This compelling documentary reveals life behind the cloistered walls of a 150-year-old monastery, as it follows the twelve elderly nuns preparing to face the outside world for the first time in their adult lives. Breaking Silence: The Story of the Sisters at Desales Heights examines the effects on the members of this unusual community as they respond to pressures from the world around them. A rare and intimate insight into a way of life that may soon be gone forever, the film raises important questions about the changing role of women in society and what happens to those whose roles are no longer valued.

Breaking Silence is a lovely and poignant portrayal of the breakup of a long-term, nontraditional family of women . . . sensitive to the women’s insecurities, sense of betrayal and fears. I recommend it highly to those of us interested in women, aging issues, women’s studies, intentional communities, and in different ways of being.

Alden Waitt M.A., Women's Studies Program, Ohio University


For any course attempting to examine the ideas of social and cultural change, and the impact of such change upon individuals, this will be a rewarding hour of viewing. . . It has much to recommend itself for a discussion of where our contemporary society is headed.

Perry G. Thompson Ph.D., Sociology & Anthropology, Professor of Gerontology University of Arkansas

Enlightening. . . outstanding. . . With an unobtrusive camera that peeks down sun-dappled hallways and glimpses the nuns ringing bells, praying, and readying for departure, the stunning program respectfully views the shattering change.


It is not just about aging, but about a way of life and the profound changes that can occur when such a way of life is no longer viable in a particular setting

Sister Mary Thill, osf, MA, Specialist in Aging Chairperson, Gerontology Department, Lourdes College