I’m looking forward to seeing this when it is on HBO in April. I’m familiar with Dolores Hart – I’ve seen her movies and I knew that she left Hollywood to become a nun. But this looks like there’s much more of an opportunity to learn about this woman and why she made the decision she did nearly 50 years ago. How strong must God’s pull have been? She was right on the edge of really skyrocketing to the top, but she walked away and went right to the convent.
I have a fascination with nuns. I always have. My first grade teacher was a nun – Sister Judine. Wow, was she awesome. Sister Judine was young and fresh and lively. I was at that school for only one year before we moved to California. The next time I saw Sister Judine was about 16 years later, just as I was going into my first graduate program. I found her at a new school – she was the principal. I walked into her office and said, “Sister, I don’t know if you’ll remember me…” Before I could finish my sentence, she just squinted her eyes for a moment and said, “Your last name starts with an S…it was St Walter somewhere in the mid 70’s…you moved.” As soon as I said my name, she smiled and said, “Carleen, how are you? And how is your lovely mother?” It was like I was in first grade again – except I was taller and had a better vocabulary.
I didn’t go to Catholic school in California – the public schools were actually better out there. But, I had my nuns! Sisters Sheila and Roberta – twins from Ireland. I would hang out with them after school…truly. I had a blast! Sisters Sheila and Roberta were older nuns – well, to my 10-year-old eyes they were older. In reality, they were probably the age that I am right now – early to mid-forties. But, oh, they had that spunk!
Now our church as a group of Carmelite nuns who teach at the school and attend masses. The three “main” nuns are Sisters Jyothia, Ann, and Cicilia. Others include Sisters Sophia and Navya Terese. All are from India. All are delightful. All are adorable. It’s so nice to know that they are friends as well as members of the same religious order. They each have a wicked sense of humor. Cicilia will often remind people that “Ann is the short one.” She actually repeated that sentence 3 times in a 5 minute conversation with me and my mother. I looked at her with a little sideways glance and asked, “You don’t let her forget it either, do you?” Her answering smirk was all the answer I needed. When Cicilia had broken her ankle, we asked Jyothia just what in the heck happened. Without missing a beat, her reply was, “We pushed her.” I should have known from the sparkle in her eye.
I know so many people – quite a few in my family – who do not have good experiences with nuns. I guess the nuns they knew lived the stereotype – and had the rulers to prove it! But I’ve always ever knows nuns who are just fabulous people. Kind, caring, witty…human. Just people who love other people and who love serving God. So, yeah, I like nuns.
I’m happy that this documentary was made and that it got recognition with an Academy Award nomination.