Behind the Scenes

In an effort to capture something of the beauty and diversity, the vitality and the faithfulness, of religious life in the United States of America right now, a team of movie makers and two religious sisters traveled the country filming thirteen religious communities in their motherhouses and in their apostalates, at prayer and at work, in what would become the ground -breaking short film FOR LOVE ALONE.

The challenge before us as we ventured into this dream project was rather monumental. How to convey the vitality of religious life, not generically, but through the lens of the diverse charisms of the religious communities of the CMSWR? How to adequately represent the 120 communities of the CMSWR and further, all religious women, in 16 minutes of film? How to get across the essential and vital components of religious life in an artistic and compelling way, without lengthy verbal explanations? How to portray the mystery of a call that originates in the heart of the Father and evokes a response from women of every age, including millennials of the 21st century?

Attempting to meet this challenge required plenty of prayer and planning. It also required lights, filters, movie cameras, drones, boom mics, and the latest cinematographic innovations and technology. It was a beautiful sight: a drone armed with the latest GoPro camera flying over the veiled heads of 200 sisters singing “O Come O Come Emmanuel” in the motherhouse of the Nashville Dominicans! The medieval meets the modern in a way that puts the tools of technology at the service of the Gospel.

All the filming happened within a three-month timeframe, from New York to California, involving planes, trains, car rentals, endless planning and plenty of praying. The film was a work of a body of people, a true collaboration of sisters and communities, friends, families and co-workers all with the shared interest of telling the compelling story of the beauty and vitality of religious life, today.

Photography by Jeanine Roufs