Part 1 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. Contemporary nuns of strength, dignity and commitment speak of their lives and of their predecessors. Filmed in Ireland, Canada, the United States and Italy, Part 1 contrasts the experiences of contemporary active nuns, living and working amidst poverty and crime, with the story of a young woman whose search for spirituality led her to a monastery near Rome. The film explores some of the roots of the paternalistic attitudes that have dominated the Catholic Church almost since its inception and the resultant denigration and sometimes persecution of religious women. Part 1 ends with contemporary nuns voicing their feelings about love and sexuality.
National Film Board of Canada