A several months right before Stuart Prolonged was ordained and formally turned Father Stu in 2007, he built a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, in which he was persuaded he’d be healed by its “miraculous” waters.

Long was struggling from inclusion overall body myositis, an incurable, progressive muscle mass condition that offers signs or symptoms identical to ALS, Parkinson’s and many sclerosis.

“He was working with crutches at that stage. They put him in the water and he assumed he would walk right out. That is how considerably religion he experienced,” his mate, Father Bart Tolleson, advised The Write-up. “He took 1 move ahead and fell in the drinking water. This was a minute of entire abandonment by God. He was indignant and despondent.”

But following getting coaxed by a journey companion, he bathed once more in the waters the place lots of have claimed to be healed at any time since the Virgin Mary was explained to have appeared there in the 19th century. Although he was not bodily rehabilitated, he did emerge with an mind-boggling feeling of peace — and renewed conviction in his faith. “He wrote about it personally. He mentioned, ‘I know this sickness is going to assert my life. And I also know it will be for God’s glory,’ ” explained Tolleson.

Long suffered from Inclusion body myositis, an incurable, progressive muscle disorder that presents symptoms similar to ALS, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis.
Stuart Extended (still left) experienced from Inclusion human body myositis, an incurable, progressive muscle ailment.
courtesy of The Diocese of Helena

Extensive didn’t like to give up. A previous tough-and-tumble boxer and failed actor, his amazing calling has echoes of a saint’s backstory. Now, his unlikely journey to the priesthood — in his youth, Prolonged was regarded to curse and get into road fights — is the subject of the new Mark Wahlberg movie “Father Stu,” which premieres Wednesday in theaters.

Long was once a boxer.
Prolonged was as soon as a boxer.
Courtesy of Amy Trisdale

As Long’s health deteriorated, his spirituality grew. On December 14, 2007, the Catholic transform was ordained and became a diocesan priest in his native Helena, Montana, wherever he inspired many parishioners and fellow clergy as he ongoing to say mass whilst dropping the use of his limbs.

“Every time I went to his mass, I cried. Tears would pour out. People explained it as they could see his suffering and he was close to God,” Long’s sister Amy Trisdale told The Post. “I am not Catholic, but there was a little something to that.”

‘Larger than life’

The new film, which also stars Mel Gibson as Long’s father Bill, took above 6 years to make and was largely financed by Wahlberg, who acquired 30 pounds for the role. The Boston native, 50, realized of Extended and his not likely route to the priesthood even though dining in Beverly Hills with the priest’s buddy, Father Ed Benioff.

“At 1st, Wahlberg was rolling his eyes, like ‘even my priest is pitching me,’” stated Tolleson.

Having said that, the devout Catholic actor was intrigued. In 2017, he scheduled a assembly with Long’s father, Bill Extended, and Trisdale, who at first imagined it was “f–king hysterical” that a Hollywood celebrity preferred to make a movie about her brother.

Mark Wahlberg on a motorcycle in the new film, "Father Stu."
Mark Wahlberg on a motorcycle in the new film, “Father Stu.”
Photograph by Karen Ballard

“Stu was always greater than life but that was just him. He was tricky, amusing and super intelligent. He taught me how to guard myself. He taught me how to swear.”

As Trisdale spoke to the actor, she found parallels among the two.

“Mark is down to earth and does not put on any airs. That was entirely Stu. He never judged any person by their station in existence. They both had assurance and terrific smiles. And their pasts — each have exciting pasts,” claimed Trisdale. (Her brother was busted for a DWI in higher education when Wahlberg was a wayward youth with quite a few arrests for violent crimes.)

Father Stu with his family.
Father Stu with his loved ones.
Courtesy of Amy Trisdale
Amy Trisdale and her brother Stuart Long.
Amy Trisdale and her brother Stuart Very long.
Courtesy of Amy Trisdale

Born and raised in Helena, Very long did not develop up Catholic or spiritual, but he was devoted to sports activities, including wrestling and soccer (he rooted for the Cowboys and later the Bills). The athletic Extended attended Carroll College or university, a Catholic establishment where by he performed soccer for two years and achieved Father Jeremiah Sullivan, who taught him to box. But other than his partnership with Sullivan, “he believed Catholicism was a joke,” stated Tolleson. In 1985, he received the Golden Gloves heavyweight title in Montana but he stop following an invasive jaw surgical procedure.

He then moved out to Los Angeles to pursue performing.

“He was heading out there to be a motion picture star. Stu beloved motion pictures. We utilised to enjoy and quotation ‘Rocky.’ He was a large Mel Gibson supporter. And each time you went to his residence in California, ‘Dumb and Dumber’ was on,” claimed Trisdale.

Stuart Long's headshots when he was pursuing acting.
Long’s headshots from when he was pursuing acting.
Courtesy of Amy Trisdale

But he bought minimal traction, landing primarily function as an added even though toiling as a bouncer at night. He remaining the company and started controlling the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. He also began dating a woman named Cindy who was Catholic. But it was a horrible motorcycle accident that “opened his heart to starting to be a Catholic,” explained Tolleson.

“He could see himself out of his body over the LA freeway. He knew he was spared.”

A true contacting

Encouraged by Cindy, Prolonged joined RCIA (Ceremony of Christian Initiation of Grownups). Right after he was baptized, the study course of his daily life would change.

“According to Stu, he didn’t hear a voice but he understood he was heading to be a priest,” reported Tolleson.

Even now, Long fought his calling. Although he in the end ended his serious romance with Cindy, he ongoing to date. “Finally, a person female received actually mad at him and stated, ‘You want to date me but you are speaking about turning into a priest. Why really don’t you do it?’ ” stated Tolleson.

Father Stu
Father Stu gained his master’s degree in philosophy in Steubenville, Ohio, and entered into the seminary in Oregon.
courtesy of The Diocese of Helena

Prolonged taught at a Catholic faculty for a handful of a long time but just after hearing a Franciscan friar converse, he bought his possessions and moved to New York Metropolis to examine with them. He gained his master’s degree in philosophy in Steubenville, Ohio, and entered into the seminary in Oregon.

Whilst making ready for his vocation, he experienced a benign tumor removed from his hip and later started to working experience episodes wherever he described his energy rolling out of his system.

In the starting of 2007, Very long was formally diagnosed with inclusion human body myositis. As his ailment progressed, he in no way lost his feeling of humor, his will to discussion or his zest for actual physical health and fitness. Though confined to a wheelchair, he led intense team work out courses at a local Helena gymnasium.

“Here is this person, dressed as a priest in a wheelchair, screaming at this team of largely girls, obtaining them do all forms of squats and crawls. He had them tossing medication balls again and forth. Then he had them accomplishing drugs ball dodge ball and an individual put a massive gap in the wall. The health club house owners weren’t joyful. Stu had to communicate them down from kicking them out,” explained Tolleson.

Irrespective of getting rid of the use of his limbs, he continued to say mass, even while living in a nursing dwelling. To be certain he could complete all areas of the solutions and administer sacraments, Very long experienced a team of laymen who moved his arms and palms for him.

Mark Wahlberg as Father Stu in his new film.
The film, which also stars Mel Gibson, took about six years to make and was largely financed by Wahlberg.
Picture by Karen Ballard

He died in 2014 at age 50.

Tolleson claimed watching his friend’s humor, faith and tenacity was profound — and deserving of the large screen.

“Everyone has their Stu tale to convey to and some of them are just astounding. It was like the church hadn’t noticed just about anything like this person coming,” explained Tolleson. “He was making an attempt to open hearts. I hope this movie can do that as effectively. This was a true individual and a real tale. A large amount of people today adjusted for the superior mainly because of Stu.”