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Les Servants du bon dieu

(The Hand Maidens of God)

Year: 1978
Language: French
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 90 min
Director: Diane Létourneau
Producer: Claude Godbout, Marcia Couëlle
Writer: Diane Létourneau
Cinematographer: Jean-Charles Tremblay
Editor: Josée Beaudet
Sound: Serge Beauchemin
Narration: Frédérique Collin

This documentary (the first ever to record the daily life of a Quebec religious community) focuses on an order of nuns – Les Petites Soeurs de la Sainte-Famille – in Sherbrooke, Quebec who, despite the social changes around them, devote themselves in domestic servitude to priests. Rather than a film of feminine protest (we hear and see nothing but expressions of contentment from the labouring nuns, whose average age is sixty), Les Servants du bon dieu is more a testament to changelessness amid change and to the tranquility and serenity of the aging nuns who, like model “mothers,” always serve and never intrude. Above all, it is a captivating portrait of a group of women living outside the mainstream of Quebec life according to social and religious traditions they inherited from Quebec’s past.

By: Peter Morris