A new film sprung from the recently launched Imagine Sisters movement in the U.S. hopes to portray the beauty and joy of religious life and inspire young women to consider religious vocations.
Light of Love, which will be released in September and available free of charge, aims to to further spread the message that one sister can change the world, according to the film's director.
Dan Rogers, who is also a seminarian with the San Bernardino Diocese in southern California, says the movie offers women what the 2006 movie Fishers of Men offered men: vocational information and support.
“I saw Fishers of Men when I was in high school, and I loved it,” Rogers told Catholic News Agency June 18. “But we quickly realized there was nothing like Fishers of Men for women.”
Rogers recalled that, after the movie for seminarians was released, producers tried to create a following and support system for men who were discerning.
But Light of Love, he noted, is different.
“We kind of reversed that,” Rogers said. “Instead of watching a movie and then starting the support system, we have a movie that if someone watches it and enjoys it, all of the resources are already in place.”
Those resources include a presence of the Imagine Sisters movement on six social-media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
The film will be presented by Lighthouse Catholic Media and produced by Los Angeles-based media companies Lumen Vere and Altius Studios. Its release date is planned for Sept. 8, which marks the day 19th-century French nun Thérèse de Lisieux took her final vows.
The film will include interviews and glimpses into the lives of five sisters from five different orders: the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart in Los Angeles; the Franciscan Sisters of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother in Steubenville, Ohio; the Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George in Alton, Ill.; the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara in Washington, D.C., and the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco in New Jersey.
“The orders in the film are slightly smaller that some of the bigger ones, like the Nashville or Ann Arbor Dominicans, who already have bigger followings,” Rogers said. “We wanted to show orders that have a lot of young sisters, but also ones that maybe didn’t have quite as much publicity.”
Rogers also said that he wanted to show the kinds of lives sisters lead, since they are somewhat of a mystery to the general population.
“Most people have no idea that sisters will play Frisbee or that they’re really exciting and fun,” Rogers said. “And they are so holy because of their prayer life and service, and it’s such an interesting life, but people have never really seen that.”
What’s also different about the film is that it will be available for viewing and downloading completely free of charge. “Cost was a barrier we wanted to remove,” Rogers said.
The Imagine Sisters movement behind the film started after an event at Loyola University in Chicago.
“There were some people who were excited about nuns,” Rogers said, “and so we hosted an event where a bunch of different sisters came and got a lot of students excited about sisters.”
After seeing the success of the event, Rogers and a few friends got together, and the Imagine Sisters movement was born. Rogers has a background in Web design and multimedia, and the team shared a passion for spreading the love of Christ via the joy of religious sisters to the world.
“Our generation … we don’t have the presence of sisters around as much as maybe our parents or grandparents did,” Rogers said. “So we want to get as many good things out about sisters as possible.”
In just over a year since the movement started on Pentecost 2012, Imagine Sisters has gained more than 13,000 followers on Facebook and thousands of followers on their other social-media sites.
“I think people like that we’re fun, and we’re authentic,” Rogers said. “We just post videos and stories and pictures of smiling sisters.”
So far, the team of Imagine Sisters is small, with only three members who are completely volunteer. Soon though, they hope to transition to have some full-time employees, Rogers said.
By the fall, students will be able to contact Imagine Sisters about hosting campus events and showing the movie for free. Rogers said the team also hopes to create more downloadable resources, such as tips for starting discernment groups on campuses.
Rogers own interest in sisters was sparked after meeting a young sister while in college at Loyola.
“I met a young sister, and I was like, ‘Man, nuns are cool,’” Rogers said. “And I have the honor and the blessing now to work with sisters all the time.”
“When you meet sisters, they have no money, no possessions; they wear the same clothes every day, and they live with tons of other people, and they serve poor people every day; but they do it with such joy that it’s contagious,” Rogers said. “And that’s why this movement has been successful.”
In order to produce the film and make it available for free, the team still needs to raise about $8,000. Tax-deductible donations can be made through the film’s website.
“We hope people see the value in making this film available for free,” Rogers said. “Donations to this film could help spur vocations for the Church.
“Hopefully, some young women will see this film and say, ‘Wow, I had no idea what God was calling me to do with my life.’”