A congregation of Missionary Sisters in Colombia is suing a television network to prevent the airing of a series about its founder and Colombia’s first canonized saint, Sister Laura Montoya Upegui, claiming that it presents a false picture of the saint’s life.
In a statement, the order argues that Caracol Television’s 25-part drama, titled “Laura: An Extraordinary Life,” includes fabricated scenes of the nun’s life that distort her history and character. The first episode of the series was broadcast on July 29.
For its part, the television network claims it is narrating the extraordinary life of a woman “of strong convictions who challenged the rules of the society of her times.”
The Sisters claim that it is false, for example, that Laura had a boyfriend before founding the Congregation or that some men of her time criticized her physical appearance. Nor do they care for the “tasteless dialogues” in which she talks about her alleged qualities as a future wife.
The statement adds that the series will “encourage viewers to consider the incidents described as true and real,” which simply isn’t the case.
The sisters also take issue with the fact that they were not consulted during the drafting of the script and that they never authorized Caracol to use the name of the saint.
Sister Ayda Orobio Farm, spokeswoman for the community, explained that the order tried to gain access to the script before the filming of the series but never could. She said their intent was to avoid just the sort of fictional scenes that were included in the series, and that would be misleading for viewers.
Pope Francis canonized the Colombian nun on May 12, 2013, saying that she had been an “instrument of evangelization” and was “like a vanguard of the Church.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome