You don't often encounter the words "radical feminist" and "nuns" in the same sentence, but it is a pretty apt description of Sister Simone Campbell, Sister Jean Hughes, and Sister Chris Schenk who are the subject of a new documentary, "Radical Grace."
The film tells the story of the prophetic work the women are doing while challenging the Church's teachings on women concerning female ordination and other issues.
In 2012, Vatican rebuked the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing most American nuns, for breaches of doctrine and decorum. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain was appointed to cleanse the sisterhood of "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith," according to Reuters.
In a clip from the trailer, Catholic League President Bill Donahue suggests that if they don't like Church policies, then they should simply leave. Hughes disagrees. "No, this is my church," she says. "And the church of the women with whom I have thrown in my lot."
The website for the successfully crowd-funded film explains,
RADICAL GRACE follows three extraordinary nuns who faithfully honor their vow of obedience to God, even when it means angering the Church hierarchy.
What does it mean for the sisters to be both devoted to, and in conflict, with a powerful religious institution? Feminists in a patriarchal faith? Why stay? Will the hard-line hierarchy dominate the Church in the 21st century, or will the sisters’ values of social justice and inclusion prevail?
Campbell has an answer to these questions. "I think the Holy Spirit makes mischief in surprising ways," she says.
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