Catholic nuns who ditched the Vatican are the subjects of new documentary ‘Rebel Hearts’

Students and staff from the Immaculate Heart College explored subjects outside of Bible scripture. Photo courtesy of the Corita Art Center, Immaculate Heart Community, Los Angeles.

The 1950s weren’t exactly banner years for women’s independence. Women were mostly expected to marry, have kids, and keep house. And surprisingly, the Catholic Church offered an escape for those who didn’t want that.

In Hollywood, a Catholic order called the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary owned and operated Immaculate Heart College. It was a place where students and staff explored subjects well beyond Bible scripture. It led to clashes with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

In 1965, after the Second Vatican Council nudged the Church closer to a modern world, the Sisters saw an opening to further exert their independence, including ditching the standard wardrobe, such as the long dress and veil. 

The new documentary “Rebel Hearts” explores how the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart broke off from the Catholic Church. 

Credits

Guests:

  • Pedro Kos - director of “Rebel Hearts”
  • Lenore Dowling - PhD, former Immaculate Heart sister and a subject of “Rebel Hearts”