Behind the veil: nuns. Pt. 2.

Canada, 1984

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Part 2 of an in depth look at the history and influence of the largest all female, communal organisation in the world. The film spans the twenty centuries since Jesus’ birth as well as the pre-Christian climates from which Christianity has evolved. This film reviews the few exceptional periods in history when women wielded power in religious life - in pre-Christian Celtic religions and during the era of the great abbesses of the Middle Ages. Their paintings, inventions, tapestries, books and manuscripts are eloquent testimony to their achievements. However, with the revival of misogynistic theories that females were unsuitable to perform priestly functions and not worth educating, these achievements were soon dismissed. Women were excluded from universities for the next eight centuries. Today, women are openly questioning the Church’s male hierarchy and seeking some measure of influence in Church decisions. In Part 2 some of today’s activist nuns speak about their convictions and the need to redefine the Church to combine spirituality with global politics.

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Margaret Wescott


Kathleen Shannon

Signe Johansson

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National Film Board of Canada



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