Patricia Sandoval, author of Transfigured, delivered this speech on 10 February, 2018, in the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Turlock, California. Its write-up suggests that it is pretty powerful, but on the grounds that this subject can be uncomfortable I was prepared – at least I thought I was.
The video begins with post-speech interviews with members of her audience, a section that obviously is building up for us the speech that is to follow. At 3:35 she begins.
This isn’t the first theocentric speech I’ve discussed here. In March 2013 on this blog I covered an Oxford Union Debate, dubbed The God Debate. Well known thinkers had a right royal ding-dong about Christianity. I’ve had other arguments of varying ferocity on the subject. I’ve had a speech from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet I think this is only the second speaker on this blog to begin with a prayer, and the other was a Hindu.
Over the years many trainees have expressed surprise that I do not criticise them, as others have, for waving their arms “too much”. Exaggerated gestures bother me only when they are phoney. I detest phoney. If you are naturally an arm-waver then you must follow your nature, to refrain from doing so would be … phoney.
Sandoval’s nature seems to dictate that her hands are relaxed only when they are busy. And it’s not just her hands that are expressive, she speaks with her eyes, with her face, in fact with her whole body. This woman is so deeply into the driving seat of her message, so filled with its passion, that watching and listening becomes compulsive.
She epitomises my dictum that passion is worth bucketfuls of technique, but the ideal is to have both. She has both: she is a very fine speaker, made even better by white hot passion.
The passion is born out of the life she has led, wherein she had three abortions in quick succession, went downhill, lost her faith, lost everything else – and I mean everything including her hair – till she hit, so to speak, the rocks on the seabed. At that point her soul cried out for help which came via someone called Bonny.
It would be impertinent for me to attempt to recount her story when she does it so well. It’s not a pretty story, it needs a very strong stomach in places, but it is uplifting.
Including a three-minute video at the end it lasts almost exactly an hour. There follow a range of supportive snippets, including a gentleman who tells us that her book is even tougher than her speech. Fair warning!