New film documents life of Carmelite nuns

A new film entitled No Greater Love is set to give the public greater understanding of the vocation of a monastery of enclosed Carmelite nuns.

After ten years of correspondence, film-maker Michael Whyte was given unprecedented access to the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity, in London’s Notting Hill. The monastery, founded in 1878, is home to a community of Discalced Carmelite nuns. These sisters lead a cloistered life dedicated to prayer, rarely leaving the monastery except to visit a doctor or dentist. Silence is maintained throughout the day with the exception of two periods of recreation.

Following the surprise popularity of the film Into Great Silence which followed a year in the life of Carthusian monks, No Great Love gives a unique insight into the nuns' closed world where the modern world’s materialism is rejected; they have no television, radio or newspapers. The film interweaves a year in the life of the monastery with the daily rhythms of Divine Office and work. Centred on Holy Week, it follows a year in which a novice is professed and one of the senior nuns dies. Though mainly an observational film there are several interviews, which offer insights into their life, faith, moments of doubt and their belief in the power of prayer in the heart of the community.

The 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival described the film as ‘a beautiful, informative and inspiring study of a way of life defiantly at odds with the glitzy priorities and frenetic pace of the outside world.’

Distribution of the film in the UK, Ireland and beyond is currently being negotiated for next year by the film's production company, Hot Property Films. In the meantime, the film will be screened at the following forthcoming festivals:

Cork Film Festival, Ireland, at 8.30pm on Friday,  6 November

Interfaith Week at Robert Burns Centre, Dumfries, Scotland, at 4pm on Sunday, 22 November.

Cinecity Film Festival, Brighton, England, at 8pm on Monday, 23 November

A DVD by Michael Whyte documenting the visit of the relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux to England and Wales is in production.

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