In the February 23, 2008 episode of Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey made a seemingly serious case
for Hillary Clinton as president, arguing that we shouldn’t mind if she’s a bitch because “bitches get
stuff done.” Fey went on to bolster her argument with the following observation: “That’s why Catholic
schools use nuns as teachers and not priests. Those nuns are mean old school year, you hated
those bitches, but you knew the capital of Vermont.” How did nuns become part of this discussion?
And how did they get reduced from the historical reality of their significant contributions to such a
narrow and nasty caricature?
Enter “nun” on Ebay and you’re likely to get over 800 items ranging from the old to the new,
expensive to not, devotional to hostile, nostalgic to edgy, historical artifact to caricature, tasteful to
kitsch. Examples include an “ antique French nun’s linen dress”, starting @$531, a DVD of a film
entitled Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine, starting at $18.99, and “vintage ceramic nuns playing
A Question of Habit explores popular culture’s fascination with all things “nun” and dives into the
real stories behind the women religious in the United States from the battle field medics of the Civil
War to the creators of the first HMO in the Country to the political activists fighting against capital
The film is narrated by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon.
Released: January 2011
Bren Ortega Murphy - Writer/Producer/Director
Michael T. Whalen - Producer/Editor
Narrator: Susan Sarandon
* March 5, 2011 Queens World Film Festival in NYC
* April 4, 2011 @ Santa Clara University
* August 6, 2011 @ UFVA conference