“God Is The Bigger Elvis”

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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.



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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • http://www.robinhardy.com robin

    There is no telling what self-inflicted trauma she avoided by seizing what was important early on. (It didn’t end well for Elvis, did it?) The older I get, the more I am grateful for the sins God did not allow me to commit when I was young and stupid.

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  • Trish Crew

    I was impressed by the way she held both marriage and religious profession in her hands while she waited for God to tell her which way to go. I think that is very beautiful. I had always heard that Delores Hart was a sort of crazy person who ran away from success and hid herself away, as if she were in a mental institution. This film shows that that is no such thing. I am glad to have a picture of her in my mind as she is now. She is happy, I think, if happiness is found in a place where you are flayed alive with your emotions. But her serenity was moving and her difficult departures from her former fiance’ both show the real woman, Mother Delores Hart.

  • http://attheturnofthetide.blogspot.com Caspar

    And that’s far from the only awesome person at Regina Laudis. It’s also the home of the cheese nun! And they make CDs! Also, their foundress was apparently awesome enough for Hollywood to make a movie about the monastery.

  • Tony

    Hey! Where the video go? On youtube is “removed by the author”. Anyone knows where can I see it again? Mr. Thomas , any suggestions?
    Thank you!