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Chicago, IL (June 3, 2013)–Band of Sisters premiered in Chicago in September 2012 and is now touring the U.S. Noted critic John Hartl of The Seattle Times called the film “fresh… striking… revealing.” The documentary will premiere in San Francisco, CA July 18-21 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Band of Sisters is a documentary about the journey of Catholic sisters in the United States from sheltered “daughters of the church” to citizens of the world. In Band of Sisters, two nuns advocate for the rights of immigrant detainees and deportees in and around a Chicago-area deportation center. It is 50 years since Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council to let a little fresh air into the church, and most Catholic nuns in the U.S. have never looked back. Fascinating scenes of convent life prior to Vatican II contrast with those of nuns in the tumultuous and exciting years after the Council, when sisters became engaged with the great social movements of our day.

Adeptly illuminating the path from direct service to social justice to the transformation of consciousness, Band of Sisters travels with nuns across the U.S. who continue their mission as organic farmers, environmental attorneys, peace activists, holistic health care practitioners, podcasters, and more. With poignancy, drama and humor, the film fosters well-deserved recognition for its engaging characters and the thousands of sisters like them. In the face of obstacles and threats cast by government agencies, the military, and the hierarchy of their own church, the forward-thinking U.S. nuns are on a mission of love, and it appears that nothing can stop them.


A film that shows the sisters as they are, Band of Sisters is a deeply moving story of inspiration and hope for people of all faiths.

The two main characters in Band of Sisters, Pat Murphy and JoAnn Persch, both Sisters of Mercy, are well-known in activist circles across the country for their efforts to assure basic human rights for immigrant detainees and deportees. Other sisters featured in the film include Carol Coston, Elise Garcia and Pat Siemen, Adrian Dominicans; Kathleen Desautels, Sisters of Providence, Madeline Gianforte, Sisters of St. Agnes; Nancy Sylvester, Margaret Brennan, Julie Vieira, and Maxine Kollasch, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; Yolanda Tarango, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word; Lillian Murphy and Theresa Kane, Sisters of Mercy; Avis Clendenen, former Sister of Mercy; Miriam Therese MacGillis, Caldwell Dominicans; Margaret Galiardi, Amityville Dominicans; and Patricia Chappell, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Mary Fishman, the producer/director of Band of Sisters, was educated by the Springfield Dominican Sisters in elementary school and the Sisters of Mercy in high school. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, she led a career as an architect and urban planner before switching to filmmaking. She began work on Band of Sisters in 2004.

Band of Sisters was edited by Bernadine Colish, a New York-based editor. The score was composed and recorded by Miriam Cutler of Los Angeles.

Major funding for the film was provided by the Sisters of Mercy Agatha O’Brien Ministry Fund. Additional funding came from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly; a West Midwest Mercy Ministry Grant; the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Ministry Fund; a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council; from 40 women’s congregations; and from close to 600 generous individual donors.

Band of Sisters was completed in May 2012 and is 88 minutes long. For more information please visit http://bandofsistersmovie.com

Schedule of screenings for Band of Sisters at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts:

Thursday, July 18 at 6:00 and 8:00 pm
Friday, July 19 at 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 20 at 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00 pm
Sunday July 21 at 2:00, 4:00 and 6:00 pm

Director Mary Fishman will be present for audience discussion after the screenings on Thursday at 6:00 and 8:00 pm, Friday at 8:00 pm, and Saturday at 8:00 pm.

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Band of Sisters will be presented at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, located at 701 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA. Tickets are: $10 Regular, $8 Student, Senior, Teacher, $8 YBCA Member. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the box office Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from noon-6:00 pm, Thursday-Saturday from noon-8:00 pm, first Tuesdays of the month from noon-8:00 pm. To order tickets by phone, or to arrange discounts for groups over 10, please call 415-978-ARTS. Phone hours are Tuesday-Sunday from noon-6:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased anytime online: www.ybca.org/tickets
For information about Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: www.ybca.org/band-of-sisters