schenkby Christine Schenk, NCR

For the past several months I’ve been attending various film festivals in the U.S. and Canada in support of the award-winning documentary Radical Grace. I am one of three sisters the film tracks as we traversed the scary terrain of the “nunquisition” — the Vatican’s six year investigation of U.S. sisters that finally ended favorably for us last spring.

Radical-Grace-Poster-without-ghosted-imageDirector Rebecca Parrish hopes her remarkable film will inspire others to work for justice in their own venues. A self-described “agnostic and seeker,” Rebecca is fascinated by the intersection of spirituality and justice. Her creative vision resulted in a film that inspires even as it makes people laugh — and then it makes them think.

Rebecca* works with a non profit organization, the Kindling Group, that is encouraging activists and others to sponsor local screenings of Radical Grace in hopes of sparking discussion about justice and spirituality. So when she asks me to come to one film festival or another, I show up if I possibly can.

Still, I confess to not a little anxiety when first faced with the prospect of viewing my wrinkly face and generous curves on the big screen. Gulp. But guess what? Nobody noticed or even cared. That’s because the film is bigger than any one of its sister-subjects in the depth of its content and the breadth of its vision.

Sr. Jean Hughes is an Adrian Dominican who worked with formerly incarcerated men at St. Leonard’s House in Chicago. She is, in many ways, the heart of the film. She speaks blunt truths that are funny and as profound as they are down to earth. “Get some good women who are your friends and not just your lovers,” she advises her charges. “If she needs diamonds drop her!”....

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