Mother Dolores Hart made headlines in February when a documentary about her life and vocation was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary short subject. Called “God is the Bigger Elvis” after a line spoken by Mother Dolores, the film tries to make sense of a woman who had everything, and then went from staring in major motion pictures (including Loving You opposite Elvis and Where the Boys Are) to the life of a cloistered religious.
Born to teenaged parents, she lives with the knowledge that her grandmother wanted her aborted. She became an actress and her career was soaring when she found herself fatigued after a long run on a Broadway play. A friend suggested she go to a Benedictine Abbey for rest and recuperation. That abbey was Regina Laudes, where Mother Dolores is now the Prioress. She was on the verge of marriage when she got the call, and we see the man who was to be her husband and who, 47 years later, stills visits her at the Abbey. There is a profound moment at the end when the couple–obviously still deeply in love–part, and we get a sense of the tension between two vocational calls: that of marriage to a man, and that of marriage to Christ.
Along the way we meet other nuns (including Laura Adhead, David Cameron’s ex-girlfriend), learn about their call to vocation, and see a bit of the life inside Regina Laudes. The entire documentary is embedded above, albeit with somewhat dodgy compression.