How the Rosary Led Jim Caviezel to Hollywood: “Our Lady's Hand Has Guided My Life”

Over the past year, Jim Caviezel made headlines for his role as Tim Ballard in “Sound of Freedom.”

But he is most well-known for his role as Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ.”

Caviezel is a devout Catholic and credits his success to the intercession of Our Lady. He unveiled his reasoning in a 2019 talk at the “Eucharistic Holy Hour for World Peace Through the Mother of All Peoples” in Amsterdam.

He explained how Our Lady’s intercession has “guided his life.”

In his story, he says he landed his first role in the major Hollywood film, “The Thin Red Line,” through the miraculous power of the rosary.

Here’s Caviezel’s story below:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Here’s the text of Caviezel’s story below:

“Back in 1997, I had auditioned for a role that every big name in Hollywood wanted. A role in Terrance Malick’s upcoming role The Thin Red Line. The odds were against me, but I at least got a meeting with Malick.

“I pulled up to his house for my 6:00 meeting, but I couldn’t leave the car. I was plagued by self-doubt. I had made a decision: if this didn’t pan out—if this didn’t go through–I was going to have to hang it up.

“I didn’t want to just drift along the rest of my life wondering if I was ever going to work consistently as an actor.

“It is 6 pm, I was still in the car, I believe in my heart that the next 10 minutes changed my life forever. In my mind, I was a guy from Mount Vernon, Washington. I wanted to be a basketball player. What the heck was I doing outside of Terrance Malick’s house?

“I’m an emotional mess, self-sabotage at full fury. So I started to pray the rosary.

“It is 6:05 pm, and I’m still in the middle of the 4th Glorious Mystery.

“You see, six months earlier, my manager, who is a bit like a Catholic mystic, said that I should start praying the rosary on a daily basis. My wife, Kerri, taught me how to pray it.

“So following orders, I borrowed her grandmother’s rosary. It was a precious antique heirloom. I started running them through my fingers and praying, without even really knowing the mysteries.

“I’m already 5 minutes late for this meeting with the most sought-after director in Hollywood, and I’ve not finished the decade, so I decided to press on.

“Hail Mary, full of grace…Hail Mary, full of grace…

“When I finally finished the ‘Hail, Holy Queen,’ it was 6:10 p.m. I jump out of the car and dash up to the house, but I realize I’ve got rosary beads in my hand. I knew if put them in my pocket, I would start fiddling around with them in front of the director, so I turned hills and raced back to the car to dispose of those beads.

“I opened the car door and made a deliberate move to drop off this rosary, when I got a feeling, right here in my heart that I should take this rosary with me.

“This was not the first time I experienced this sensation. The first time I had this experience, I was 19 years old in a theater in Mount Vernon, Washington.

“The movie had ended, and out there in the darkness, befriended only by my basketball in the adjacent seat, I had a sensation right here in my heart that made me think that I was supposed to be an actor. That this is what God crafted me for–that this is what he wanted of me.

“You could say it was my ‘personal annunciation.’ A very deep awareness of my vocation. So reluctantly, I went forward.

“My rational sense intervened. I knew nothing about acting, no agents, no managers. Hell, I can’t even memorize to save my life, as you can see. But I had this conviction. I had a charge.

“So back on the curb in front of Terrance Malick’s house—I decided to take this rosary with me and make my way to the front door.

“This little maid answers the bell, and on her neck is a miraculous medal.

“So I say, ‘Oh, you’re Catholic!’

“She says, ‘No, I’m not, I’m Episcopalian. Come on in.’

“So this maid takes me in and she shows me the house. It’s a beautiful Spanish hacienda. As we’re admiring the ceiling while the woman is in mid-sentence, I get this sensation in my chest again, but stronger than I had ever experienced.

“And without thinking, I reached for the rosary in my pocket, and I say, ‘This is for you, ma’am.’

“She’s now startled, she said, ‘Why did you do that?’

“Tears are now welling up in her eyes, and I say, ‘I don’t know.’

“She says, ‘O My God! The woman who gave me this medal—the miraculous medal of the Virgin Mary—also gave me a rosary she got from Mother Teresa. But I lost it, and I prayed this morning that God would send me another one. Then you walk in.’

“This woman is now collapsing in tears. I’m shell-shocked. There’s a rosary in between us and in walks the director, Terrance Malick, when he started with, ‘Honey, what’s wrong?’

“And it occurs to me: ‘This ain’t the maid! This is Terrance Malick’s wife!’

“And I thought, ‘Better book a return flight back to Mount Vernon, pal!’

“When I got home, I told my wife, ‘Honey, I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news. The good news is, I may get The Thin Red Line, the bad news is granny’s rosary is gone.’

“That rosary and I believed that the intercession of Our Lady led to the first major role of my career in The Thin Red Line. We would be nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

“Cut to the spring of 2000, I was offered the role of Edmond Dantès, in the Count of Monte Cristo. It was a new adaptation of the Dumas Classic.

“This was the first time I had to carry a film on my own, and here I was at the pinnacle of what I long wanted to achieve, but I had no peace.

“I’m having Masses said for this movie, and I’m trying to pray, but like you, I was never sure if my prayers were landing.

“An amazing thing happened: we were set to shoot a pivotal scene in the film in this grand house in Malta. It is the moment when the count must decide whether he will remain with the love of his life, or leave her to pursue his revenge.

“And I look up to the ceiling as I’m weighing this decision. In reality, I’m looking up at nothing. There’s nothing up there except white plaster.

“Then the director, Kevin Reynolds, who is a Baptist from Texas, pulls me aside and says, ‘let me show you what you’ll be looking at. I found something down the hall that I think will work for the film.’

“So he takes me into the room, about 10 doors away, and he points to the ceiling.

“Well, I’m in shock. I’m just standing there slack-jawed because there, on the ceiling, is a fresco of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.

“Now Kevin Reynolds doesn’t know a thing about Mary or the Catholic Church, so I said, ‘Do you have any idea what that is?’

“And in a Texas draw, he says, ‘Yep.’ And leaves the room.

“I was hesitant to add to that ‘yep,’ for fear that he would take that shot out of the movie, so I just kept my mouth shut.

“But it was a sign for me—a sign that the Lord and his Blessed Mother were with me. Through all my trials, Mary had been there all along leading me by the hand, and guiding me toward her Son and my vocation.

“And if you saw The Count of Monte Cristo, you know that that shot stayed in the film, and I’m proud to say that I shared some screen time with the Mother of God.”

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