Documentary Films

Dear friends,

I’m interested in creating a list of documentary films related to monastic life and other religious communities.

My list starts with:

  1. Into Great Silence by Philip Gröning
  2. St. Benedict’s Rule by Jay Kanzler

Both are good films. Are you aware of others?


Benedict Oblate

The Nun by Maud Nycander

It’s a really touching look into this young woman’s journey into Carmel.

The Academy Award nominee “Sister Rose’s Passion”:

From IMDB: Celebrates Sister Rose Thering, for 67 years a Dominican nun. Her passion is anti-Semitism. Archival footage looks at her growing up in Wisconsin and taking the veil in her teens. Interviews with scholars and common people capture the extent to which “Christ killers” was a standard Catholic description of Jews. Sister Rose’s research at Saint Louis University in the 1950s into the presentation of Jews within Catholic educational materials leads to the publication of “Nostra Aetate,” a document released in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council. Since that time, she’s dedicated herself to eradicating anti-Semitism. The film ends with a critique of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.”

Thank you for your suggestions. Does anybody else have any suggestions? I’m not interested in non-documentary films such as the lives of Saints or things like that. Movies like “The 13th Day” do not interest me as they are more of a non-fiction drama. I just want strict documentaries.

Thanks friends.

“Visiting a Carthusian Monastery” is a 40-minute film in 4 parts

Hope it helps. HAPPY EASTER!!!

I forgot to mention Caldey Abbey in Wales.

“The Monks of Caldey Island” - a 52-minute DVD showing the yearly cycle of life in the Cistercian Monastery and on the island. Features interviews with the monks, stunning photography and informative commentary.‘The_Monks_of_Caldey_Island’.htm

Monks first came to Caldey in the 6th Century. Pyro, the first abbot is remembered in the island’s Welsh name, Ynys Byr. Pyro was followed by St Samson, from the Celtic monastery at Llantwit Major. Viking raids may have ended this settlement in the 10th Century.

In the 12th Century Benedictines from St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire, set up a priory on the island. They remained until the Dissolution in 1536. Much of their medieval priory is still standing.

Okay, so In This House of Brede isn’t what you are interested in. However, are you open to television documentaries?

Salt and Light Television has produced two or three which might be of interest. However I haven’t seen them.

This Side of Eden
Life inside the Benedictine monastery of Westminster Abbey in British Columbia, filmed during Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. The film is about an hour long.

A Day in a Life: The Carmel of St. Joseph
Life inside the cloister at this small Ontario monastery. The film is about half an hour.

Beloved: The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia
This order is popularly known as the Nashville Dominicans. The film is about an hour long.

There are trailers at each of those links, as well as a fuller description.

You might want to mention that “Into Great Silence” is actually two documentaries or a 2 DVD set. The other one is a documentary in its own right.

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