Brides of Christ

ABC (Mini-Series 1991)


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  • They don't make Australian drama much better than this. 'Brides of Christ' is one of the most successful Australian mini-series ever produced, and with very good reason. All six episodes were superb.

    'Brides of Christ' tells the story of a group of Catholic nuns at the convent of Santo Spirito, and the girls whom they teach. The series covers the years 1962 - 1968 during which many changes took place within the Catholic Church and impacted heavily on those of the faiths from all walks of life.

    Mother Ambrose (Sandy Gore) is in charge. A kind and wise woman of Irish descent who controls both the nuns and the often-rebellious students with a firm but fair hand. Sister Anges (Oscar winner Brenda Fricker) is a stern, capable woman, in charge of instructing the novice nuns before they take their vows and also teaching the girls such things as sex education. She is a strong disciplinarian who holds tightly to her belief in all aspects of the wisdom of the church and has great difficulty understanding why anyone would question it.

    This brings her into direct conflict with Diane Markham, (Josephine Byrnes) later to be known as Sister Catherine, who has a stunned her recently-widowed mother (Louise Payo) by leaving her home and her fiance to enter the church. Diane is a firm believer in the Gospels and the spirit of what Christ was attempting to teach when He was on earth. Sister Agnes, whilst in agreement in some areas, goes for the far more traditional approach and finds it almost impossible to see reason if what is being suggested contradicts her own beliefs in any way.

    Country girl Veronica Tierney (Lisa Hensley) has joined the convent because she wants to love and serve God. For her, there is no greater calling and she is happy and cheerful at the prospect of being able to do this. When she and Diane become firm friends, Sister Agnes and Mother Ambrose are very concerned that Diane, who is highly intelligent and, in the words of Mother Ambrose, " ... has spent about a hundred years at university ..." is having a negative influence on the younger girl and the now Sister Catherine is banished to another convent, but she will be back!

    In later episodes, look for absolutely stellar performances by Naomi Watts, (Frances Heffernon) Kim Wilson, (Rosemary Fitzgerald) Russell Crowe (Dominic Maloney) and Melissa Thomas (Bridget Maloney) among many others.

    If you have not seen this amazing six hours of television then you truly don't know what you are missing. Get hold of a DVD and watch it as soon as you can. You won't be sorry!