New DVD: Tyburn Convent Gloria Deo
|Monastic contemplative life is one of vibrant, joyous and holy dedication to God. |
Catholic Outlook December 2011/January 2012
Take a London fashion photographer away from his world of luxurious design and sparkling variation and set him to make a documentary film within the enclosed contemplative monasteries of the Tyburn Benedictines.
In this silent, inward world edged on to the transcendent, all wear the same simple black habit and veil, all in black footwear; cosmetics are unknown and even mirrors are scarce.
What then will this documentary be? “Is it just nuns singing?” asked one lady. Another, a busy mother, delayed watching her copy, fearing the worst: the nuns’ home video of processions and sung church services.
But after watching it, she phoned the nuns in astonished awe, saying it was “Fantastic!” and wanting them to change the words on the DVD’s cover to: Prepare to be blown away! This is the most visually compelling documentary on the monastic life as lived by the Tyburn Nuns. You will find yourself transported to another world of beauty and peace, and will be so disappointed when it ends that you will want to re-watch it straight away! Recommended for those with anxiety, high blood pressure, unresolved rage, disenchantment, etc.
Why is Tyburn Convent Gloria Deo such a compellingly beautiful and religious film? Michael Luke Davies, the former West End fashion and beauty photographer, proposed the idea of the documentary to the nuns.
Luke had previously developed an interest in virtual reality photography and was a pioneer of 360° panoramic images, which he used for the first time on the websites he created for the Benedictine St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, and other Abbeys. His work received international acclaim.
Luke created the Tyburn website, which has brought an amazing response. The Nuns accepted his urgings to produce a film about their Congregation worldwide and, knowing that he was an exceptionally creative artist, gifted with a high degree of religious sensitivity, they gave him a free hand to film, edit and direct this film.
“Of course,” remarked the Congregation’s Mother General, Mother Mary Xavier, “Luke really had no idea what he was letting himself in for! The five months of filming in the diverse locations of the monasteries with quite different time zones, climates, languages and food was often quite challenging, especially in the heat of Peru and the high altitudes of Ecuador and Colombia.
“But Luke has portrayed the message he dreamt of capturing in image and sound in a way that surpassed our expectations. He has captured and conveyed for the wider public, without any fuss or artificiality, the essence and praxis of what it is to be a Tyburn Nun.”
The film begins in London, with the infamous ‘Black map’ which traces the route along which scores of Catholic martyrs were ‘drawn’ to the Tyburn Tree to be executed during the Protestant Reformation.
It then introduces a French nun, Marie Adele Garnier, who fulfilled a prophecy, made amid the frenzy of the persecution, of how a religious house would stand at Tyburn in honour of the Martyrs.
The film takes the viewer on a fascinating round-the-world tour of the other eight monasteries. It also portrays with great warmth how the monasteries both benefit and are supported by the communities in which they flourish, all against a backdrop of extraordinary natural beauty.
This remarkable film shows that the monastic contemplative life is one of vibrant, joyous and holy dedication to God, a life well worth living – not only for the nuns themselves, but for all those who are touched by glimpsing something of this life of hidden, godly dedication.
Copies of Tyburn Convent Gloria Deo can be purchased for $25 (cheque or money order payable to Tyburn Priory).
Post to: Tyburn Priory, 325 Garfield Road East, Riverstone, NSW, 2765Purchase online at: www.tyburnconvent.org.uk
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