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A Film by Frank and Mary Frost

This documentary, 13 years in the making, tells the story of an early 20th Century French Jesuit priest and scientist, who in relentless pursuit of the everlasting on earth, encounters fame, love, and implacable opposition from his church.  Despite exile and lifelong censorship, his transformational insights Into science and faith provide a prophetic legacy for our technological age.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French priest-paleontologist-visionary who was suppressed by his Jesuit order for advocating a radical new vision of evolution. Told largely in his own words, with a mix of archival film and images, expert interviews, commentary, and recreations, Teilhard: Visionary Scientist explores Teilhard’s theories and how he was exiled to China as a way to silence him. The film also explores his role in the remarkable discovery of Peking Man in the 1920s, the most important “missing link” in human evolution to that point. 

With compelling imagery and a script based on the words of Teilhard de Chardin himself, Teilhard: Visionary Scientist captures the deeply human story and spiritual search of a Jesuit priest and scientist famous for his spiritual writings, especially The Divine Milieu.  It reveals the struggles he faced to arrive at his insights and his failure to persuade his Church that he had a gift to offer them by interpreting his faith in the light of science, especially evolution.  Suppressed during his lifetime, his prolific posthumous writings leave a multi-faceted legacy, including a robust ecological movement cited by Pope Francis in Laudato Si.

Teilhard de Chardin television biography trailer from Teilhard Project on Vimeo.

Produced for The Teilhard de Chardin Project

What is The Teilhard de Chardin Project?

It is a public education project about the interaction between science and religion, beginning with a 2-hour television biography, Teilhard: Visionary Scientist. The program provides a powerful starting point for web-based education outreach on a number of themes of interest to lifetime learners of all ages.

Who is Teilhard de Chardin?

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin exploded on the scene in the 1960s with the posthumous publication of his books, The Human Phenomenon and The Divine Milieu, among others. And while Teilhard’s ideas are enjoying a new ascendancy, less is known of the man himself. His compelling personal story has cross-over appeal to believers and non-believers alike – an adventurer-paleontologist (a sort of clerical Indiana Jones) and darling of France’s scientific salons; an obedient priest whose writings were long suppressed; a first-rate scientist involved in the landmark discovery of “Peking Man”; a man unafraid of love while true to his vow of celibacy; who dies quietly in exile in New York City, before the publication of his books vaults him into world prominence.

What is the Educational Dimension of the Project?

Broadcast of the television program Teilhard:Visionary Scientist will launch an extensive outreach program though the internet, social media, colleges, schools, and community programs, on four themes that emerge from the story line: 1.) the science v religion debate, 2.) evolutionary implications for spirituality, 3.) responsibility to the earth, and 4.) the future of the human species. The existing website will offer:

  • expanded interviews, photos, and other bonus materials
  • internet chats with experts featured in the program
  • educational materials for high schools and colleges, and even elementary school
  • ongoing peer-to-peer discussions on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media
  • podcasts downloadable to computers and mobile media
  • links to rich existing resources

A Transformative Project

The Teilhard de Chardin Project can be transformative for theologians, biologists, sociologists, philosophers, anthropologists, seminary professors, and others seeking to form a new generation of women and men dedicated to unlocking the immense potential that is the human person.

The vision of Teilhard also offers something to the broad population. It makes us aware of the presence of the Divine in the emergent universe. It helps us recognize our essentially social nature as human beings, of the intimate links we share in fact with all creatures with whom we form one family. The implications extend to how we proceed in business, politics, and family life.

“It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.  We are collaborators in creation.”

In a world where half the population does not accept the science of evolution, Teilhard provides a way to bridge the gap. He offers a new generation a way to grapple with the future of the cosmos and with eternal questions about our role in it.

What is the status of the Project?

Production of the television biography Teilhard: Visionary Scientist, is now complete and in distribution.  Broadcasts are scheduled on Maryland Public Television for July 21, 2024 at 4:00, and at a time to be announced in the spring of 2025. 

The program is available nationally for streaming on demand on the free PBS app, which can be downloaded here.

Viewers with the paid PBS app Passport can also access the program.

A direct link  enables viewing internationally.  It has already been presented in theaters in New Zealand.
Research and principal videography was done in France (Auvergne, Verdun, and Paris); Hastings, England; China (Beijing, Zhoukoudian, Salawusu, Shuidonggou, and Nihewan); and the U.S. New York City and Hyde Park, NY).  All location trips included extensive interviews with local experts. More than 30 experts were interviewed in total.  Post-production began in the summer of 2019.

The website is operational and will be growing as additional resources and extra materials and extended interviews are added. 

The educational follow-through of the project had also begun, even before the documentary was completed. Georgetown University hosted a special seminar for the Teilhard de Chardin Project in April, 2015, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Teilhard’s death. Four top scholars had a lively discussion before a standing-room-only crowd about the relevance of Teilhard today, followed by a dramatic reading of Teilhard’s “Mass on the World.” Video of the seminar is available on the Georgetown website, and a video of “Mass on the World” can be found on YouTube.

Fundraising continues to underwrite promotion and educational outreach.  Contributions can be made by going to the Teilhard Project website.

Who is involved in the Project?

Teilhard: Visionary Scientist is produced by Frank Frost Productions (FFP), an award-winning production company with a long history of nationally broadcast documentaries on subjects related to human and cultural values. For more details on FFP visit other links on this website.
More information on partners and funders can be found at