Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Cinema Systers Film Festival 2022


The 2022 Cinema Systers Film Festival was held in Paducah, KY, over Memorial Day weekend. Wife Nancy Manahan and I attended for the first time and were impressed with the production quality and subject range of the movies. 

Film lengths varied from under ten minutes to full-length features. While many films were from the U.S.A., other countries were represented, including the U.K., Germany, South Africa, and Canada. Three theater venues, all in the historic riverfront area, screened films. 

In addition, the festival sponsored receptions, workshops, dances, singer-songwriter Be Steadwell, and the comedian Mimi Gonzalez. 

Paducah, a UNESCO Creative City, has a lot to offer with restaurants, art galleries, bike trails, spectacular murals along the flood wall, and the National Quilt Museum. Next year's festival runs from May 25-28, 2023. Check it out at Cinema Systers.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Maryknoll Nuns, Nonviolent Climate Warriors

Nancy as a Maryknoll novice
Last month, I found myself with twenty-five Maryknoll Missionary Sisters in a five-day Zoom conference. I had had no contact with my old convent since the fiftieth anniversary of my 1986 entering class at the Maryknoll motherhouse in Ossining, New York in 2016, when I donated copies of Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence in various languages and sold several of the new 2013 edition to current and former sisters.

At that reunion I joined Full Circle, the official group for ex-Maryknoll sisters.

This spring, Full Circle members were invited to a conference on climate change. I registered, apprehensive that it would be too religious, that I’d feel alienated, and that the nuns would shun the ex-Maryknoller responsible for that blasphemous book!

However, I was warmly welcomed. Aurelia, my classmate in the novitiate Zoomed from Peru, where she has served for 45 years and was happy to see me. If some sessions were too theological, I took what was inspiring and left the rest.

Cover of Laudato Si'

The conference was inspired by Laudato Si’: Care for Our Common Home (written by Pope Frances in 2015, available on Amazon), a plea addressed not just to Catholics but to “every living person on this planet.” 

Each day, presenters from countries where Maryknollers are climate activists explored one or two chapters of Laudato Si’ (Italian for “praise be to you”). Neither they nor Pope Frances mince words about the global disaster we are facing. For example, Frances writes that efforts to reduce climate change have been deeply inadequate because they “seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms” (LS 26).

Here is a brief summary of the six chapters of this remarkable document:

1. Devastating pollution, climate change, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, and global inequality/poverty.

2. Past attempts to justify human domination of other species are “not a correct interpretation of the Bible.”

3. Human responsibility for the ecological crisis.

4. A way forward? Integral ecology, a holistic economic, social, ethical, and spiritual global challenges.

5. International agreements to protect the environment and assist low-income countries, inclusive/transparent decision-making, and economies where everyone can thrive.

6. The importance of an ecological conversion or “falling in love with Nature” to motivate and sustain our commitment to the Earth.

I am grateful that Maryknoll not only works for a just society in a healthy world but also embraces those who left the convent decades ago. Although I’m glad I left, these highly-educated, courageous, global feminist nonviolent warriors continue to amaze me.

Nancy Manahan