Director to screen award-winning film about nuns at Fairfield University


Image: B OrtegaFairfield University will host a free screening of the film "A Question of Habit," a lively look at contemporary depictions of nuns, followed by a Q&A with director Bren Ortega Murphy at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the University's DiMenna-Nyselius Library multimedia room. Light refreshments will be provided.

The screening is sponsored by The Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences; the Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Reel Women; and the departments of Religious Studies and Film, Television and Media Arts. It is part of Fairfield's slate of events marking Women's History Month.

"A Question of Habit" is a full-length documentary narrated by actress Susan Sarandon, who won an Oscar for her role as Sister Helen Prejean in "Dead Man Walking." The film, which was a Remi Winner at the 44th annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival and won an award of excellence from the Broadcast Education Association, examines depictions of Catholic nuns in contemporary U.S. popular culture. It contrasts these images with the lives of actual women religious, both historical and current. For instance, although most Roman Catholic women religious in the U.S. have not worn the full habits of their orders for more than 40 years, images of nuns and sisters in such habits can be found across pop culture.

Murphy, a professor of communication studies and women's studies/gender studies at Loyola University Chicago, and fellow filmmaker Mike Whalen interviewed more than 30 women religious, cultural critics, historians and artists for the film, including Prejean, Tom Fontana ("Oz," "Homicide") and Robert Orsi ("Madonna of 115th Street").

"Loved the film!" raved the Rev. James Martin, S.J., author of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" and "Between Heaven and Mirth." "'A Question of Habit' is a provocative, funny, thoughtful, entertaining and inspiring new documentary that reveals the largely unheralded and often unknown contributions of sisters and nuns to our world. If your image of women religious is still 'The Flying Nun' or 'Sister Act,' be prepared for a surprise."

For more information on the screening and other Women's History Month events, visit www.fairfield.edu/wgs.

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 14, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 217