Counterpoint: Poor Clares

Counterpoint: Poor Clares

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North Belfast




Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage / Courtesy of UTV Archive





26min 49sec




British Film Institute, ITV

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Discover what life is like in an enclosed community of nuns from one of the strictest orders of the Catholic Church.

Get a rare look at life inside this enclosed order nearly 60 years after it first arrived in Belfast and 30 years before its closure. Their total commitment to God is expressed through a medieval regime with vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and enclosure. The vow of enclosure meant that the nuns were only allowed four visits a year from relatives and even then they would converse from behind a metal grill as seen in this film. 


Despite this the public were invited to come to the sisters for prayers and consolation six days a week. When the Cliftonville Road monastery finally closed in 2013 the Bishop of Down and Connor described their “invaluable legacy of prayerful support…especially in turbulent times. From within the enclosure of their monastery, they have constantly reached out in support of those who came to visit them”. The remaining five Sisters were relocated to another order in Carlow. This is an episode of Counterpoint, Ulster Television's landmark current affairs series, which was also broadcast to a national audience on Channel 4. This material is Courtesy of the UTV Archive.


Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage

An Ulster Television production

Contributors: Sister Mary, Sister Assumption, Sister Michael

Camera: Ramsey Nelson, B. Scott, D. Swift



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