Sister Rose Pacatte : Film Critic and Catholic Sister : Culver City, CA

April 16-17, 2017

"I love to watch the bees buzz around the lavender but then I saw “two copies” of a beetle pollinating the purple flora. Black with an orange stripe going around the shell and across the front part and orange on their spindly legs. I asked Libby what or if the beetles were pollinating and she said “Looks like they are pollinating each other”

A nun is not typically the first image that comes to mind when you think of a "film critic". Conversely, when you think of a "nun" - a sister watching movies for their artistic and societal value is not your first image either. Yet here Sister Rose finds herself, after decades of such work. In fact, she has made such a name for herself in this seemingly strange crossroads that in 2013 The New York Times profiled her as such : “A Nun at the Crossroads of Faith and Film”. I direct you to read this profile written at the Sundance Film Festival by Samuel G. Freedman which captures Sr. Rose's story succinctly and wonderfully.

The line that perhaps captures what Sister Rose does the best, for those who may have certain connotations towards the intersection of religious structure and pop culture is when the author explains Sr. Rose's presence at Sundance Film Festival:

In all those ways, Sister Rose was serving not as a sentry protecting religious belief from cinematic product, but rather as a mediator helping to explain one to the other. As such, she embodies a departure both from the religious temptation to police popular culture, in the manner of the Roman Catholic Church’s now-defunct Legion of Decency, and the effort in fundamentalist circles to create a parallel universe of theologically safe movies, television and music.

She is a woman of great heart and wit with a steadfast desire to continue to shed light on the overall human experience. Sr. Rose is the founder of the Pauline Center for Media Studies (1995-2016) and currently serves as its founding director in Culver City, CA. She is the president of Catholics in Media and is a media literacy education specialist and is the first Catholic in the United States to earn a masters degree in the field and apply it to catechesis, adult faith formation, and spirituality. She has co-authored two award-winning books on media mindfulness for faith formation, five books on Scripture and film, several film guides and one film retreat guide. Two of her most recent books are the award-winning “Martin Sheen: Pilgrim on the Way” (2015) and “Corita Kent: Gentle Revolutionary of the Heart” (2017). She has also contributed chapters to numerous books on theology and film as well as on faith and popular culture. She has even  performed a stand-up comedy routine at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood on Catholic night.

I was introduced to Sister Rose through my guest curator, Scott Young and had the privilege of meeting up with her as she was at a retreat center just north of Chicago. Our wonderful conversation/interview will be available soon to read here, as well. 

So please, take a moment to wander through with this accomplished and compassionate woman at her sister's house during Easter in her pages below: