Tag Archives: Catholic

Young Asian Leaders React to Radical Grace

“Why can’t there be a female Pope?”

This was one of the various questions posed by the young adults and theologians discussing Radical Grace. These innovative minds from 15 different countries joined in Surat Thani, Thailand for a conference to discuss opportunities for justice within the church. The participants discussed the connection they felt to the stars of Radical Grace,  and other nuns who fight for faith and social justice.
One of the conference participants voiced how inspired she was to learn from the film that there were female leaders in the church in the past. This knowledge made her realize that gender equality did exist and can exist in the future, maybe not in our lifetime, as the participant shared, but we must not lose hope. We need to continue the fight because we  are making history today so that the faithful one  of the future can live in a better world. In this world, a female Pope will be a given, rather than a fantasy.

Watch the video to learn more about the Asian Youth Academy and Asian Theological Forum in Surat Thani, Thailand and the lessons they learned from Radical Grace (12 min). 

 

Sr. Christine Schenk on Radical Grace

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Sr. Christine Schenk watching Radical Grace at HotDocs

Sister Christine Schenk is one of the nuns whose journey we follow in Radical Grace. A Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Christine served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch, where she served for 23 years. We have been so honored to have Sr. Christine join us on our ride through film festivals and theaters! She recently wrote about the experience for the National Catholic Reporter. Here’s what she has to say:

My part [of the film] focuses on raising up women’s leadership in the church and catalyzing an outpouring of lay support for beleaguered sisters alongside other reform groups in the Nun Justice Project.

When word came in February 2013 that Pope Benedict would resign, plans were already in place for Rebecca and her crew to film FutureChurch’s March pilgrimage to Rome sites of women leaders in the early church.

And so it was that I found myself in St. Peter’s Square — camera rolling and fighting tears — as a simply dressed Francis bowed low to receive the blessing of everyone present.

Some would call this providential timing a coincidence. I call it the Holy Spirit.

But it would be many months, more criticism from a recalcitrant Vatican office, and scores of uplifting lay-led prayer vigils, before justice for the sisters would prevail. Along the way Rebecca’s talented team tracked Jean, Simone and me as we groaned, prayed, strategized and struggled to find a modicum of inner peace while the Vatican fiddled its way forward.

As I watch audiences respond to our story with laughter, tears and thoughtful silence, I feel humbled and privileged to have been part of what turned out to be a “radically graced” enterprise in and of itself.

Read the rest of Sr. Chris’ article here.

Announcing our American Premiere!

UPDATE: Tickets for our two festival screenings at AFI Docs are now on sale. Buy tickets to see Radical Grace Saturday, June 20th at 1 PM or Sunday, June 21st at 7:15 PM.  

The past few months have been full of eAFI Docs Official Selectionxciting news and it just keeps coming. This week, we’re pleased to announce that we finally have an American premiere! Radical Grace will be showing June 20th and 21st at AFI Docs film festival in Washington D.C.

AFI is a perfect next step for us for many reasons. For one thing, it’s fitting to have our American premiere in the hometown of one of our protagonists — Washington D.C. is where Sister Simone lives and works for economic justice with her organization NETWORK Lobby. Being in the country’s capital also gives us the opportunity to expand our audience to feminist organizations and political leaders. We’re excited to lift up progressive faith voices in a city with such a vital concentration of activist work.

And of course, if you can make it, we’d love to see you there!

Reading List: The Women of Holy Week

This past Holy Week, it was gratifying to see so many people from around the web writing about the role of women in the Easter story, women who are often ignored by the Catholic establishment. Before the Internet, it is hard to imagine such feminist voices having a platform in religious discourse. One of the women contributing to this conversation is the author Rachel Held Evans. Here’s how she introduced her series of blog posts about the women of Holy Week:

“It is easy to dismiss the women of Holy Week, to say their presence at critical moments in the Easter story is inconsequential, holding no significance in modern-day conversations about gender equity in the Church.  But I’m not convinced it’s an accident that the first person to declare that Jesus had risen from the dead (to a group of skeptical men!) was a woman. I’m not convinced it’s unremarkable that God chose a woman to anoint the Messiah with oil and a mother to hear his cries from the cross.”

Our very own Sister Chris would not consider such details inconsequential, and neither would anyone else who draws upon scripture in their fight for gender equality in the Catholic faith. In fact, Sister Chris also published a powerful piece about Holy Week for the National Catholic Reporter, entitled “It Was the Women Who Stayed.”  Though women are often overlooked by Catholic teaching, she writes that this is especially painful during Holy Week, “when preachers commonly emphasize that Jesus was ‘abandoned by everyone.’ Everyone, that is, but the women, whose presence must have meant a great deal to Jesus, if to no one else.”

For Sister Chris, who advocates for women’s ordination in the Catholic Church, the fact that Christ calls on Mary Magdalene to proclaim his resurrection is quite significant. At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, the Bible reveals women to be faithful disciples and fearless leaders. Why shouldn’t they be Christian leaders today? Clearly Rachel Held Evans is correct; It is important to talk about Jesus’ female disciples. So here is a roundup of articles you can read on the subject, and one about women during Passover for good measure!

Rachel Held Evans, “The Women of Holy Week”

  1. Why the Women Matter
  2. The Woman at Bethany Anoints Jesus
  3. Mary’s Heart is Pierced (Again)
  4. The Women Wait
  5. Mary Sees the Risen Lord

Sister Christine Schenk, “It Was the Women Who Stayed

Bronwyn Lea, “What Easter Says About Trusting Women

The Junia Project, “The Anointing of Jesus at Bethany

The Junia Project, “The Commissioning of Mary Magdalene

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, “The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover

Announcing our World Premiere – Hot Docs 2015!

Hot Docs 2015 Laurels

We are so excited to share some wonderful news:

Our film Radical Grace will have its World Premiere on April 28th at the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto! Hot Docs is a top-tier film festival for documentaries, and we’re honored to be a part of the lineup.

It’s a crucial time to share the stories of Sister Simone, Sister Chris, and Sister Jean with the world — that’s why we’re reaching back out to our wonderful, inspiring supporters to request your help in getting there.

Pope Francis is changing the Vatican’s conservative tone in many ways — but progress on women’s leadership has a long way to go. What does it mean for the sisters, and the future of the Catholic faith more broadly? What does it say about women’s place in society, across all faiths? We hope that our film can be a jumping off point to discuss these critical issues.

As we prepare for the festival, we’re working like mad to finish the film — but there are important hard costs that we still need to fundraise for: sound mixing, music from our great new composer, licensing for news clips and archival footage, and our legal costs.

We need to raise $30,000 to cover our final costs.

Will you consider making another donation to Radical Grace to help finish (yes, for real – finish!!) the film before April?

http://radicalgracefilm.com/donate

We are so grateful for your financial support, but also for your help in sharing our project and rooting for us all along the way.

Thank you so much for everything.

– Rebecca, Nicole, and the Radical Grace Team

Thank Goodness for Good Pitch!

Sister WS

After a competitive application process and a two-day workshop, we were ecstatic to be one of seven filmmaker teams presenting at Good Pitch Chicago, a project of BRITDOC in partnership with the Sundance Institute and a the Chicago Planning Committee.
Good Pitch is a magical event. It brings together seven documentary filmmaking teams with foundations, NGOs, philanthropists, broadcasters, brands, technology, social entrepreneurs, government, and media around leading social issues—to forge unique coalitions and campaigns around documentary films to maximize their impact and influence.

 

Sister table

We were thrilled to be joined at the by a powerful coalition of our new partner organizations: Faith in Public Life, Organizing for Action, Auburn Seminary, Groundswell, Call to Action, Muslims for Progressive Values, Jewish Social Justice Roundtable, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and Sojourners. Chicken and Egg Pictures, Impact Partners and Al Jazeera America also joined our table to share their interest in funding and broadcast support! And the Hartley Film Foundation, funder and fiscal sponsor for SISTER sent good vibes from the audience.
These organizations have committed to: convene a brain trust for SISTER’s engagement campaign, assist in curriculum development, host and invite members strategic screenings, provide web content, share web content with their membership, bring the campaign to Catholic and secular universities, provide media training for the filmmakers, and connect SISTER with potential film and campaign funders.
While multiple organizations will collaborate on the above, several specific initiatives bare mentioning. Organizing for Action will screen SISTER in hotspots of the 2014 midterm elections, Call to Action will use the film to mobilize progressive Catholics who are not currently involved in Church reform work, and Muslims for Progressive Values will use the film in their in trainings on organizing for women’s equality in Islam.
Sister Jean
Sister Jean rocked the house when it was her turn to speak: “It’s funny to see yourself in a movie when you’ve gone 75 years and nobody’s paid any attention to you.”
She summarized her take on the film this way: “It’s not about sisters really. It’s about women. It’s about women who belong to an organization that they believe in, that their parents believed in, that their grandparents believed in. But in fact, they understand all of the sudden that in this system, women’s wisdom is not appreciated. Women’s leadership is not sought. So the system is missing half of the world, and it’s got to catch up.”
Sister GP Donors
Kat White of KatLei Productions made waves when she stepped up to the mic pledging 10% of our finishing costs for the film or $20,000! Chaz Ebert of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation pledged $5k to the film! And Kat and Chaz were joined by two individual philanthropists each pledging $3k in support. Thank you to all of our supporters! With your help, we will finish this film and make an impact!
To check out more photographs from Good Pitch, visit our gallery on Facebook!
Sister FB Gallery

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