Although the Carmelite Monastery in Christchurch doesn’t have TV, that didn’t stop the nuns watching a TV One Sunday segment about themselves and the monastery. Sunday showed a 15 minute clip about the monastery and the life of the Carmelite nuns on May 1.

Mother Dorothea told NZ Catholic that they were able to see the clip on their computer.

The making of the segment was something of an eye-opener for the nuns, seeing the hours and hours of work their producer put in to get the few minutes of footage.

“I think, on the whole, we were quite delighted with how he put it together and how it came across,” Mother Dorothea said. Sister Marietta (shown on the segment using the ride-on mower) told NZ Catholic that they had since learned that it had been the most-watched segment so far this year.

Mother Dorothea said that before it was shown, they had some idea of what  would be coming, as they were given questions in advance. However, they had no input into the editing. “So we knew we just had to go with the flow, but on the whole I think we were pleased . . . we were honest,” she said.

She agreed that they came across as real people. “And that was important, and we have had wonderful feedback. We have been pretty busy with emails and phone calls.”

Part of the clip showed Mother Dorothea as a teenager when she was into rock music and thought Christians were weird. But at a Black Sabbath concert at Ngaruawahia in 1973, she had an epiphany.

An interesting connection, Mother Dorothea said, was that the day before the Sunday programme, Black Sabbath were playing in her home town. So they made arrangements to get a message to the band telling them how a 19-year-old girl had an epiphany at the band’s 1973 Ngaruawahia concert and, as a result, is now a Carmelite nun.

Carmelite nuns live an enclosed life focused on contemplation. For them, this has a broad sense including prayer, community and service.