A new short film which captures the contemporary life and mission of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan was launched recently as part of celebrations for the Feast of St Benedict on July 11.
Drawing on interviews with 12 Good Samaritan Sisters from different age groups, cultures and ministries, the 15-minute film, “A Consecrated Life”, aims to focus on the passion for religious life that exists today among the order’s 200-plus members.
Congregational Leader Sister Clare Condon said the film’s focus was inspired by Pope Francis’ call to religious women and men of the world “to live the present with passion, to be open to the challenge of the Gospel” – which was part of a broader message the Pope delivered when he declared 2015 as a Year of Consecrated Life.
The film was officially launched at a gathering in Sydney to celebrate the Feast of St Benedict, but many sisters, oblates, friends and colleagues elsewhere in Australia, and in Japan, the Philippines and Kiribati, also gathered in their local communities to watch the film.
Clare said that feedback about the film so far had been “very positive”. “It has provided a forum for discussion about [the sisters’] own lives and ministries. It has also been a tool for personal reflection.”
She said a number of oblates had described the film as “inspirational” for their own living.
The creative team behind the film’s production was Hugh Clark, a Sydney-based film-maker, Catherine Cresswell, Executive Director of the Good Samaritan Foundation, and Mary Robinson, Executive Assistant to Sister Clare.
The film is structured around four key themes: choosing religious life; ministry and mission; inspiration from the parable of the Good Samaritan; and finding nourishment.
“The beauty of the structure is that with just a little more editing, each of the four sections can also be used individually… and in a range of other contexts,” explained Catherine Cresswell.
For Catherine, who has a background in film-making, interviewing the sisters was quite different to other interviewing experiences she’s had.
“None of the sisters knew what they would be asked beforehand and most did not have any media experience, but they all spoke with enormous clarity and emotional presence. I felt genuinely privileged to hear their stories,” she said.
Catherine also felt that the sisters interviewed “were really living a passionate life. That came across very strongly in their interviews and is, I think, what makes the film so engaging to watch”.
The 12 Good Samaritan Sisters featured in the film are Sisters Elizabeth Brennan, Mary Constable, Leonie Duenas, Judith Foster, Meg Kahler, Colleen Leonard, Marie McMahon, Eiko Mukae, Sarah Puls, Tuata Terawete, Juniko Toaua and Elizabeth Wiemers.