually comes into view in the front of village. The silhouettes each carry a source of golden light, and are eventually revealed to be nuns. They walk slowly throughout a sloping forest as the sky is gradually filled with light of day. The camera passes the procession, panning to the horizon and ending with the sun rising. While Walt Disney was originally conflicted whether to include Our Lady in the animation, he eventually decided on including only the nuns who emerge into “a blaze of morning light. Once again the powers of life and hope have triumphed over the hosts of death and despair.”

Watch the beautiful Disney animated prayer of “Ave Maria”:

Comments

20 COMMENTS

  1. I have the book that went with the movie. I have two them. I bought them at an estate sale after the death of two Catholic sisters. I did not know there was a video to go with the book of images and words.

  2. Thanks for the video and knowing at one time Hollywood had many devout Catholics and followings. So beautiful to see again and think about Our Lady!

  3. How times have changed! Where abouts in the journey Disney sold it’s soul to the dark arts of the Illuminati, only God knows.
    A beautiful peice of music.
    Billy, you may wish to re-think and pray about your decision to go to med school. Modern medicine, like most things which start as good and well intentioned, has been hijacked by the evil one and is now firmly in the hands of pharmaceutical company beaurocrats, with most doctors rendered as little more than drug company reps. Religious freedom is also under threat in many nations, with doctors being refused the right to dissent against abortion, contraception, euthanasia and more.

    • Mae, what if God is calling Billy to a vocation of medicine? What if God wants him to be a doctor? Consider 3 recent canonizations of medical doctors who lived their faith heroically while practicing medicine:
      1) SAINT JOSEPH MOSCATI
      The Holy Doctor of Naples – Medical School Professor who became a Saint
      Feast day: 16 November
      d. 1927

      Born at Benevento, Italy, 1880, Giuseppe Moscati, a lifelong bachelor, became a respected physician, researcher, educator, and administrator. He served as Director of the Pathological Anatomy Institute in Naples and reinvigorated the reputation of that organization. He also served as the Head Physician for the Hospital for Incurables in Naples.

      Doctor Moscati played an important role in the evacuation of mass-casualties during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Also he was charged with the care of some 3000 wounded soldiers in a military hospital during World War I.

      This physician’s generosity to impoverished patients was legendary. He was a role model for the students of medicine who learned from his example, as well as from his word. Here is a doctor who sometimes actually paid his patients! The story is told of how Doctor Moscati, on more than one occasion, on completing a house-call to the bedside of an impoverished patient, would secretly place a small gift of money under the patient’s pillow, to help with payment for medications and food.

      Saint Joseph Moscati, like his fellow physician saints – Saints Luke and Pantaleon – is considered a patron saint of bachelors. Like his fellow physician saint – Saint Rene Goupil – he is also considered a patron of those rejected by religious orders.

      Giuseppe Moscati died suddenly, while between patient-appointments, at the age of 46, in Naples, 12 April 1927. Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of Doctor Moscati’s canonization, said of him. “The man that today we invoke as a Saint of the Universal Church, presents us with a concrete realization of the Lay Christian ideal. Joseph Moscati, an executive physician, a great researcher, a university teacher of human physiology and of physiological chemistry, lived out his life of many tasks with all the will and seriousness that these intricate lay professions require. From this viewpoint, Doctor Moscati is not only an example to be admired, but, most of all, to be imitated by Christian physicians. He is an example, too, to those physicians who do not share his faith…”

      “Sick people are Jesus Christ’s creatures. Many wicked people, criminals, and false-swearers find themselves in a hospital by God’s mercy. God wants them to be saved! Nuns, doctors and nurses that work in a hospital have a mission: cooperating with God’s endless mercy, helping, forgiving and sacrificing themselves.” (written by Saint Joseph Moscati, Jan. 17th, 1922.)

      2) SAINT RICHARD PAMPURI, O.H.
      Short, but action-packed life — physician, military medic, dental officer, religious and victim of tuberculosis
      Feast day: 1 May
      d. 1930

      Born Erminio Pampuri in Northern Italy in 1897, Saint Richard Pampuri, the tenth of eleven children, was orphaned at a young age and raised by his kindly physician uncle. As a youth, he was a member both of the Third Order of Saint Francis and of the Saint Vincent dePaul Society. His medical studies were interrupted by military service in World War I, during which he served as a military medic – a Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps. His military service was marked by his compassion for the many badly wounded soldiers and his revulsion at warfare. “What a stupid waste of human life; so many wounded; so many broken bodies!” It was during his service on the front that Saint Richard contracted the tuberculous pleurisy that would lead to his own painful and premature demise. Returning at war’s end to the University of Pavia, he completed his studies, graduating at the top of his class in medicine and surgery. A physician known throughout the province of Milan for his generosity and kindness, Doctor Pampuri ultimately experienced an irresistible attraction to the religious life. He was received into the Hospitallers of Saint John of God (the Fatebenefratelli), and took the name of “Riccardo” – “Brother Richard.” He was placed in charge of a dental clinic for the poor, where once again Doctor Pampuri showed exemplary compassion and selflessness. Mothers brought their babies to be touched and blessed by him. In less than three years, recrudescence of his lung infection led to a painful death at the age of 32. Saintly no less in his dying than in life, Saint Richard was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1989.15

      Most recently, a priest of the Movement for Communion and Liberation is undertaking the construction of a chapel, adjacent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, dedicated to Saint Richard Pampuri. “..Because I was miraculously saved by him, and I want him to protect this enormous hospital, so he can answer those who, like I did, call on him in the certainty that he will respond.”

      Doctor Pampuri explained to his sister, a missionary nun in Egypt, “I always see Jesus in my patients, so it is He for whom I care, comforting Him who suffered and died to expiate our sins.”

      3) SAINT GIANNA BERETTA MOLLA
      Pediatrician, mother and saint
      Feast day: 28 April
      Died: 28 April 1962
      Canonized: 16 May 2004
      Saint Gianna Beretta Molla, a physician and pediatrician, was herself the mother of four. She rejected a recommendation to undergo a ‘therapeutic’ abortion late in the pregnancy of her fourth child, and died postpartum of peritoneal sepsis. In this sense, Doctor Molla is a pro-life martyr of maternal love. She had a special devotion during medical school in Italy to Our Lady of Desperate Cases.

      Saint Gianna provides an exceptional model for us Catholic physicians, in that

      she is the first woman physician to be beatified by the Church,
      while many other physician saints have achieved their sanctity outside the field of medicine, proceeding on, without spouse or child, to become a priest, missionary, martyr, bishop or even an evangelist, Blessed Gianna discovered opportunities to achieve holiness within the everyday practice of medicine and of family life,
      she attained her sanctity within dual roles, both as dedicated physician and as a terminally-ill patient in extraordinary pain,
      she joined the role of physician to those of wife and mother, and
      recognizing her professional and moral commitment to pro-life principles, Blessed Gianna was ready to risk sacrificing her own life in order to spare that of her unborn child.
      Saint Gianna advises us, “I have always been taught that the secret of happiness is living moment by moment and thanking God for everything that in His goodness He sends us, day after day.”,,

  4. Heaven. I had a very profound experience with Mary last night. And seeing this today just affirms it. Beautiful.

    Such a good Mother.

  5. Beautiful video of young lady singing for the Pope. Shocking Disney video…how times have changed!! Nice to see

  6. In case you did not notice, the lyrics in this version differ greatly from the original Latin or even the original English. These lyrics were written by Rachel Field (2years before she died) exclusively for the film, Fantasia. She deviates from the Latin but her lyrics retain a solemn, reverence that is appropriate. Here are the lyrics as sung in the movie clip:
    Ave Naria! Heaven’s bride
    The bells ring out in solemn praise
    For you, the anguish and the pride
    The living glory of our nights
    Of our nights and days
    The prince of peace your arms embrace
    While hosts of darkness fade and cower
    Oh save us, mother full of grace
    In life and in our dying hour
    Ave Maria

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