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12 Segments




An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism

The Vatican recently announced that it would completely make over the Leadership Conference of Women Religious because of its "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." Sister Pat Farrell, who heads the organization, says many of the charges are unsubstantiated.


Actress Jodie Foster

She produced and acts in the new film The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys. Foster has won two Oscars for performances in The Silence of the Lambs and The Accused. She was also nominated for her work in Taxi Driver and Nell. She's also served as producer or director on numerous films.

Actress and filmmaker Jodie Foster smiles for the camera

Dr. David Snowdon

Epidemiologist and one of the world's leading experts on Alzheimer's disease, David Snowdon. In 1986 he began what he calls the "Nun Study," following a group of aging nuns to better understand why some of the sisters were able to age gracefully, retaining their mental faculties, and others were not. He studied 678 nuns who belonged to The School Sisters of Notre Dame. His study was published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Sister Cecelia Clegg On Forging Peace In Northern Ireland.

Sister Cecelia Clegg, a Scottish Roman Catholic nun, works for peace in Northern Ireland by way of her project: "Moving Beyond Sectarianism," a workshop for Catholic and Protestant congregations to speak about their lives and their differences. In the three years she has lived and worked in Belfast, Sister Cecelia has been viewed as a British outsider to Irish Catholics as well as a Catholic outsider to Protestants.


A Paradoxal Nun.

Sister Wendy Beckett is a member of the Notre Dame order, a teaching order of nuns and a celebrity. In 1980 she began the serious study of art, and since has written a number of books on the subject and hosted the popular PBS series "Sister Wendy's Odyssey" and "Sister Wendy's Grand Tour." This week PBS begins airing her newest 10-part series, "Sister Wendy's Story of Painting." There's a companion book (published by DK Publishing)


Women's Place in the Early Church and Today

Jo Ann Kay McNamara talks with Terry Gross about her book "Sisters In Arms: Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia." It is published by Harvard University Press. McNamara is a Professor of History at Hunter College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Helen Prejean and Death Row.

Helen Prejean's book, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States" (Random House) details her experience working with death row inmates in Louisiana. Prejean has come to believe that the death penalty is not only ineffective as a deterrent, but that the government can't be trusted to decide who should live and who should die. Prejean is a Roman Catholic nun.


Paz's "Sor Juana" Is Intellectual History at Its Most Dazzling

John Leonard reviews the new biography of the 17th century Mexican poet, whom Octavio Paz uses as a jumping-off point to discuss the intellectual and social history of his home country. Leonard says the book is worthwhile, but warns that it's not easy reading.


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