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Saint Mary’s screens ‘Band of Sisters’

Haleigh Ehmsen | Thursday, September 19, 2013


“Band of Sisters,” a documentary produced and directed by Notre Dame alumna Mary Fishman, screened at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday and was followed by a panel discussion about the film.

The film highlights various groups of nuns across the country and shows their work outside of the physical church after hearing the calls of Vatican II. In the movie, sisters campaign for housing, food sustainability and gardening for the poor. They also work in jails, assuring that inmates had the pastoral care they deserved.

Sr. Veronique Wiedower said the film reflects the priorities of Holy Cross sisters at Saint Mary’s.

“Although the sisters of the Holy Cross are not specifically singled out in the dialogue of the film, those of you familiar with the sisters, will recognize the sisters’ charisma and ministry in the words and examples of other congregations and visually in the pre-Vatican footage of religious life here on Saint Mary’s campus,” Wiedower said.

During the panel discussion, Fishman said she wanted to combat stereotypes about nuns in ” Band of Sisters.”

“I wanted to set the record straight,” she said. “… I was inspired by the more than 300 year history of religious sisters and I wanted to inspire other people.”

Sr. Betty Moyer, a former campus minister at Saint Mary’s, said she hopes people gain a deeper understanding of human dignity and justice from watching this movie. 

“[I hope] you feel anger where there is injustice,” Moyer said.

Moyer said the documentary portrays well the “real world issues” sisters face in the world outside of the physical church. 

“We must address ourselves, and involvement in social justice is what this movie calls us to,” Moyer said. “We do not know what He calls us to; [it is] literally a journey into the unknown.”

Holy Cross Sr. Elena Malits, professor emerita of religious studies at Saint Mary’s, said sharing personal stories is important among the religious community. 

“A very wise Holy Cross religious recently told me, ‘Someone’s truth is an invitation to a bigger heart and a bigger mind,'” she said.

Malits said interacting with the larger community is also part of their vocation. 

“That’s really our vocation, to live out that sense of gratitude and sense of participation in this beautiful world, and as I meet these different people and learn different stories, I begin to have a bigger heart and a bigger mind,” Malits said.