For Love Alone is a 16-minute film on the vocation to women’s religious life. The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR) commissioned this film to be produced by Grassroots Films, the acclaimed producers of the film on the priesthood, Fishers of Men. This film, completed for the Year of Consecrated Life, aims to share the beauty and depth of the vocation to the religious life.
What was the origin of the film? What was the reason for the film?
Created for the Year of Consecrated Life, the film is the realization of a long-time desire to have a film that represents religious life in a way that is interesting and beautiful and compelling to this generation.
Who do you hope to reach with the film?
The film is for everyone. Certainly we are hoping to educate and inspire the young generation of Catholics about the beauty of the call to be a religious woman, but we also hope that all Catholics will get the opportunity to see the film and be encouraged to know that religious life is alive and flourishing in the U.S.
What is the central message that you hope audiences receive?
The message is one of hope. There are still young people who are trying to listen and follow the call of God. There are still young people who are willing to stake their lives on God. There is hope for this world because there is a love that is greater than anything this world can offer; this is God’s love and the film is about responding to His love with love. The message is: God is worth the risk. This is a love story; a love story of infinite and eternal proportions.
Was this to promote the Year of Consecrated Life?
The Year of Consecrated Life served as impetus for us to fulfill a dream of making a movie that we have long-desired to make. While the special year has come to a close, this film will remain relevant and useful for a many years to come.
Why did the CMSWR want to do documentary on religious life?
So often we have had the experience of visiting a class room to make a presentation and we’ll begin by asking the children how many of them have ever seen a religious sister. These days, depending on where we are in the country, one or two or three hands may go up. Children are very often no longer being educated by religious sisters and therefore don’t know any. Too many young people are growing up without considering this as a possibility for their lives. God still calls, but it is very difficult to understand what He means without this experience.
What does the title mean?
The title gets straight to the point. Love is the motivation and the only motivation that makes any sense for a religious sister.
Are all the CMSWR communities featured in the film?
Since the film is only about 16 minutes long, not all CMSWR communities could be meaningfully incorporated in such a short film. However, all communities are represented by the sisters who are filmed. There is a beautiful spirit of solidarity among the communities and that comes across in the film.
How were the communities chosen to be featured in the film?
A committee of sisters were formed to create this film. One of the first tasks was to get a small sampling of communities that could truly be representative of the larger body. The film shows a variety of charisms united in the ideals common to all CMSWR members and their communities.
Why don’t you identify the communities?
We want all the sisters to feel represented by the few sisters who are actually in the film. It’s not about any one sister or any one community. It’s about what’s common to all of us.
Why do all the sisters in the film wear veils?
The sisters in the film are representative of CMSWR members’ communities. Many communities have always traditionally worn the veil as part of their religious grab and consider it to be a beautiful privilege to do so. The veil is an easily recognizable symbol of our consecration to God.
What is the significance of the biblical verses in the film?
The woman who anoints Jesus with the fragrant oil in the scriptures can be seen as icon of the religious sister. She is overcome by love for Jesus and she demonstrates this by actually breaking the alabaster jar which contains the expensive oil. This is symbolic of holding nothing back, giving all in response to the one who gave all for love of us. The scripture says that the fragrance filled the whole house; this can be understood as the beautiful fragrance of her self gift having implications for the whole Church – the household of God. For the religious sister, her gift of self poured out is shown by the loving service she does whether that is teaching, nursing, counseling, caring for the needs of the poor, or accompanying the most vulnerable.
What is the significance of the Alabaster jar?
The alabaster jar can be understood as symbolizing the person – the religious sister – who gives herself entirely to God so completely and totally that she cannot be given to another.