- October 29, 2011
- 5:27 pm
- Sabine Schramm
Question of Habit Premiers
A Question of Habit provokes audience to view women religious in a different way
By: Ashley Mastervich, SOC Website Reporter
When we hear the word Nun, what do we think of? That question was posed to a crowd by Mary Ann Ahern, a NBC Chicago reporter October 5, 2011 at the Affinia Hotel. The occaision was a screening of Professor Bren A.O. Murphy’s documentary, A Question of Habit.
With Susan Sarandon as its narrator, A Question of Habit examines the differences between the images of Catholic nuns that exist in U.S. popular culture and the actual lives of women religious both historical and current.
Murphy is a faculty member in the School of Communication and Women’s Studies/ Gender Studies in the College of Art and Sciences at Loyola. Since being a faculty member of the Communication Studies since 1984, Murphy has been the department chair for Communication, Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, Chair of Faculty Council, Director of Women’s Studies and interim Graduate director for Women’s Studies.
A reception took place at the hotel before the showing of Murphy’s documentary where students, faculty and alumni from Loyola were able to partake in this event. Several nuns from the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago also came in support of Murphy’s thought-provoking documentary.
Murphy explained that her documentary took approximately three years to complete. She also said that her inspiration for this documentary developed when she was standing at a rack of greeting cards and these cards were covered with nuns.
“Once you start looking [for women religious in popular culture], they are everywhere,” stated Murphy.
From this observation, Murphy wanted to make sense of why the U.S. seemed to be the only nation to portray women religious in this way.
The documentary’s website also cites, “Over 30 women religious, cultural critics, historians and artists were interviewed including: Sr. Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking), Tom Fontana (Oz, Homicide), Robert Orsi (Madonna of 115th Street).”
A standing ovation from the audience commenced the end of this screening, which then allowed Ahern to ask Murphy several questions about the process of making this full- length film.
One member from the audience asked Murphy what next steps she would take to show this documentary to a wider audience.
Murphy said she was looking for a distributor and that her documentary is on the “film festival circuit.” She also informed the audience she has been invited by other universities such as Purdue University, Texas A&M University and the University of San Francisco.