Very few films have captured the cloistered life. Typically, those who are vowed behind enclosure do not wish to have their life broadcasted to the world. Perhaps the last popular film was Into Great Silence, and if memory serves, it took months, if not several years, to agree to it.
The next glimpse into the cloistered monastic life is here. It is a film created by Bosco Films titled Free: Duc in Altum. It’s a Spanish documentary with English subtitles. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of subtitled movies and I usually fall asleep during them, regardless if they are dramas or documentaries.
For me, the experience of watching Free as a pre-screener was captivating for me and maintained my interest throughout the almost two-hour long documentary. The movie was spiritually enriching and nourishing and afterwards I knew that I needed to love God more in my life. Like Fatima that compelled me to pray the rosary or Alive which spurred me to Eucharistic adoration, there was a spiritual renewal in my soul because of the witness of the men and women featured in Free.
There was a touching scene for me at the beginning of the documentary. A monk stood at a Marian grotto and said a prayer. I’ve been a pilgrim throughout the world. I readily visit places that interest me. A person vowed to a monastic and cloistered life will never visit Lourdes or the places I visited, but for them having a special Marian grotto suffices. It is enough for them. The b-roll in the film is quite stunning too and will leave you in awe of the places that have been set aside for the worship and love of God.
It was interesting to meet some of the monks and nuns in their former lives. Some were married and had children and later entered monastic life. They were still able to connect with their loved ones through different methods of communication. One nun featured, who had entered later in life and was in the novitiate, thought she had to leave because of an aggressive cancer diagnosis. Her reflections on death and dying were quite profound.
No matter your vocation right now in the Church, the witness of the religious in Free can inspire your vocation and encourage you on your path of holiness. Free will be in theaters November 2 for one night only as a Fathom event. Learn more: https://www.fathomevents.com/events/free/
Inspiring Quotes From Free: Duc in Altum
Let me leave you with some inspiring quotes from the monks and nuns featured in the film that can become a source for your meditation and reflection.
· He called me. I said yes.
· With Him, my life has meaning, purpose, and order.
· Lord, what else can I give you?
· Prayer is the loving gaze of the Lord.
· Our vocation is our own path to perfection.
· There is no magic formula for prayer.
· You take the gospels and read them. Lectio is nourishment for life.
· When [prayer] doesn’t work, just hang in there.
· God is the best gardener.
· We are surrounded by miracles.
· A monk is a person who understands Nazareth.
· The happiest place for a person is to be with the Lord. When we die we meet the Father.
· It is good for you to exist.
· Blossom where God has planted you.
· Christ is alive where you are.