Brides of Christ

ABC (Mini-Series 1991)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • Catherine
      Episode 6
      It's now 1968 and life is once again becoming turbulent for Sister Catherine as she clashes with Sister Agnes over an article written in the school newspaper by Frances Heffernon.

      Frances is heavily in favour of the use of birth control, most particularly for those like Mary Maloney, the mother of her friend, Brigid, who has six children already and finds herself pregnant with a seventh. With her eldest son, Dominic, off to fight the war in Vietnam, Mary is hoping for a baby boy in case something happens to him but decides that she cannot cope with another child and so, self-induces an abortion.

      Sister Catherine becomes directly involved when she urges Mary to use birth control and when Mary decides to do so, she finds that she is consumed by guilt and cannot go through with it. Meanwhile, Frances, who wants to be a journalist when she leaves school is expelled near the end of the school year because of her article, which Sister Catherine allowed her to publish, extolling the virtues of birth control. Frances is defiant but Catherine is mortified at the thought that she may have been responsible for ruining a young girl's future.

      Just when Catherine thinks that she cannot take any more, the academically gifted Brigid decides that she wishes to become a nun and Catherine, finally talks her out of it, much to the fury of Sister Agnes.

      After a lot of soul searching, Catherine realises that she cannot truly be a servant of God when she is so against a large percentage of what the church teaches. It is with great regret that she leaves the convent and, at the end, we see her returning to showcase her new book "New Prayers For Old Enemies" which she has written under the name 'Catherine Markham', meaning that she hasn't gone back to using the name Diane. Frances is there as a journalist taking notes and the nuns, even Sister Agnes, are delighted when she dedicates the book to her, Mother Ambrose and 'others beginning with "A".'moreless
    • Paul
      Episode 5
      Sister Paul is completely happy in her religious life at the convent of Santo Spirito so she is not the only one who is surprised and stunned when she runs into an old friend, Jack Delahunty, who has become a rather outspoken young priest.

      Due to Jack's somewhat radical beliefs, he leaves the priesthood and Sister Paul, the former Veronica Tierney, finds that she has fallen in love with him and so, decides to abandon her religious life to be with him. The problem for Veronica is that she has been incredibly sheltered at the convent and is not prepared for the realities of the outside world. She finds teaching in a Catholic boy's school a very hard task indeed and has trouble dealing with Jack constantly 'preaching' about what is wrong with the church and those who are in positions of power within it.

      Ultimately, although she still loves Jack, Veronica finds it very difficult to adjust to her new life and decides to return to Santo Spirito where most, at least, with the possible exception of Sister Agnes and a couple of the older nuns, welcome her back with open arms. Once again, she is content and knows she will be happy spending the rest of her life serving God.moreless
    • Rosemary
      Episode 4
      Rosemary Fitzgerald is the resident 'bad girl' at the convent of Santo Spirito. If there is a way to break the rules, Rosemary will find it. She rebels against her ultra-conservative Catholic parents as well as Sister Agnes, Mother Ambrose and other authority figures at school as often as she is able. Like Sister Catherine, Rosemary likes to question established practices and gets herself into a lot of hot water for doing so In love with pop idol, Mick Jagger, Rosemary is more than curious about the physical side of human relationships and experiments with a 'good Catholic boy' of whom her parents wholeheartedly approve, as well as Dominic Maloney, the older brother of her good friend, Brigid. Nobody is terribly surprised when Rosemary finds that she is pregnant. Expelled from the convent, we get the impression that Rosemary is bowed but not broken and, in spite of everything, she will turn out more than okay.moreless
    • Ambrose
      Episode 3
      Mother Ambrose is the kind, gentle and firm but loving Mother Superior at the Catholic convent of Santo Spirito. She treats everyone with respect and gains the same in return, both from the nuns and from the girls who are students at the school.

      It is 1966, and there are many changes in the wind as the aftermath from 'Vatican II' begin to seep into Catholic organisations throughout the world. While Mother Ambrose is keen to embrace these changes, including lighter, shorter and more convenient habits for the nuns to wear, and the permission granted from Rome for nuns and priests alike to start taking some matters into their own hands and making choices for themselves, others among her flock, such as Sister Agnes and Sister Philomena are not so happy.

      Mother Ambrose must deal with all of these matters as well as try to come to terms with the death of her beloved father and her growing attraction to Ian McGregor, the first lay teacher (and certainly the first male) ever to ever be employed at the school.

      Mr. McGregor is a big hit with the students but Mother Ambrose is caught in a strong position of conflict as she attempts to work out how she herself feels as she questions her position, her faith and her ability to keep her vows. She must also fight with parents and with Sister Agnes, all of whom wish her to get rid of the new teacher when he expresses political views which seem to contradict those of traditional Catholics.moreless
    • Frances
      Episode 2
      Frances Heffernon is a child of divorced parents who misses her father terribly and struggles at times in her relationship with her mother. When Frances's mother, a Catholic, announces that she is to remarry, Frances is not only torn between her pain because there is no hope of her parents getting back together, but she must also contend with taunts and jibes from several other girls at the convent of Santo Spirito, where she is a boarder.

      Frances gives her mother full backing when she attempts to get her marriage annulled, and is bitter and hurt when the Bishop refuses consent based on Church law. In spite of this, Elizabeth Heffernon and Roger Conlan decide to get married in a civil ceremony. Mother Ambrose gives Frances permission to attend the ceremony and Frances is delighted when Sister Paul and Sister Catherine, who has recently returned to the convent after her period in exile, attend the ceremony with her, but Sister Agnes and the ultra-conservative parents of the others girls openly snub Frances's mother when she arrives to assist with the school play after her marriage.

      Whilst Frances is very hurt, she is openly supported by the school rebel, Rosemary Fitzgerald, and by Brigid Maloney, the 'brains' of the school. Her mother tells her not to be concerned by what others think and say and Frances wins a victory when she does a terrific job of the lead in the school play and her dad, new stepfather and proud mother arrive to see her confirmed into the faith.

    • Diane
      Episode 1
      It is 1962 and Diane Markham has just graduated from university in Sydney. She is engaged and has her whole life and career ahead of her. She then stuns everyone around her by annoucing that she is going to enter a convent and devote her life to God. Once at the convent of Santo Spirito, Diane quickly makes herself a special friend in Veronica, who is a country girl with a simple outlook on life, and a possible enemy in the form of the venerable Sister Agnes with whom she regularly clashes. Diane's belief that Christ's teachings are far more important than what the Church fathers have to say in Rome gets her in hot water as does the belief of the convent hierarchy that she has a negative and possibly unhealthy influence on Veronica. After she and Veronica take their first vows and become Sister Catherine and Sister Paul respectively, Diane is transferred to another convent but her spirit is far from broken.moreless