Video: Mother Dolores at the Oscars!

ChelseaPro Life, Religion19 Comments

As I predicted, Mother Dolores was never featured on any of the red carpet shows, but I heard from a few people who noticed her in the background. She even caught the attention of celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton! I didn’t see it live, but during this interview with Maya Rudolph, you can see her off to the right starting at about the 30 second mark:

That’s got to be a red carpet first! Here are a few pictures I managed to find online this morning. God bless her. She looks absolutely delightful!

According to the AP, she said:

“It’s absolutely an extraordinary event,” said Mother Dolores, her voice barely audible above the red carpet’s screaming bleacher fans. “Believe me, this is very different than being in the monastery.”

And the NY Post reports:

“When the bleachers section called out to her, she put her fingers to the corners of her mouth and let out a huge whistle to the fans,” said a spy. “No one could believe such a loud sound came from the reserved Mother.”

Her documentary did not win, unfortunately. I know some people were concerned that her breaking enclosure might be spun as validation of the “importance” of Hollywood, instead of a call to look away. A concern I completely understand. But hopefully her presence there planted a few seeds at least, which I think was the hope of her superiors, too. God knows Hollywood needs it!

19 Comments on “Video: Mother Dolores at the Oscars!”

  1. I imagine if she broke enclosure, she had permission. And after forty some years enclosed and away from Hollywood, I think we can all see which one she picked! Thanks for the great story!

  2. I caught a brief glimpse of Mother, I watched the entire pre-awards red carpet show for an interview, I should have known better. They can’t make money off her dress designer.

  3. @ Susie:
    You are confusing “enclosure” with “cloister.”

    The Benedictine enclosure at Regina Laudes is constitutional, not canonical. In other words, these contemplative nuns are allowed to leave their monasteries with the approval of the abbot or abbess. She did not have to “break enclosure” to leave her monastery.

    Unlike the discalced Carmelites, or other communities under canonical enclosure, these Benedictine nuns (like the nuns in the Abbey of St. Walburga in Colorado) do have contact with the “outside” world.

    Enclosed – yes.
    Cloistered – no.


  4. @Amanda – The “breaking enclosure” wording was mine. Actually, it was the wording of a friend of mine from whom I had heard the concern from originally. But, thanks for the clarification! I knew she had permission from her Superior, but I didn’t know about the difference between cloistered and enclosure difference.


  5. God love her. She is the most beautiful, most radiant woman in the crowd. Radiating the love of God! What a lovely sight.

  6. When we were students in Los Angeles, I had the duty of driving her to a rehearsal for a play. One never knows the future of the person sitting next to you.

  7. Great pictures of Mother Dolores. She certainly stood out from the crowd. I am greatly looking forward to her film when it makes its debut in April.

  8. Um, I heard that even though all the nuns at her monastery are titled “Mother” she is the prioress and doesnt need permission to leave. Can’t she come and go at her choosing? as I heard she has several times in the past to give speeches, host charitable events, and even testify in Congress.

  9. My understanding is that she doesn’t travel much, but she does travel. She visited Chicago this past summer to participate in a prolife film fest my friend organized. I got to meet her and hear that whistle up close — ouch! I’m bummed her documentary didn’t win, but at least it’s getting mentioned in the press a lot so more people will hear her incredible story!

  10. Frankly, I was a bit put off that Mother Delores Hart felt the need to attend this Hollywood event. She looked very out of place….not because she wears a habit (I would love that witness in almost any other place)…but because this particular event was all about wardrobe, legs, etc… It appeared that no one payed her any attention. It seemed like she was longing for the good old glitter of Hollywood….and I don’t think she found it…. Oh it was there “objectively” but how could it have done anything for her who, presumably, knows the real beauty…and “glitter”….of the “interior life.”


  11. St Benedict’s Rule (in a feminized version), which the nuns of Regina Laudis purport to follow says:

    “The twelfth degree of humility is that a nun should not only be humble of heart, but should also in her behaviour always manifest her humility to those who look upon her. That is to say, whether she is at the Work of God, in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road, in the fields, or anywhere else, and whether sitting, walking, or standing, she should always have her head bowed and his eyes downcast, pondering always the guilt of his sins….” (ch 7)

    Similarly, the nuns may not be under papal enclosure, but the Rule does specify that absences from the cloister should be rare, and everything arranged so as to avoid it.

  12. Steve and Kate,

    “Judge not, that you may not be judged, For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why seest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye; and seest not the beam that is in thy own eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam in thy own eye, and then shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
    –Jesus, Gospel of St. Matthew, 7:1-5 (Douay-Rheims)

  13. Thanks for posting these wonderful photos of an absolutely radiant Mother Dolores Hart! Her presence at the Academy Awards in no way invalidates her commitment to her vocation, nor does it validate the excesses of Hollywood and the celebrity culture that is supported there. She was a child of Hollywood, having lived and attended school there in her youth, and she openly acknowledges a respect for her early roots and acquaintances, along with the craft of her former profession. Her appearance lent an inspiring dimension to the event, and I am sure that it left a positive impression on all who attended, even if television viewers were denied any screen time with her.

  14. Thank you for posting pictures of her! I didn’t watch any of the Oscars and haven’t been able to find much info about her online. I appreciate you posting this!

  15. I wonder if Mother is happy that she went to Hollywood. It has changed so much since she was making movies. Just look at the people who were associated with the other documentaries.

    On the issue of the type of monastery, I have always been under the impression that when a woman enters any type of monastery or convent, she left her past life behind her. It seems that Mother has been able to keep her old life even while living in a cloister. I just cannot understand that concept. Why would anyone wish to remember mere human actors in such a vivid way as to be a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture…? And the films she has to review are sometimes very graphic and should not be watched by anyone with a good conscience. I realize that Elvis was memorable, but isn’t she clued in that he probably wasn’t worth all the hoopla that surrounded him even while he was alive? That certainly would not be a highlight of my life were I in the impressive company of women who have devoted their lives to prayer.

  16. Mother Dolores is the Prioress, she is not the Abbess, so she does need the permission of the Abbess to travel outside the Abbey. Mother Dolores enfolds all of Hollywood within her,the good and the bad, and she blessed the Oscar event by her presence.

  17. Dona,

    All I did was draw attention to the relevant parts of the Rule that Mother Dolores undertook to follow; all Steve did was riase a question about the consistency of this with her vocation. Hardly ‘judging’!

    And to the extent that it is, what’s wrong wiht that? You are judging her presence there to be a postive, so you too are ‘judging’.

    But perhaps you misunderstand the relevant part of Scripture on this subject, in which case I recommend a read of this:

  18. Both constitutional and papal enclosure allow nuns to leave the enclosure with permission of the superior/abbess/prioress.
    Whether it was appropriate for Mother Dolores to go to the Oscars is another story but it seems that her community felt it a good decision and indeed Mother is a “what you see is what you get” person.

    Her abbey is trying to raise funds for renovation and that is probably the real reason she went or even why the documentary was nominated! I’m sure she was just as happy to be back at her abbey.

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