‘Band of Sisters’ receives high marks


By Barb Arland-Fye

Sisters Pat Murphy, RSM, center, and JoAnn Persch, right, pose with an interfaith committee in November 2008 after a successful day of lobbying at the Illinois State Capitol for pastoral care for immigrant detainees. The Sisters were featured in a new documentary titled “Band of Sisters,” that has been drawing sell-out crowds.

DAVENPORT — First-time filmmaker Mary Fishman’s documentary, “Band of Sisters,” captures the resilience and deep faith of Catholic Sisters whose lives were transformed by Vatican II. While Sisters from the Davenport Diocese were not profiled for the documentary, some who viewed it saw themselves mirrored in the story’s message.
Band of Sisters shows Sisters praying outside a deportation center and later meeting with legislators in the Illinois State Capitol. Another Sister visits with a formerly homeless woman who gushes about being able to take a bath in her new apartment. Cameras follow Sisters engaged in ministry at retreat centers, in holistic health at an urban center, protesting outside the former School of the Americas, lecturing at a university, and reflecting on their individual call to religious life and women religious today. Historic photos and film footage interspersed in the 88-minute documentary contrast the uniformity that dominated the Sisters’ early years of ministry with the variety of choices that Vatican II made possible.
The Quad-City premiere of Band of Sisters on Jan. 6 at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport was a sell-out, sponsored by the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in Davenport and the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton. Humility Sisters also showed the documentary Jan. 7 at the Humility of Mary Center.

“One of the main things I want to convey is the sense of community the Sisters have and things that you can do as a community that wouldn’t be possible to do without the support of community,” Fishman said during an interview after the Humility of Mary Center showing.

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