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Disney, Dreams, and Divine Intervention

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Editor’s Note: FMS missioner Hannah Hagarty reflects on the meaning of a dream that brought up a childhood longing for global service and justice.

I found myself walking down the street with three stone goblins. I don’t remember the topic of conversation, but we were strolling along and chatting. I woke up. Who were those familiar creatures?

Victor, Hugo, and Laverne (Image Source: Disney Fandom)

Despite being the topic of scientific, philosophical, and religious study throughout history, the content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood.  Some believe dreams are a bi-products of decluttering the brain. Others believe dreams are divine interventions, or a necessary function for mental and emotional health.  This particular morning I was not concerned about the meaning of my dream. I just wanted to figure out who the chatty carved marble creatures were. I turned to the all knowing Google, searching through images of “animated stone talking goblins.” Three familiar faces popped up on my screen; Victor, Hugo, and Laverne; gargoyles from Disney’s animated classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I told my mom about this dream and she suggested that we watch the movie, reminding me that I used to play all day in my gypsy tent, wearing my gypsy jumper, pretending that I was Esmeralda.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is not one of the Disney movies that I have rewatched as a young adult. I didn’t remember the movie at all while rewatching it with my mom. As the story unfolded I once again fell in love with the heroine.

Esmeralda is a gypsy who seeks sanctuary in the Church. She becomes friends with Quasimodo, the hunchback. No one has treated him with love or care his whole life, except Esmeralda; she sees through his deformities and accepts him for who he is, as a human being. He is an outcast, and so is she, as the Minister of Justice was trying to rid Paris of gypsies.

God help the Outcasts is a prayer that Esmeralda sings while she is walking through the cathedral after she witnesses how society treats Quasimodo, her people, and other outcasts. There was one part of the song that really caught my attention. “God help the outcasts, hungry from birth. Show them the mercy they don’t find on Earth. God help my people, we look to you still. God help the outcasts or nobody will.”

This song gave both my mom and me goosebumps. We paused the movie to process our dream theory. The chatty stone gargoyles came to me in my dream to remind me that ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be Esmeralda. Now, 20 years later, I have the opportunity to go accompany the marginalized. Actively seeking to be a vessel for God’s love and mercy; I will soon walk alongside the oppressed communities of Jamaica towards Christ’s love.

The song ends with “please help my people, the poor and down-trod. I thought we all were children of God. God help the outcasts, Children of God.”

We are all children of God. Jesus and his disciples were outcasts. By being with the “outcasts” I am with God. I see God in the oppressed and marginalized. God is present.

Watching this movie was a beautiful way to wrap up my time at home. It affirmed that I am doing what I am meant to be doing. Esmeralda was my favorite Disney princess as a little girl, and she is an advocate for social justice and equality.

Reflection Question: Have you been reminded of God’s calling for you through a dream?