This made-for-TV movie is also known as The Love She Sought. Angela Lansbury plays the part of Agatha McGee, a teacher at St. Isadore’s School for the past 44 years. She plans to retire, mostly because of her disagreements with the local Bishop, Richard Baker (portrayed by Robert Prosky), who has closed schools and churches in the diocese, much to Agatha’s chagrin. Agatha is loved by her students and she, of course, returns their love. She takes in one of her students, Janet (played so well by Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame) because Janet is pregnant. Janet continues to live with Agatha after her son Stephen is born. She has a new boyfriend, Randy, of whom Agatha does not approve since he cannot seem to hold onto a job.
Agatha has corresponded with a man from Ireland, James O’Hannon, for the past five years although they have never met. James’ letters mean a great deal to Agatha as they share news about each other’s lives and beliefs. They are kindred souls. It is therefore great news to Agatha when her friends, including the Bishop, fete her upon her retirement and present her with a ticket for a tour of Ireland which the church group is planning. Agatha insists that her young friend Janet accompany her on the trip.
Agatha takes a side trip to Dublin, leaving the group for a few days, so that she can meet with her friend James in Ballybags, Ireland which is near Dublin. They are pleased to meet after so many years and James gives her a tour of the region for a few days. When Agatha indicates she would love to go to Ballybags, James hesitates and tells her that he cannot see her ever again. Agatha is perplexed, to say the least.
She confides her dilemma to Janet who encourages her to go to Ballybags. Agatha decides to go to mass at James’ church, St. Brigid’s. She receives the surprise of her life when mass begins and the celebrant is Father James O’Hannon. She leaves the church in desperation and returns to Dublin in tears.
Bishop Baker, who is also in the trip, is concerned with Agatha’s odd behavior and questions Janet who tells the Bishop about Agatha’s friend, the priest. Bishop Baker takes it upon himself to visit Father O’Hannon with the purpose of chastising him for his behavior. They become friends and the Bishop confesses to Agatha that he has visited with Father O’Hannon.
Agatha seeks out James at the O’Hannon pub owned by James’ brother. They realize that their friendship is too strong to be forgotten. Although Agatha has been deeply hurt by James’ subterfuge, she is willing to forgive him, “not her strong point,” she says.
Back in Minnesota, the Bishop has talked Agatha into taking on the vacant position of principal of St. Isadore’s where they can continue with their frequent disputes. Agatha also continues her correspondence with Father O’Hannon.
This delightful movie contains so much that is familiar to me, having been educated at a similar school to St. Isadore’s. Angela Lansbury is always a drawing card for me. I am happy I came across this movie on Netflix.
The Green Journey (1990)