Band of Sisters

Project Status: 

Awards include:

Official Selection at the Athena Film Festival 2013
Official Selection at the St. Louis International Film Festival

10 weeks after their premiere screening at Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, they have been to 40 cities and currently have bookings in dozens more.

In the 1950’s Catholic nuns in the U.S. were obedient “daughters of the church.” They were separated from the world symbolically by their garb, spiritually by the church’s belief that religious life was a higher calling, and literally by archaic rules of enclosure. Ten years later, spurred on by the call of Vatican II to live among and for the world’s poor, U.S. nuns began a remarkable transformation. Abandoning their outmoded dress, the sisters adopted democratic styles of leadership. They found their ministry and mission among marginalized peoples, and joined in the civil rights, environmental, peace and women’s movements.

Today, the sisters remain on the cutting edge in their responses to our human and planetary crises. The historical narrative of the film - sisters just before and during Vatican II, their evolving mission, and their growing conflict with broken political systems and the Catholic church hierarchy - weaves in stories of the women in their current lives. Band of Sisters follows Chicagoan Sisters Pat Murphy and JoAnn Persch, whose participation in a weekly prayer vigil outside a deportation center leads them further and further into a world of human suffering and political stalemate. The film also introduces viewers to the latest wave in the sisters' journey since Vatican II: a mission to integrate ecology with spirituality, and to foster a new understanding of our responsibility as human beings on the planet.

Producer/Director: Mary Fishman