'Young Nuns' BBC Documentary

A small but growing number of young women in Britain are going into religious life. This intelligent documentary, which will be shown on BBC1 next Tuesday, 25 October at 10.35pm,  follows two young graduates who are considering joining religious orders and one who has already taken her final vows.  It gives a glimpse of  a contemplative community and two more active ones.

Clara from Durham is 23. A pretty girl with Pre-Raphaelite auburn tresses, and a whimsical sense of humour,  she's just finished her studies at Aberdeen University. The film opens with her explaining to mystified friends why she wants to become a nun. Clara hopes to join the contemplative Benedictine Community of St Cecilia on the Isle of Wight. Although the regime is very strict: once the sisters enter they are allowed very little contact with family -  the order is flourishing and has had eight new members in the past year - the youngest being  just 19.  The isolation may be too much for Clara. She is very attached to her large family and friends.

At 25, Kathleen is a well-travelled language graduate from Kings College with model girl looks and a lively social life. Since she was four she's wanted to be a nun, and is visiting a Dominican community in the New Forest who lead a life of prayer, but also go out into the community to evangelise.  She says: "I don't want to get to the end of my life and say 'well, I had fun'. There must be more than that." 

The film also meets Sr Jacinta who belongs to the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in Leeds. They live and work everyday with homeless people and also go into schools and parishes. Started in America, the order has only been in the country for a few years, but is thriving.  The average age is 30.

This film is very sympathetically made, without being schmaltzy or looking like a recruitment film.  I would love to see this company visiting some more religious communities and perhaps filming other aspects of Catholic life. 

Young Nuns by Twenty Twenty productions is on BBC1 next Tuesday, 25 October at 10.35pm  (except Northern Ireland, Wales) and 11.05 on BBC1 (Wales only)



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