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Document focusing on the life of Pierre Teilhard to air on MPT

The film TEILHARD: Visionary Scientist will have its broadcast debut on Maryland Public Television on May 19 at 4 p.m. Telling the story of the late French Jesuit priest and scientist, Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the documentary masterfully weaves together themes from his life, including scientific adventure, the search for meaning, unresolved conflict with authority, the primacy of spirit, and the power of love.

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.” These words of Father Teilhard open the film, framing the journey of the two-hour biographical film that spans from his birth on May 1, 1881, in Orcines, France, to his death on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, in New York City.

Father Teilhard develops a passion for geology and paleontology, fostered in his childhood by hikes with his father exploring neighboring volcanic mountains. He becomes a Jesuit priest, based on a deep spirituality fostered by his mother, who home schooled him.

The words of Father Teilhard himself provide the main thread that leads the viewer through the events of his life, supplemented by interviews with experts from the fields of science and religion, as well as through conversations with family and friends.

The film presents his message as relevant for our day and its rapidly evolving technology. His focus on the evolution of consciousness resonates with today’s ascent of artificial intelligence (AI). His writings have also contributed to movements that include ecology, care for the earth, and a hopeful faith, compatible with science. He has inspired followers among believers and non-believers alike.

Father Teilhard’s own interior struggle between love of the earth and love of God leads to a very personal understanding of cosmic evolution, which he called cosmogenesis. This enthusiasm for evolution, including what it can do to enhance dialogue between scientific thinking and religious belief, puts him in conflict with his Jesuit superiors.

This leads to exile in China for 25 years, suppression of his writings, and a second exile at the age of 70 to New York City – making him a sort of 20th Century Galileo. Exile in China, ironically, places Father Teilhard on a geological team that discovers the world-famous Peking Man, the most important “missing link” in evolution of humans to that point.

His spiritual essays and books, notably The Divine Milieu and The Human Phenomenon, would be published after his death, and in many languages. They reflect what Father Teilhard spoke of as the “twin peaks” of his “interior life” – “an unbounded faith in our Lord and a clear-eyed faith in the world.”

“This man has given us a vision of hope that really is hope and not pipe dreams,” the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, says in the film. “That is the stuff of prophets. That is the stuff of people who change the world.”

Thirteen years in the making, TEILHARD: Visionary Scientist, was produced by award-winning documentary filmmakers, Frank and Mary Frost. The production took them to four countries on three continents – a total of 25 locations – and included more than 35 interviews.

TEILHARD: Visionary Scientist will be available for national and international streaming for two years, beginning on May 20, 2024, on the free PBS App. Visit to download the app, and then search for the film’s title.

DVDs of the program will be available at that time as well, at

More information on the film and on Father Teilhard de Chardin, including his views on evolution, the feminine, Peking Man, love, and the Universal Christ, may be found at