Radical Grace

Local documentary maker Rebecca Parrish rides along with the Nuns on the Bus, a group of progressive Catholic sisters who have mounted annual cross-country tours to promote left-leaning causes. Beginning in fall 2012, when the nuns spread out across the U.S. during the presidential campaign, the movie spans the period in which the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing 80 percent of American nuns, was being investigated by the Vatican for deviating from church doctrine. Parrish never really digs into the issues stoking the controversy (abortion, contraception, homosexuality), and one bus scene shows a political strategist coaching the sisters how to stay on message. This functions more as a trio of personal portraits, introducing viewers to outspoken nuns in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. and giving them a chance to articulate both their faith in the Lord and their growing doubt in the patriarchal hierarchy of the church.