Novitiate (2017) Movie Script

So many people settle for
love that doesn't really ask
anything of them, that they don't have
to make any sacrifices for.
I don't want that.
I want an ideal love
that I have to give everything to.
Where are you?
Where are you?
Why are you doing this?
In the name of the father...
Benedicamus domino
benedicamus domino
dear Christ.
I was 17 years old
when I came to the convent,
18 when I entered the novitiate.
I know a lot of people
could probably never understand...
Never understand how someone so young
with their entire life ahead of them
would want to give it all away to god.
They think of nuns today,
and they see a bunch of old women.
Women who couldn't find husbands,
or for some reason,
just couldn't make it
in the outside world.
So they ran off to a monastery
to escape everything.
What they don't understand
is that beneath everything else...
We were women in love.
You're all I could ever want.
You ready for this?
Okay, you can come right out this way.
Ls my hair all right?
Good morning, father.
Nora Harris? I can't believe it.
Ls it you?
Hey, rob, it sure is. How you been?
I've been good. I've been real good.
Now, wait a minute. Now don't tell me.
Ls this cathleen?
It sure is. Can you believe it?
Look how big she got.
My goodness. Hey, pretty lady.
How are you?
You know, you're not allowed
to grow up that fast.
Soon, you'll be taller than me.
I gotta say, Nora, I'm a little
surprised to see you here.
I've known you all my life,
and I don't think I've ever seen you
within 500 yards of a Sunday service.
Yeah, well, don't get your hopes up.
I'm not here to be saved
or nothing like that.
I just thought it about time
that cathleen learned
what religion was about.
- Or supposed to be about, you know.
- Yeah.
Plus, we were a little bored,
weren't we?
Well, hey, that's all right with me.
I'm just glad you're here.
- Let's get y'all a good seat.
- All right.
Come on in. Right there's two,
right up front there.
Blessed be god the father.
Because although you have
not seen him, you still love him.
Although you do not know him,
you still believe in him.
You feel his presence all around
without knowing his name,
and you rejoice
with an indescribable ecstasy.
Because if there's one thing we know,
it's that god's love is unconditional.
Put your napkin in your lap.
Thank you.
Did you like going to that church today?
Yeah, I did.
What'd you like about it the most?
I don't know.
I guess I just thought it was peaceful.
"Peaceful," huh?
Yeah, I guess it was kind of peaceful.
What kind of church was it, again?
That was a catholic church.
Are we catholic?
No, we're not anything.
I don't really believe
in religion, actually.
I think it's kind of a waste of time.
But when you're older,
you can decide for yourself.
Looks like daddy's home.
Hey, hey, hey, baby.
How's daddy's little girl? Huh?
What'd you do today?
Did you have a good day today?
Daddy, where were you?
We've been waiting for you for so long.
Yeah, it's a valid question, Chuck.
Where you been?
I was out. That's all.
Okay. 'Cause we've been
sitting here all day, waiting on you.
You never heard of a phone or...
Come on, Nora, please.
Of course I've heard of a phone.
Well, that's good.
You've heard of a phone. That's nice.
What do you want me to say, Nora?
Is there anything in particular
that you'd like to hear me say?
I don't know, Chuck.
Maybe I'd just like you to be a man
every once in a while, you know?
Be a fucking father for a change,
maybe learn to sacrifice a little bit.
Give me a break, okay?
Are you serious with that?
What, you want me to drop it, Chuck?
Ls that what you want?
- Yeah!
- Well, fuck you!
Fuck me? Fuck you, Nora!
As a matter of fact, fuck all this shit!
I'm sick of this!
I'm sorry that I can't be
the person you want me to be!
No, you can't be the man
i wanted you to be.
- You are the opposite of that!
- Okay. All right.
I was out! That's all!
You can't handle that, I'm gone!
Where do you think you're going, Chuck?
You're not leaving!
You got a little girl now! Hear me?
- If you leave, you get out!
- Well, fuck you!
Honey, will you take this for me?
You got it?
Excuse me?
Can I help you?
Yes. Are you Mrs. Harris?
- Yes.
- My name is sister Gloria.
This is sister Eleanor.
We're from our lady of blessed sorrows,
the parochial school just up the road.
We are very proud to say
that it is the nuns, sisters like us,
who have built the
catholic school system in this country,
brick by brick.
Your little one is so lovely,
by the way.
May I ask how old?
Cathleen is 12.
Look, we appreciate your coming by,
but the truth is,
we're not all that religious.
I mean, we go to church when we can,
like everybody else.
But my husband, cathleen's father,
he left us a while back,
so it's just me taking care of us.
Sorry to hear that, Mrs. Harris.
God cherishes your strength.
But one thing you should know,
our doors are open to everyone,
practicing, non-practicing alike.
Our first priority is just to provide
an exceptional education.
Well, how much does it cost? I don't
know if we can afford this school.
Well, that's just it.
Right now, we're offering
full scholarships
on a first-come basis.
Silence, girls.
How many in this room
were baptized catholic?
Don't worry, this is not a judgment
on anybody's background or belief.
No, the reason I ask the question
is because I wonder if any of you know
what the difference is
between the catholic religion
and all the other religions.
Say like, the protestants,
the baptists, the Jews?
and sacrifice.
Love and sacrifice.
Because if there's one thing
i know for certain,
there can be no love
without sacrifice.
Hi, there.
How come you're sitting all alone?
You don't wanna join the others?
They're all talking
about their boyfriends.
I don't have a boyfriend.
Oh, no?
Me, neither.
I'm told they're overrated.
Mind if I join you?
I'm sister Margaret, by the way.
You're cathleen, right?
I haven't had you in my class yet,
but I've noticed you
because you're shy, like me.
You seem to like to be
by yourself a lot, to think a lot?
I guess so.
I like to be by myself
and think a lot, too.
- You do?
- Mmm-hmm.
What do you like to think about?
Mostly about god.
Can I show you something?
You see that light in there?
That's his light.
And the statue to the side,
the savior, of course, Jesus Christ.
Here, you wanna sit down for a sec?
Go ahead.
Just because someone likes to be alone
doesn't mean they don't still
crave intimacy.
You really think god and Jesus are real?
Of course I do. I more than do.
'Cause I'm married to them, silly.
Didn't you know?
All nuns are brides of Christ.
But why?
I bet you could have married
anyone you wanted to.
Well, I'm... I'm not so sure about that.
And either way,
I doubt any other relationship
would have been quite as fulfilling.
Oh, I gotta go. I've got class.
Are you coming?
I think I'll stay for a little while,
if that's okay with you, sister.
Of course.
Good night, cathleen.
Good night, miss Williams.
Cathleeni who is he?
He's just a friend of mine, that's all.
Another one?
What are you doing up so early, anyway?
I set my alarm
so I can go to mass before school.
Oh. Okay.
You need a ride?
That's okay.
Hey, cathleen?
You're not getting too into god
and all that stuff, are you?
What do you mean?
L just mean there's more to life
than god and church and praying.
You're serious, cathleen?
I honestly didn't even realize
you'd been considering this.
I want to give my life to god.
You're such a passionate girl.
You remind me of myself at your age.
I think you're making
the right decision.
A nun? What are you talking about?
That's just fucking crazy, cathleen.
I knew you wouldn't understand,
but you don't have to understand.
I didn't...
It's not that I don't understand,
it's just that it's the stupidest idea
I've ever heard!
You throw your life away
in some convent...
But I'm not throwing my life away.
I don't know how you can
even say that...
You're absolutely
throwing your life away!
Well, I don't get it.
Do you think I wanted this?
Do you think I wanted
to be a single mother?
But it's not about that.
It has nothing to do with you.
Then what is it?
-L'm in love, mom!
- You're in love with who?
Oh, my god, that's crazy!
That is fucking crazy!
That doesn't even make sense,
"in love with god."
I don't know how to explain this,
but I was called,
and I'm gonna become a nun.
And there's really nothing
that you can say
that's gonna make me change my mind.
Oh, cathleen.
You're a 17-year-old girl.
You don't know anything about religion.
And you sure as hell
don't know anything about love.
Where are you?
It's not right.
It's not fair.
Someone gives you their whole life...
Where are you?
Good afternoon, all of you.
My name is reverend
mother Marie St. Clair.
You can call me "reverend mother,"
or simply "mother," if you prefer it.
I am the mother superior, or abbess
of this particular order
of sisters of beloved rose.
I myself have been a rose
for nearly 40 years.
Meaning, some 40 years ago,
I first came through those gates
as a postulant,
same as all of you.
And now, 40 years later,
I have not once set foot
outside those gates.
So, as far as all of you are concerned,
you might consider me
like the voice of god around here.
Meaning, since unfortunately
god can't be here
to run this convent himself,
my voice will serve
as a stand-in for his.
And you can expect
that whenever you hear me speak,
it is on behalf of his wishes.
And over the next two years,
I personally will be separating
the wheat from the chaff,
determining which of you
actually belong,
as opposed to which of you
are simply victims
of a childish imagination.
Because in this monastery,
god is not a fantasy to us.
Not a fantasy, not a daydream,
and certainly
not your invisible best friend.
To the contrary, god is work. Hard work.
The work of a very special kind of love,
which you'll all be trained in.
You'll be spending
the next six months as postulants.
After that, and for those of you
who make it,
you'll take your very first vows
and enter the novitiate.
And as a rule, we make it a point
to never discuss the novitiate
until we've been through it ourselves.
So for now, you'll just have to wait.
Finally, I'd like to talk about silence.
We observe two kinds of silence here,
regular silence and grand silence.
During regular silence,
if you feel you have
the need to speak, it's permissible.
But when you hear that bell
at 9:00 at night,
signifying the beginning
of grand silence,
that means you don't talk.
Any questions?
Put your hand down, sister.
Postulants don't have questions.
And you are free to go home.
Good afternoon, mother. Praise the lord.
Now and forever. God bless.
- Praise the lord.
- Now and forever. God bless.
Good afternoon, mother. Praise the lord.
Now and forever. God bless, sister.
Totally love him, who gave himself
totally for your love.
He, Christ, is the splendor
of eternal glory,
the brightness of eternal light
and the mirror without cloud.
I haven't had the chance
to formally introduce myself yet.
I'm sister Mary grace.
I will be your postulant mistress
for the next six months,
perhaps your novice mistress after that.
This is sister Anne.
Sister Catherine, Kate.
Both professed nuns.
Both just took their final vows.
We're very proud of them.
Now, it is our job to help guide you
as you try to adapt to our way of life.
I'm sure at the beginning,
it will feel very different.
That's normal.
I remember when I first came here,
everything seemed so strange.
I didn't know if I'd ever
truly make it as a nun.
Please don't worry about that.
I'm sure you all will be great.
Now, we should probably
go over the schedule.
Postulants usually have
the same schedule every single day.
The most important thing
to pay attention to is the bell.
Pretty much everything we do here,
all day long,
all comes down to the bell.
The first bell you'll hear
each morning is the 5:00 A.M. bell.
That bell lets everyone know
it's time to wake up,
get ready for morning mass.
Mass begins once father Luca arrives.
Father Luca always keeps his back to us
the whole time,
and he always reads the liturgy
in Latin.
Sometimes it's hard to keep up.
After daily chores,
you'll hear the third bell
of the morning.
That lets us know
that grand silence is over.
Good afternoon, mother. Praise the lord.
Now and forever. God bless.
Good afternoon, mother.
Praise the lord.
As you probably noticed,
all our meals begin with a reading.
Even though it's after grand silence,
we should all try
and remain as quiet as possible.
Sometimes you might see
some of the novices
doing their own penances
in the refectory.
Probably best to just ignore it
until you're novices yourselves.
Every day after the 3:00 P.M. bell,
we'll have our lessons together.
As you probably remember,
reverend mother made it absolutely clear
that we are not to speak
during grand silence,
so let's practice a little bit
of sign language.
Slowly, that is, "what...
"Right now?"
Sorry to interrupt, mother,
but you just got another package
from the archdiocese.
They can't be serious.
Thank you, sister.
What are they asking of us?
My mother always said
at least one child should be sacrificed.
And even though
i come from a big family,
I'm the only girl with five brothers,
so I guess it was pretty obvious
who was going to become a nun.
Honestly, though,
I'm really happy to be here.
And I know that it's
supposed to be so hard,
but I really can't wait
until we get to novitiate
and we get to wear those white veils.
Who wants to go next?
Well, as for me, I have two cousins,
an aunt and one older sister
who joined the sisterhood.
So, I guess, in a way,
it's kind of in my blood.
And who knows, maybe one day
I'll die young and become a Saint.
Thank you, sister Emily.
Sister cathleen, did you always know
that you wanted to be a nun?
No, actually,
i wasn't raised in the church, so...
What do you mean,
you weren't raised in the church?
Aren't you catholic?
I guess I'm not catholic
in the same way that you guys are.
Well, what are you
even doing here, then?
I mean, is this even allowed?
Sister Candace, please. Ladies.
I went to catholic school.
That's where I learned
about the sisters.
I just thought it seemed like
the most beautiful idea,
to be able to spend
my entire life devoted to love.
Tell me about the new postulants.
I'm so impressed with them as a group.
They're full of energy and enthusiasm,
really passionate about finding
their own relationships with Christ.
What is this you're reading?
This is something to do
with this Vatican ll.
Vatican what?
From what I can make out,
our pope has suddenly
got it into his head
to turn himself
into some sort of reformer.
Meaning what, exactly?
Meaning he's organized
some ridiculous new council in Rome
to speak about changes to the church.
Well, that's a good thing, isn't it?
The church hasn't reviewed its practices
in over 100 years.
Perhaps change is...
You think the church is
in need of change?
Are you questioning me?
I happen to think the church
is perfect the way it is.
Well, what reforms
are they talking about?
- Can I see?
-Lt's not important.
This will all blow over very soon.
It's nothing to concern yourself with.
Pay attention.
I'm going to show you how we walk.
It's called "custody of the eyes."
You put your hands in your sleeve
like this.
Always go slowly, gracefully,
never in a hurry.
And most important
is you keep your eyes down.
Always make sure you're looking
straight ahead at the floor
in front of you.
Excuse me?
Why do we have to walk like that?
I mean, what if we can't see
where we're going?
Not that it's your place
to question anything,
but it's a part of our discipline.
We keep our eyes down
so we don't allow in
any extra stimulation
that might distract us from our lord.
Something funny, sisters?
You two, come here.
Come on.
Stand face-to-face.
Now, both of you look at each other
in the eyes.
- Whatjust happened?
- I started thinking about her.
Yeah, I started thinking about her, too.
Exactly. We're not supposed
to think about each other.
Because we're not here for each other,
we are here only for god.
Move on, sisters.
I love you, god.
Thank you for letting me be here.
Thank you for letting me
love you like this.
Thank you for letting me feel you
so close to me.
Thank you.
I love you, god.
I love you so much.
This is the first time
I've seen you in your outfit.
Do you like it?
- You look like a real nun.
- Thanks.
I'm not a real nun yet. Not yet, but...
What is with this thing?
This is terrible. It's like prison.
Yeah, it's just the way they do it.
It's like a symbol of our enclosure.
What the...
What does that mean?
It's nothing.
So, how are you?
Are you... you like it here?
Are you happy?
Yeah, I am.
I don't know how to describe it,
but it feels like I belong here.
I guess that means you plan on staying,
and you plan on taking those vows.
What do they call it, the "novanate"?
- Novitiate.
-"Novitiate." Nova-something?
Yeah, it's just a temporary vow
that we take for a year and a half.
And we find out
if we're ready to marry god forever.
I'm pretty sure
I'm going to be here my whole life.
Jesus Christ, cathleen,
what the hell did I do wrong?
How have you been?
Well, I'm just fine.
I picked up a few more shifts at work,
keeping myself busy.
I don't really know
what to do with myself.
'Cause I most... I...
I mostlyjust miss you so much.
How about dad? How's dad?
- Have you heard anything from dad?
- Your father? No.
Your grandma did call
and said he'd been sick or something.
That's probably why
you haven't heard from him.
But do you want me to track him down?
I'm sure he'd love to come see you.
That's okay, don't bother.
I'll pray for him.
It's fine.
But it's like a...
It's a really busy day here.
I should get going.
What? No. We have ten more minutes.
- I know, but I just have a lot of work.
- What are you doing?
Maybe we can spend more time together
next time, though.
Okay. Well, can you just wait?
Wait, wait, wait. Wait one second?
Maybe I could just
touch your hand for a second.
- Just for a second.
- Yeah...
We're really not supposed
to touch like that, mom, so...
- Oh. Okay.
- I gotta go.
Okay. Cathleen, I love you.
Thank you for coming.
Oh, god.
I guess I just didn't really know
it was going to be like this.
Like what?
That we'll be spending our whole
entire lives here and never leaving.
We won't even be able to go
to our own parents' funerals.
Who cares? They'll be dead, anyway.
It's not like they'll notice.
Besides, don't you think knowing god
knows we're here for him,
knowing we are so much more special
to him than anybody else...
Don't you think that
makes it all worth it?
Yeah, I guess.
Well, why did you come here, then?
Audrey hepburn.
What are you talking about?
Audrey hepburn.
I wanted to be a nun
because I saw a nun's story,
and she's sister Gabrielle.
And I just thought
she was so holy and beautiful
and perfect.
I wanted to be like her.
Don't laugh at me.
That's not very holy.
I won't tell anybody.
This was a mistake.
I was too young for it.
I didn't ever mean to disappoint you.
I just don't know if I feel it,
you know?
Feel what?
My relationship with him.
Whatever we're supposed to feel.
I can't tell if I'm
communicating with him,
and it's really him
or if it's just all in my head.
Reverend mother says we can't fake
our relationship with him.
Because if...
Even if nobody else knows,
he'll know and he'll shun us for it.
But I'm just worried,
what if I'm faking it,
and I don't even realize?
No, I have them right here
in front of me. I...
It's not that
i wasn't going to respond. I...
Of course I understand the historic...
And also with you.
Good morning, reverend mother.
- Praise the lord.
- Now and forever.
Did you just speak?
Did I just hear you speak?
What's your name?
I'm sister sissy.
Sister sissy?
Well, sister sissy...
Why don't you tell me
what you've been doing lately,
besides getting fat,
being late for mass,
and talking during grand silence.
I... I didn't realize
it was still grand silence.
Well, because they told us
to count the bells before noon.
And I counted...
Do you not understand
what "silence" means? Hmm?
Was it not explained to you properly?
During grand silence,
you are silent. Mmm?
And silence means you don't talk.
You shut your mouth!
But, reverend mother, you're talking.
That is because I am reprimanding you
right now, Jenny!
- I am reprimanding you!
-Lt's "sissy."
I don't care in the least.
I want you to get down
on your hands and knees
and crawl all the way here.
Say as many hail Marys as you can,
from here to there.
Right now!
On your hands and knees, sister!
Hail... hail Mary...
Are you talking?
Do I still hear you talking?
I didn't have any clue.
Sorry. I didn't realize
anybody was here.
No, no, it's okay.
Come here.
Come here. I'd like to talk to you.
- How are you, sister cathleen?
- Good.
Thank you.
And the other girls?
Are they still upset about
sister sissy being sent home?
Everybody mostly understands.
We all miss her. I miss her, but...
Of course.
Do you often come here
to pray by yourself?
Especially now that
our first vows are coming up.
L just wanted to spend some extra time
communicating with him,
and make sure he's okay
with me becoming a novice.
I'm pretty sure he's okay with it.
I think you're gonna be a great nun.
Thank you, sister.
Just do me a favor, okay?
Please make sure this is what you want.
Do you understand what I'm saying?
Lord, please forgive me,
i haven't done well today.
I didn't focus enough
on my prayers this morning,
and I rushed to mass
because I just wanted
to be with my friends.
And I'm sorry, sometimes I feel like
I pay more attention to my friends
than I do you.
And I just pray that
you censure my heart,
and you center my thoughts
and my mind only on you.
You shall speak to him
and put the words in his mouth
and I will be with your mouth
and with his mouth
and will teach you both what to do
you shall speak to him
and put the words in his mouth
and I will be with your mouth
and with his mouth
and will teach you both what to do
you shall speak to him
and put the words in his mouth
and I will be with your mouth
and with his mouth
and will teach you both what to do
you shall speak to him
and put the words in his mouth
and I will be with your mouth
and with his mouth
and will teach you both what to do
you shall speak to him
and put the words in his mouth
and I will be with your mouth
and with his mouth
keep going.
And will teach you both what to do
keep singing-
you shall speak to him
and put the words in his mouth
I owe you no explanation whatsoever.
I just want you
to collect your belongings
and get yourselves back home.
All right, out you go.
Enough's enough.
Come along.
- What just happened?
- Oh, nothing.
I'm sending those two girls home.
You're sending Mariana and Teresa home?
I was told that their relationship
was veering toward
something inappropriate.
But they're just young girls, right?
Perhaps they're just friends.
Perhaps they're just seeking comfort
in each other.
Seeking comfort in each other?
Is that what we do around here now?
Are you questioning me again?
Are you questioning myjudgment?
So, why don't you tell me, Mary grace.
How are those two girls
expected to go their entire lives
without any form of physical affection,
when they can't even make it
a few months?
I don't know.
You know, there have been
moments, recently,
when it's begun to feel to me
as if you don't want to
be here with us anymore.
As if everything requires
some sort of inquisition by you.
What is your trouble exactly?
Part of my trouble is you.
I don't understand your motivations.
God is my motivation.
God is my reason and motivation
for everything I do.
How can you be absolutely certain
of what he wants?
I am quite certain.
I think it's wrong of you to keep us
in the dark about Vatican ll.
Whatever's in those documents,
whatever it is
that you're hiding from us,
that's going to affect all of us...
It is not going to affect any of us.
- This will affect none of us.
- Why can't you just tell me?
Because I don't want to.
I don't have to, and I don't want to.
- Fine, mother!
- Yes, fine!
Fine indeed, Mary!
I just wanted to...
I just wanted to tell you
I've decided to leave the convent.
Postulantsi what?
I'm very sorry that I won't be there
to see you take your first vows.
What do you mean? Where are you going?
It's because
of reverend mother, isn't it?
She wants to take you away from us.
No, no, no, that's not it.
This is my decision.
I've been a rose
since I was 16 years old.
My time here has been wonderful,
but I am not meant to be here anymore.
Will you still be a member
of the church after you leave?
This is my family.
You, each and every one of you
that I've spent day in and day outwith.
I love each and every one of you
with everything in my heart.
"We become what we love
and who we love shapes what we become.
"Imitation is not
a literal mimicking of Christ,
"rather it means becoming
the image of the beloved.
"An image disclosed
through transformation."
Be still...
Please clear the way
for my untouched virginal body to pass.
There's a new era coming,
a new wind blowing in here.
There will come a time, very soon,
when all your cathedrals
will finally crumble.
All these trappings and clothing
falling away to the ground.
And it'll be us, all of us,
standing here naked before god.
we only have a few more minutes.
- We have a long way to go.
- Can you do it yourself?
Our parents are out there.
Does anyone have a knitting needle?
Sister Anne, do you have
any knitting needles?
I don't even have them.
Can someone help her
with her veil?
Postulant 42 I'll get it.
Postulant 52 I need a band.
With the help of god,
I have come to know in this community...
...both the difficulty and the joy
of a life completely devoted to him.
My desire is to be allowed
to make perpetual profession.
I seek to become a temporary bride
of Christ for a year and a half
and to persevere
in all of my undying love.
May we be worthy of Christ's love.
We're married! We're married!
We're married!
- I love you, god!
- I love you, Jesus!
I'm married to Jesus.
Christ. Christ.
The novitiate,
as I'm sure you've all heard,
is the most grueling
and demanding period...
Why are they breaking
our mirrors like that? any nun's life.
It is then when the strength
of your so-called vocations
will be tested to their limits.
It's also about learning to be perfect.
Because, and I think you'd all agree,
our savior deserves no less
from each one of you
than a perfect wife.
So, once a week,
we will be meeting in this room
for an exercise called
"chapter of faults."
And one thing I can assure you,
we do not leave
until the chapter is finished.
So... you, sister.
Me? Evelyn.
I'm sister Evelyn.
Come to the center of the room, please.
I want you to think for a moment,
and then I want you to carefully list
every single fault
you're aware of in yourself.
I'm sorry, what?
What don't you understand?
Are you perfect?
I don't know...
What do you mean?
Are you a perfect person,
a perfect human being?
A perfect nun?
No. Of course not.
Wouldn't you like to be perfect?
Don't you think you should at least
try to be perfect?
Yes, if I could.
So what do you think
stands in the way most
between you and perfection?
My faults.
Because there's really no way
for any of us to achieve perfection
without first getting rid of our faults.
I guess so.
You guess what, sister?
Yes, mother, I agree.
All right. Let's hear it.
Let's hear your faults.
Well, I'm untidy.
I mean, lam... I'm messy.
I feel like a slob, and...
I space out sometimes.
I mean, in school, they...
- All right. Whoa, whoa...
- I can't. I really can't...
Hold it. Hold. Hold. Hold.
Just a moment.
Leaving clothes on the floor
and lack of concentration,
or "spacing out," as you call it,
while I agree these are all weaknesses
that you need to know about yourself,
they're also quite superficial
and won't get us very far
in this process.
I want you to start again.
And this time,
I want you to fully examine
your conscience
and come up with a list of things
you do on a daily basis
to fail our lord Christ.
Ways that I fail...
Ways that I fail Christ.
Well, there's a part of me
that thinks that I'm not good enough
to be here,
that I don't deserve to be here.
I want to be pure,
and I want to be good.
I don't know if that's
who I really am on the inside.
Sometimes my thoughts inside
don't match the way
i act on the outside.
And I just feel bad and ugly inside.
And I've let people down before.
I've let my parents down,
my ma and my father,
but I don't want
to let him down, mother.
I don't want to let Jesus down.
And I just hope that
he knows that I can do better...
If he'll let me.
All right, sister. Very brave of you.
And now for your penance,
I'd like to assign you
ten rosaries next week.
And I'd also like you
to starve yourself all day on Friday.
Thank you, mother.
Where are you going?
I thought that I was done.
Done? No one said you were done.
Come back here.
Now that sister has been brave enough
to share some of her faults with us,
I'd like to open it up to the room
to help point out
any additional character flaws
that they are aware of in their sister.
Well, somebody say something.
We've already established
she's not perfect.
- I saw her smile.
- What?
Just now, when you said
she did a good job,
I saw her smile.
Like she was pleased with herself.
Like it was all a joke to her.
Is that true?
And how would she know
if she hadn't broken
the custody of eyes?
I didn't. You're vain!
You did! You're a liar!
How else would she know?
All right. That's enough.
Sister, your turn is finished.
However, if that is true,
and you had the nerve
to mock this process, it's pathetic.
What sort of nun are you going to be
if you can't even stand
a single moment of self-reflection
without gloating? Hmm?
So in addition to your other penance,
I would like you to use
the discipline on yourself.
Was it that bad?
What do you think?
You don't have to stay here, you know.
None of us do.
You can leave whenever you want to.
And do what?
You mean go home
and tell everyone and my parents
that I failed at being a nun?
- No, I can't do that.
- Sister Mary grace did it.
It's not the same.
Sister, I'm...
I don't think you're vain at all.
I didn't know.
- L'm sorry.
-Lt's okay.
-L'm sorry, too.
- We're all vain.
She's just teaching us
how to lose our vanity.
Sisters, I need your attention, please.
As of today, we have a new member.
Sister Gabrielle Emanuel
will be joining our community.
Sister Emanuel was previously a member
of the order of the sisters of Christ
in New Hampshire.
But as she felt the culture of the roses
was more suited to her religious needs,
she has decided to transfer here.
She'll be joining us
as a first-year novice.
So let's make her feel welcome.
I guess all my friends
are just back home,
and they're doing a bunch
of teenage stuff.
They're going to the drive-in movies.
And they're going roller-skating
and watching the fireworks
on the fourth of July,
or they're going...
They're going on dates with boys.
- With boys.
- Yeah. I don't know, I...
Even what?
You know.
Come on. You can't say that
you've never thought about it before.
Everybody does.
Even nuns do,
they just don't ever talk about it.
How do you know that?
Because it's normal.
It's more normal than you think.
I don't really think about it.
So, you never even kissed a boy
before you came here,
nothing like that?
Have you?
Yeah. Only once, though.
Wait, don't tell all the other sisters,
though, please.
- I won't.
- Okay.
"Let him kiss me
with the kisses of his mouth,
"for your love is better than wine.
"Your anointing oils are fragrant.
"Your name is oil poured out on me.
"Therefore, virgins love you."
Sister cathleen.
I wish I could be more loved back.
I wish I knew for sure...
I wish we all knew for sure
that he really loves us
as much as we love him.
L just wish I could feel it more.
Don't wish for things
you shouldn't, sister.
For it is in giving that we receive,
and in pardoning, that
we are pardoned, and in dying...
Excuse me, mother.
The archbishop is here to see you.
The archbishop.
Good afternoon, mother.
Go ahead, sit.
Let me get you some tea.
- No, thank you.
- A little drop won't hurt you.
So, how are you, Marie?
You seem a little bit on edge.
Perhaps it's because I haven't been
in the company of a man for a while.
It's unusual for me.
- Do you know why I'm here?
- No, I don't.
- You have no idea why I'm here?
- No, I honestly do not.
Well, I've been hearing a lot recently
about how this order, in particular,
is having some trouble embracing
some of the changes that have been
put forth by Vatican ll.
Now, you tell me, is that accurate?
Accurate to a point.
Some of the changes we've adopted,
others we haven't.
You care to elaborate?
The memos sent over from your office
used the word "suggestion"
in regards to all these changes
we're supposed...
Well, that's amusing.
I think you're the only one
who missed the subtext there.
You see, for most of us,
the word "suggestion" is understood
as synonymous with "obligation."
Perhaps I'm not all that
attuned to subtext.
- My apologies.
- Of course.
- Are we done here?
- No, no, no. Sorry, we're not done.
Why don't you tell me
what exactly you have
the most difficulty with?
Just lay it all out for me.
I have no difficulty.
I just happen to disagree with it.
All of it.
Not to mention it's a slap in the face
that the sisters weren't given
any voice in the matter.
You honestly expected them
to have their own voice, the sisters?
We are a part of this church, too.
Marie, Marie, that's not how it works.
I don't think you really understand
what this will do to us.
If we were to truly embrace
all these changes,
it will ruin the very institution
of catholic nuns as...
Are you still encouraging
all of your novitiates and postulants
to perform extreme acts
of penance on themselves?
All that old medieval stuff?
Because that's gotta stop.
I never asked my girls
to do anything for god
that I haven't done myself.
Like I said, gotta stop.
As for the rest
of Rome's recommendations,
I would just hope
that you can keep an open mind
and try to see things
as part of the larger context.
A theme of change, adaptation,
of spiritual evolution.
Do me a favor,
just open your mind a little bit.
Otherwise, I may have to "suggest"
that we find a replacement for you.
I never ever, ever thought
that I would say this,
but there are times where I question
whether or not god is even real.
And I know, I know that's so horrible,
but what scares me to think is,
what if he actually doesn't exist?
What if he's just something
that we all made up one day
and everybody started believing it?
Everything that we do for him
and what we put ourselves through,
to only live in his image, but...
But are we spreading any sort of love
in here or in the world,
or any kindness, or...
Or are we even getting to know god more?
And if it ever turned out
that god didn't really exist...
Then who would we all be doing this for?
Sister, you come in here week after week
with the same ridiculous confession
about your wavering spirituality.
Frankly, it's grown tiresome.
Your utter spiritual wretchedness.
So, for your penance,
I'm assigning you no penance.
Don't bother.
I just don't understand who she is
or what she's doing here.
Apparently, the socs
weren't strict enough for her.
I guess she came here
for all the extra self-punishment.
She really thinks she's that holy?
You can come in now.
What did you want to see me for?
I was wondering
if I could borrow the discipline?
Just for tonight, please?
What did you do?
If it's okay with you,
i would rather not say.
- It's not okay.
- No.
I can't just give it to you
without knowing
what you need it for first.
You know that.
Yeah, of course. I...
I broke grand silence twice this week.
I was uncharitable to one of my sisters
when I didn't mean to be.
That's all.
That's what you want
to punish yourself for?
Thank you, mother.
Excuse me, sister.
Your mother's here to see you.
What do you mean, why?
It's not visiting day.
It's okay. Reverend mother said
you can use the other door today.
Hi, my love.
Is there someplace we could talk?
I have something I have to tell you.
She already told me.
Yeah. So, I guess no one...
No one knew how sick he was,
and I know he wasn't the best father,
but I just...
I didn't want you to be alone.
Okay, I don't...
I came here to tell you your dad died,
and now you hear it from somebody else?
I don't understand what's going on.
I'm sorry you're upset, mom.
What the hell is going on here?
And why does it look like
you've lost a bunch of weight?
I really haven't lost
very much weight. I'm fine.
You have lost some weight, cathleen.
So, how much weight have you lost?
What's going on,
they don't feed you in here?
- You're not allowed to eat?
- No, I'm fine, okay?
- Let me look at you!
-L'm fine, okay?
- Let me look at you, cathleen.
-L'm sorry. I have to go.
Sorry to hear about dad.
I'll pray that god meets him
at his grace, okay?
- I really need to go.
- What do you mean, you have to go?
- Don't go yet.
- I need to leave, I'm sorry, mom.
I've been driving for three hours.
Stop! Stop, stop.
Cathleen? Cathleen!
I'd like to thank you
for stopping in, Mrs. Harris.
I don't think we've had the pleasure.
Just wanna know what's going on
with my daughter, that's all.
Going on with your daughter?
- In what way?
- Look, miss...
- Excuse me?
-Lt's "mother." Or "reverend mother."
I'm not a "miss," or a "missus" either,
for that matter.
Lady, I am not calling you mother.
Mrs. Harris, I understand
you've had a loss in the family.
- And I would like to express...
- Save it.
You know, I haven't seen
my daughter in over six months.
And I came here today
to tell her about her dad,
and I barely recognize her.
She looks completely different,
like she's lost 20 pounds.
I wanna know
what you're doing to her in here.
What I'm doing?
You're talking about her body,
which is a superficial topic.
Are you blind?
Have you seen her lately?
She looks like she's dying.
Just, please, calm down.
I said, I wanna know
what's going on in here!
Honestly, Mrs. Harris,
with all due respect,
in a sense, you did bring
your daughter here to die.
You brought her here
to die to the outside world
and be born again in Christ's love.
It's a process.
She's simply going through it.
That's all.
For what it's worth,
I do understand how difficult it can be
for a parent to give their child to god.
And that's because
you have children of your own?
No, I don't,
but neither do you anymore.
Okay. Well...
Just so you know,
and with all due respect to you,
miss whatever the fuck
you want to be called,
I didn't bring my daughter here.
I didn't bring her here at all.
But if I ever come here
and see her like this again,
I will take her out of here.
Are you all right, sister cathleen?
Reverend mother...
She asked me to check on you.
And we don't have to sign.
It's not grand silence yet.
They asked me to bring soup for you.
Thank you.
So you were at the socs, right?
What happened, you didn't like it there?
It's not that I didn't like it,
it's just...
I don't know, I just thought
being a rose would be better for me.
I thought it would be easier.
Isn't it so much stricter here?
Sometimes when things are stricter,
it makes them easier.
I wouldn't know.
All I ever wanted was to be a rose.
Seems to come so naturally to you.
Sometimes, I guess.
I just know that
I want god's love
and if being a good nun is what it takes
to deserve it, then...
I admire your devotion.
The passion you feel,
it seems real with you.
Isn't it with you, too?
Sister Emanuel?
Maybe it's a strange question, but...
Why'd you do it?
I mean, why did you starve yourself,
make yourself sick?
Did you do it for Christ?
I'm sorry, it's...
It's really not my place to ask.
You can turn around.
I thought I was doing it for Christ.
just to be a better nun,
but maybe I also thought that
if I made myself starve on the outside,
I wouldn't feel myself
starving as much on the inside.
What are you starving for?
I don't know.
"Let not your heart be troubled.
"You believe in god. Believe also in me.
"In my father's house,
there are many rooms.
"Were it not so,
-"i should have told you..."
- Will you please stop?
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, did I do something wrong?
I don't understand.
You can just keep reading.
Please go back to reading, please.
Just read. I'm sorry.
No, that was a mistake. I'm sorry.
- It's my fault.
- That was my fault.
I'm sorry. That was a mistake.
- L'm sorry, it was my fault.
- No, it's me. I have to go.
So stupid of...
make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
where there is injury, pardon,
where there is doubt, faith,
where there is despair, hope,
where there is sadness, joy,
where there is darkness, light.
Oh, divine master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
Love, love, love.
I have an announcement.
I apologize that this has taken so long,
but there's something very important
that I've been meaning to inform you of.
I'm sure, by now,
at least a few of you have heard
of something called Vatican ll.
In a nutshell,
there's been a series of meetings
in Rome
over the past three years.
These meetings have been
principally concerned with revisions
that the pope and others
felt necessary to ensure the survival
of our church.
I, myself, couldn't be more pleased
with the results of Vatican ll.
Pope John xxiii
was nothing short of a visionary
in terms of...
In terms...
Well, let's not belabor it.
I will read this letter
from the archdiocese.
A letter,
regarding certain reforms
which we will be adopting immediately.
"From now on, please be advised
"that priests are no longer required
to read the liturgy in Latin
"and should face the congregation
during mass.
"All catholics are further
encouraged to embrace
"the idea of full religious tolerance.
"While we may not share
the same beliefs as others,
"we will honor and respect
"each and every individual's belief
as their own.
"Please be advised also that all nuns
"and women religious,
cloistered and non-cloistered,
"are no longer required to wear
the traditional habit
"as a symbol of their
lifelong matrimony to Christ.
"In fact,
"they are now free to wear
what they want.
"Regarding the culture
of more extreme abnegation
"and self-punishment still prevalent
in many communities today,
"please be advised
that according to the council,
"this is no longer understood
"to be the appropriate path to follow
"for all those seeking
greater union with Christ.
"It is no longer acceptable
"to view any acts of extreme sacrifice
"as an act of love.
"from here forward,
"in the eyes of both
the holy church and god,
"the status of all nuns
shall be reduced as equal
"to that of any regular
practicing catholic.
"While the choice to enter the convent
remains one's own,
"this does not
necessarily make nuns any more
"beloved or special
"in the eyes of god."
I am deeply sorry, sisters.
Have a pleasant day.
Where are you?
I can feel you, right next to me,
for so long.
With me
all that time, my darling husband.
And now you've abandoned me.
And you hoped
that I would lose faith in you?
You imagined that I would
just walk out those gates?
I made a commitment
forty years ago.
And even if you choose
to turn your light from me forever...
I am yours.
Oh, my darling husband.
You can't be here.
It's okay.
Do you remember...
Do you remember when you asked
what I was starving for?
I just want to be comforted.
Please, will you just comfort me?
Please, will you just...
Please, will you just...
Will you, please? Just...
Please, will you just comfort me?
Please, please, please.
Please, will you just comfort me?
Please, will you just comfort me?
I can't.
Please, I just want to be comforted.
Please, please, please.
- Okay.
- Please comfort me.
- I will. I will comfort you.
- Please, please, please.
Okay. Okay. Okay.
Please, please, please.
Okay. Okay. Stop talking.
Please, just comfort me. Please, please.
- Please, please.
- Okay, okay.
- Please, please.
- Okay, okay.
Comfort me.
I take it you're feeling better?
Yes. I am.
Thank you.
I appreciate the devotion you showed,
starving yourself for Christ.
Thank you, mother.
So, a few bumps here and there,
but mostly you have been exceptional
during your training.
I believe you belong here
with us, sister.
Doesn't that make you happy?
Of course.
Of course I'm happy.
I don't know how much you've heard
about this Vatican ll?
Not much,
just little things
I've heard here and there
from some of the others.
When I first came here...
When I first came to this convent,
i had nothing.
No home, no family, nothing.
The church is the only thing
that ever held me.
It gave me my work,
my community,
even my identity.
And now Vatican ll is trying
to invalidate all that, for all of us.
Saying none of it matters.
So, my question is,
what is it that really does
still matter?
So much has changed
since we were postulants.
I know that
when I first had my vocation,
that it was real.
It was a real vocation.
Really, truly, his voice calling to me.
I just don't know sometimes
if that was what
he was really calling me for.
Maybe he wants something else for me.
Maybe he never meant for me
to be a nun at all...
Just wants me to be happy
and be good to others.
Or maybe not.
For your penance, I'd like you to say
three extra hail Marys at bedtime.
You can do it quickly if you'd like.
Sister cathleen.
Come to the center of the room, please.
You have any accusations
you'd like to share with us? Hmm?
- Do you hear me, sister?
- Yes.
I want to accuse myself.
I accuse myself of having feelings.
Feelings I'm not sure
I'm supposed to have.
Like wanting to be with another person
in a way that made me
Feel what?
I wanted someone to touch me.
I wanted someone to make me feel
something more than god can give me.
More than god can give you?
What do you mean?
- Explain yourself.
- I don't know how to explain myself.
I'm accusing myself
of being intimate with someone.
- Intimate?
- With another sister.
Feeling love for her.
And I don't think it was a sin.
I don't think it was a sin.
Because it didn't feel like a sin.
It felt like I'm supposed to feel.
A particular friendship?
With someone in this room?
- Who?
-L'm not going to say, mother.
I did what you asked.
I made my confession.
Will you just give me my penance?
I want you to tell me exactly
what you did and with whom.
No, I did what you asked,
i made my accusation.
- Will you just give me my penance?
- Do you want your penance?
Yes, I want my penance.
Please just give me my penance.
You want your penance, cathleen?
Yes, I just want my penance.
Please just give me my penance.
You do? You want your penance?
Yes, I just want my penance.
I want my penance, please.
- Do you want your penance?
- Please, yes.
Please give it to me.
I want you to crawl around this room
and ask this group for your penance.
I just want my penance.
Please, I beg you. Please. Please.
I'm begging you, please.
I'm begging you
please, I'm begging you. Please, please.
I'm begging you, please.
I don't understand.
Where is everyone?
Gone? What do you mean, "gone"?
Didn't you hear?
It's because of Vatican ll.
Now and forever. God bless, sister.
You three are late.
Ls everyone here now?
Why are there only five dresses?
Where's sister Emanuel?
Sister Emanuel's dress
will not be needed anymore
because sister Emanuel left.
She's not going to be taking vows
with the rest of you.
What do you mean, she left?
Where'd she go?
I have no idea, she just left.
That's all.
I guess she didn't want
to be a nun anymore.
I don't know if this is something
that I need to figure out on my own.
I'll do whatever it takes.
If you want me to stay, then I'll stay.
But I can't tell
if that's what you want anymore.
I can't hear you, and I don't know.
I pray and beseech thee
- that each of these dear pledges...
Ls he speaking English?
...of Jesus and Mary,
their being preserved
from all uncleanness.
Thy may with spotless mind,
pure heart and a chaste body
serve Jesus and Mary most chastely
all the days of my life.
What is it you seek?
I seek to take the vows
of chastity, poverty and obedience.
To give my life
to god for eternity.
To be married forever
to our lord Jesus Christ.
Bride of Christ,
you are now professed.
What is it you desire?
With the help of god,
I have come to know in this community
both the difficulty and joy
of a life completely devoted to him.
My desire is to make
permanent profession
within this community
and to wear the holy habit of the rose.
And what is it you seek?
I seek...
What do I seek?
What do I seek?
I seek...
I seek something more.