You should see this documentary. Look for it online. These women, including Mother Dolores, are modern nuns. They speak frankly about careers, their religious choices, love and sexuality. Whereas the male-dominated Vatican has had that history of shaming us Catholics for even thinking about sex, these nuns see sexuality as a normal part of being human. It's how you use it that counts -- how you treat yourself and others.
"She wanted to have me aborted." We get early revelation early in documentary from Mother Dolores. See? This changes the image that even we Catholics may have of all nuns. These sisters can relate to the real world around them -- like Audrey Hepburn's character in The Nun's Story, the Mother Superior Diana Rigg played so wonderfully in The Painted Veil (2006) and Cherry Jones as the Los Angeles nun who helps a former unwed mother in Mother and Child (2009). In God is the Bigger Elvis, we see Mother Dolores give counsel to one of the other sisters. Mother Dolores has a copy of The Hollywood Reporter on her desk. We see some sisters have wine with dinner. We learn that one nun came to the convent after an active social life that resulted from her career in the worlds of politics and advertising. We meet the man that actress Dolores Hart almost married. She had her bridal gown. Then she chose to wear a habit instead.
This is for classic film fans who loved Jennifer Jones and saw her Best Actress Oscar-winning performance in The Song of Bernadette: To me, one of the most luminous love scenes ever in a 1940s Hollywood movie didn't have one single kiss in it. Remember when Bernadette is in a carriage with two nuns escorting her to a convent to become a novice? The carriage stops and Antoine, the young French farmer who has loved the shy peasant girl for years, gives her bon voyage flowers. Bernadette loved him but Heaven had other plans in her destiny. He knows that the future Saint Bernadette heard a higher calling. We know that he will continue to love her for the rest of his life.
Think of that scene when you see the last five minutes of this documentary.
We learn something about the monastic life. We learn something about the sweet essence of love. It has nothing to do with glamour, celebrityhood and red carpets. I wish I could send many, many roses to the women who produced, directed, shot and edited this HBO feature. What a beautiful documentary. Happy Birthday, Mother Dolores.