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Compass -

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(generated from captions) happy couple needs. This is what every 5,000, 5,500... in the Auction Room. All this and more (Auctioneer speaks indistinctly) do you notice a resemblance? Be honest with me, Folks, it's... folks! No. That's like my school reports. Thank you. to tell me about my acting? Anything else you'd like (Laughs) Sorry. Well, a little wooden on... Closed Captions by CSI (Cheering and laughter) NARRATOR: It's Clara's graduation. no idea what the future holds, While most of her classmates have extraordinary decision. she's already made an is quite different. What I'm doing Very different, in fact. My first reaction was, 'Wow!' that she was doing it, I was really shocked when I heard it was done, really. (Laughs) because I didn't realise that growing number of young women Clara's joining a small but careers, boyfriends who choose to give up to become a nun. and everything they own makes me happy. CLARA: This is what not any of those things, Not money, not sex, not power, but to truly live for God. a life in the convent, Catherine's also considering holding her back. but there's one thing like the opposite sex If you're romantic, you really that is a genuine sacrifice. and you would like to marry, over six months We follow Clara and Catherine a radical leap of faith. as they prepare to take thing to give up... I find that, like, the hardest give up my friends. into God's hands. I am putting everything I'm gonna land into. I don't know what what it's gonna be like I can't begin to imagine to just take that step. I'm really bad at make-up. who spends ages getting ready - I'm not one of those people up the worst bits. I just slap it on to cover NARRATOR: Clara's 23 at Aberdeen University. and has just finished her degree she wants to do with her life. She knows exactly what Gosh! are be the last few months CLARA: I was thinking these I'll be able to wear make-up. When I'm having a bad day, to put a little mascara on I do appreciate being able anything on in the convent. and I won't be able to put join a community of nuns In just 12 weeks, Clara will from the world who have shut themselves off lives to God. to devote their entire If she chooses to stay, the walls of the convent. Clara will never again leave for the first time CLARA: As soon as I visited I wanted to do. I knew that was all this chapter to be ending So I've been ready for like, three years ago. at the end of university, And now I'm finally a really good feeling. it's just amazing, (Laughter) (Laughter and chatter) Yeah, typical. For example... Oh, yes. are celebrating the end Clara and her friends of five years studying together. meet up with people? Will you be allowed to You're not allowed out. No, you can't get out. like, a barrier. There's a room with, Can we come into your abbey? a room, a parlour with a barrier, You can come to... There's like to the barrier. and you can come up like, specific...? WOMAN: Any time, or, (Gasping) An hour a year. (Laughs) WOMAN: Clara! Serious? or, like, in a bun? Will you wear your hair up, No! Yes. I'll get it chopped off. ..your lovely curls chopped! (Gasping) No, I do get it chopped off. Pretty much. Like, all of it? I think, I think. (Gasping) to that bit. No! I'm not looking forward (Laughter) I'll send you a lock of it. a lock of my hair. Each person can have Thank you everyone for coming. everyone together It's lovely to have for one last meal. It's really sad, I know. all the best I wanna wish everyone with everything they're doing. I'm sure they'll do great things. So, yeah, all the best with that. (Applause) WOMAN: Hear, hear! her again. She's hilarious. I really, really want to see the nicest people I know. She's also one of I really don't want to lose her. about different times WOMAN: We all keep thinking that we'll see each other again, that Clara won't be there. and it's weird thinking to get emotional, So, yeah... I don't want definitely, without her. but, yeah, it'll be weird, (Laughs) # SYNTH POP # Pretty angel in the diamond sky # Flicker through the night # Pretty angel in the diamond sky # Let me see your light... # a girly-girl. CATHERINE: I'm very much and I love girly things. I love being pampered Girls should be girly, I think. Officer Training Corps. I was in the OTC - the officer cadet ever. I was the worst and a languages student Catherine's 25 at King's College in London. Like most girls of her age, travelling, partying and studying. she's spent the last few years a charity fashion show. Tonight, she's modelling in first time on the catwalk. But this isn't Catherine's agencies for a lark, I sent some photos to five me the contract. and I got a call and they offered and I always got the job. I went to castings, from castings. I never got turned down to do catwalk. But they always wanted me It was always shows. They never let me do editorial. professional paid show, I remember, after my first feeling really empty, going home and and feeling like, 'Is that it?' as I thought it would be. It's not as great I thought I'd be happy - 'I've made it. Oh, my gosh. This isn't as fulfilling as I was expecting it to be.' (Applause, chatter) Since she was a child, Catherine's had dreams of becoming a nun. Now in her 20s, the decision is more complicated. I've always liked boys and sometimes boys like me as well, so that would be a big sacrifice - giving up marriage and your own family and children. With her time at university coming to an end, Catherine's now ready to decide whether life as a nun is really for her. I love people and I love travelling and I love having a good time, but that's not all there is, and I don't want to say at the end of my life, 'Well, I had fun.' That's not what I'm about and that's not what I think life is about. It's a totally different world we live in now and you do get a different kind of nun. (Laughs) It's less than three months until Clara enters the convent, and she's going home to County Durham to spend the summer with her family. Oh, it's lovely to see you. It's good to be back. You're a lot later than I thought you'd be. Dad took a wrong turn. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. I tend to put it to the back of my mind, the fact that she's leaving. And so I just try and carry on as normal. I don't think, 'I've got to do this one last thing.' I can't deal with it in that way. I just enjoy the moment and just be ourselves, really. Hello, Benedict. I thought you were a... (Speaks indistinctly) Oh, no, I'm not a nun yet. Did you think I was a nun already? CLARA: I'm so lucky I've got such a wonderful family and I've had loads of opportunities - a great education, great uni experience. So it's funny that I'd feel unfulfilled, but I feel there's something more, I know there's something more to life that I can only achieve if I do this radical thing of giving myself to God and entering this community. Clara first visited St Cecilia's Abbey three years ago. Some think it's quite extreme, because you spend your life there and you don't come out, even during the day. It's so they can really live a life hidden with God and free from the distractions of the world. In this corner, you can actually click on 'Walk with the nuns on a virtual tour' and see them having their recreation. And they've got their great summer hats on. They're quite cute. Clara's chosen a life of silence and contemplation. When she enters the abbey, she'll spend up to seven hours of each day in prayer. You're not really meant to talk, just have a conversation about anything. You're not meant to do that at all, apart from recreation. I think that will be tough - after a while, it'll get to me. Like, just the silence, having to keep my mouth shut, and at meal times as well, I'll have to try not to talk, not to laugh. While many communities of nuns are struggling to survive, Clara's order is flourishing. In the last five years, they've welcomed eight new sisters, the youngest, only 19. I don't know, I just felt really happy there and somehow I knew that that was where God wanted me to be. I felt this amazing sense of peace that I hadn't felt before. Shall I hide you? You can hide under my habit. Yeah! They wouldn't be able to tell, would they? You have to get up really early to get up at 4:45am. I don't care. I hate sleeping. You hate sleeping? That's perfect! You'll be a perfect nun then. The oldest of five children, Clara's grown up in a devout Catholic family. She's doing this out of faith and we all share that faith, and so, you know, we have to trust in God that, if it's for her, then we're sure we'll be blessed out of it, although it's difficult. First communion. Clara's family will only be able to visit her at the abbey twice a year, and they'll talk through an iron grille. They can exchange letters, but not phone calls. I don't remember... That's a nice one. Maybe get a copy of that. That's really nice. I quite like that, 'cause we're all together, finally. CHRISTINE: My first reaction was that I don't want to lose her. I'll never see her, she'll be gone. The second reaction was, 'Will she be happy there? Will she be able to cope? Will she get terribly homesick? Will she miss her brothers and sisters? And if it doesn't work out, will she feel she's failed in some way, and will that be bad for her?' You always look lovely, even when you've just had a baby. It's amazing. Part of me wants you really to succeed and for it to work. A little part of me thinks if it doesn't, you'll come home. I can understand that, yeah. Not all nuns live hidden from the outside world. The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal are based in the heart of inner-city Leeds. They are on of Britain's most youthful religious communities. The average age of the sisters here is just 30. WOMAN: When I would think about, 'I think I might be being called to be a nun,' it seemed something so radical and so different to what a lot of my peers to college with were doing, and all those that I'd gone and, yeah, just, I mean, out of the stratosphere kind of different. Sister Jacinta grew up in Northampton. Before entering the convent in her late 20s, she was living with friends and working full-time as an occupational therapist. I was really, really afraid - afraid of what it meant, afraid of how it would change my life. I think the fear was that, if I gave everything up that I thought was making me happy, then I would be miserable. But once I got past that, once I started to meet sisters, meet young nuns and say, 'They're not unhappy, they don't seem to be miserable. Maybe that's just a myth. Let's see what this is. Could it be the thing for me? Could it be what will make me really happy?' (Laughs) I think the most common reaction we've had in the car is you'll get a beep, and then, all of a sudden, you'll turn around and look and there'll be a mobile phone held up, taking a picture. One person in the car sees it, and they're, like... (Laughter) ..telling their friends. The sisters in Leeds are part of a larger community of nuns founded in the United States. They came to Britain as missionaries in 2009. (All greet) Sorry we're a bit late. Welcome, welcome. A bit more. SISTER JACINTA: We try to live and we choose to live in poorer neighbourhoods as much as we can. We choose to not own anything of our own. We choose to drive cars that are donated to us, so sometimes they don't always work very well. We choose to live with the food that people offer us rather than going out shopping. Because if we're serving the poor, then it's a contradiction if we're living a rich lifestyle. So if we're serving them, we need to be like them, to identify with them so they can identify with us. (Laughs) I love this place. I come down twice a week just for your warm glow and just to hear you. It's nice to have you here. I like talking to you 'cause you're warm and friendly. You bring joy to our hearts too. (Nuns sing) All nuns make a promise to God to live according to three vows - poverty, chastity and obedience. JACINTA: Why on earth would you do that? To be poor, to be chaste, to be obedient - that seems odd to the world. But I've found that this is what makes me happy - not money, not sex, not power, not any of those things, but to truly live for God. Catherine's on her way to visit a convent in the New Forest. She's been spending time there for the past few months to help her decide if she's genuinely called to become a nun. I don't want to spend years and years wondering and not making a decision. But it obviously has to be right. So I wanted to just go again and see how it goes, basically, to see if I could imagine myself there. (Women sing) The Dominican Sisters of St Joseph spend much of their daily life in prayer. But they also leave the convent to spread the word of God. (All greet) Good to see you. (Laughter) (Chatter) Sister Yassant looks after all the young women who are interested in joining. SISTER YASSANT: There is no predefined person that's meant to be a nun and fits the bill. The Lord can call anybody at any point. The types of young women that come here are the types of women living out there in the world, so women who live a normal life of drinking, boyfriends, partying, all these things, part of human life. They've usually done it, or are doing it, and yet there's something more - they want more. (Bell rings) When somebody writes a letter to ask whether they can join us, we, in our turn, have to make the decision whether they can join us. It's a decision that is ours to make as well. Are we desperate enough to take anyone? Not really, because we then have to live with them. (Laughs) (Chatter and laughter) CATHERINE: When I'm here, I love it here, and each time I come back I like it more, and I want to join more, and the desire is stronger, or it's constant, it's there. It's very much there. They're such good, beautiful people, and I look at them and I admire them, and I want to be like them. (Laughter and chatter) WOMAN: Oh, that was a good one! (Laughter) SISTER YASSANT: Catherine became my Facebook friend somehow, and then she contacted me and said she was interested in religious life. (Laughter) So we're just trying to get to know here better at the moment in order to better find out the kind of life that she would be happiest in. The community only admits new sisters once a year. If Catherine wants to enter the convent this September, she'll have to make her decision soon. She's not as yet asked to enter. I don't know whether she'll do it at all, and we're still at the level of interest and inquiry at the moment, more than the commitment. # ...but deliver us from evil. # SISTERS: # Every rock me rock upon Jesus' name so sweet Emmanuel name so sweet # Jesus' name so sweet Emmanuel name... # The sisters in Leeds have been invited to a local Catholic school to give a talk to the pupils. They have a unique approach to teaching others about their lives. Anybody know what this is called? A gown. A gown? Well, kind of like a gown. Good guess. A garment? Close. I'll tell you. It's called a habit. Does anyone know what this is called? I'll give you a clue. # Here comes the bride... # A veil. A veil, good job. And then this - who knows what this is called? BOY: A rope. It's a rope. It has another name. That was the trick. You've probably never heard of this word. It's called a cincture. So we have a veil, a habit, a cincture and what are these on my feet? BOY: Sandals. Sandals, that's right. I have sandals on my feet. Who knows what this is? BOY: Rosary beads. A rosary, that's right. Good job. OK. In order to help you remember those things, we're gonna do a little exercise, OK? I want you to all stand up. You're gonna push your chairs in. Stand behind your chairs. You're gonna recognise the tune because it's a song you learnt as a kid. You ready? I'll show it to you and then you'll join in. Ready? Can you do it? SOME: Yeah. # Veil, habit, cincture, sandals, sandals, cincture, sandals... # # Veil, habit, cincture, OK, ready? We'll do it slowly. ALL: # Veil, habit, cincture, sandals, cincture, sandals... # OK, fast. # Veil, habit, cincture, sandals, sandals, cincture, sandals # Veil, habit, cincture, # And rosary and three knots for our vows # Veil, habit, cincture, sandals, cincture, sandals. # Good job, Year 7! Whoo-hoo! OK, you can take a seat. Whew! So, does anyone have a question? Put your hands up. Did you have to give up everything, like all your mobiles and your computers and your house and stuff? Yes, we do give up... We don't have internet or TV or lots of gadgets and iPhones and things like that - iPods and, um... But I love it. I'm so happy that way. You know, it sounds... (Laughs) You don't look happy! You look horrified at the thought! Are you allowed to wear make-up or piercings? No, we choose not to wear make-up, just to have a simple life. It probably would look kind of funny if you saw a nun with a veil on and lots of mascara and eye shadow and everything. OK. (Sisters laugh) Oh, my God! Shocking! 'Cause how can a girl live without make-up? It's like the item of a girl. Everybody needs it. It just makes you feel better. I mean, I'm shocked that all they wear are those gowns... Habit. Yeah, that's it. And they don't wear jeans and that. And, like, your trackies and that, where you can sit on the sofa and just relax. Yeah. But they always look cheerful. So if God can do that to make them cheerful, then I don't think it's wrong, I just think it ain't for me. It's only a few weeks until Clara enters the convent. As a nun in training, she won't be able to take any of her own clothes with her. But she's been sent a short list of items she can bring. Where do they get them from? I don't know. This is the mystery. No-one knows where nuns go shopping. Nuns R Us. Yeah, Nuns R Us. Moving on. Blue, plain, full-length, long-sleeved night dresses. I don't know if they exist. 'A pair of silent slippers.' What's a silent slipper? I suppose one without a clickety-clackety heel. Shh! Is that alright? I'll make a right racket around the corridor. And it's not long-sleeved. It's long-ish, isn't it? Yeah, it's elbow-length, but I don't think I'll get away with that. 'Can I help you?' 'Yeah, I'm becoming a nun... # 'I need some nun sandals.' 'I need some nun sandals. Do you have anything suitable?' (Lawnmower chugs) Oh, God no. I can't put them on with socks. That looks awful. When she enters the convent, Clara will embark on the first stage of training to become a nun, known as postulancy. Yeah, I've got my makeshift veil. It consists of a pillowcase. So, just to get the general idea... She won't yet have a habit, but there's still a uniform to wear. I don't know - I think I need a sheet. You kind of have it pinned like that, and you won't see the rest of my hair. Oh, I've... Oh! That's really scary. Reminds me of a primary school teacher. What? (Laughs) The nuns, you know. Sorry. Hang on. Can you quickly do something? That's scary, actually. You do it. Just so it's kind of pinned back. CHRISTINE: She just looks really like a nun. Like a young nun. So it makes me realise it's coming close. But she looks very happy, so I suppose that's a good thing. I'm quite excited, because it means that she's getting on with the journey - she's embarking on this new phase. Doing what I really want to do. But also it's a fear of not seeing her so much, so... A mixture of feelings, really. Oh, don't cry, Mummy. Anyway, gotta get on with it, haven't we? Yeah. Yeah. Give me a hug. Oh, my pillowcase will fall off. I'll go and get Daddy, OK? Yep. Alright, well done. INTERVIEWER: How does a mother get through this? Does it ever make you question your faith? The thing is, to me, it's not like I have my life and I have my family and then I go to church. It's that my faith is part of... it is who I am. And so if God calls Clara to this, then I must support her, and I want to support her. It's not that I resent... I don't resent God for taking her away from me. I think God has something beautiful for her and I would be... I would be denying Clara so much if I didn't let her pursue this vocation. And I don't really feel that, so I feel joy in my heart that God's chosen her. # POP MUSIC CATHERINE: I do feel torn, pulled in two directions. Surely you should know - you should really want to be married or really want to be a sister, and one desire should be stronger than the other. I've been praying to God, saying 'Give me that desire for one more than the other, so I know where you're calling me.' I've been captured, my heart has been captured by... ..the most perfect man, so... (Laughs) CLARA: The idea is that when you join a convent, you are really meant to get rid of all your possessions from your previous life, and really start afresh. (Tearfully) And I'm not looking forward to letting all the people go in my life, really. Oh, God. GERALDINE DOOGUE: Young Nuns, the surprising conclusion, next week on Compass. I'll see you then. # Children of the Lord # Oh, children of the Lord! # Oh, yeah! #

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