Gardening with Soul
Director Jess Feast
Producer Vicky Pope
Editor Annie Collins
With Sister Loyola Galvin
Filmmaker Jess Feast followed Sister Loyola Galvin for over a year, charting her journey through the seasons including her 90th birthday. Through her garden, we begin to understand Loyola’s commitment to nurture all living things, especially those which ‘don’t get a good start’. From her early work as a nurse, to her role as a nun raising children with disabilities, we see Loyola’s incredible energy and faith in her God carry her through the difficult times.
Sister Loyola’s optimism is infectious and is fed every day by her love of gardening. Themes of faith, aging and compassion sit alongside the practicalities of every community life, issues with the Catholic Church and the importance of good compost in this intimate, funny and moving portrait of a woman approaching the end of her life.
The success of Gardening with Soul resulted in busloads of visitors to Loyola’s garden at the Sisters of Compassion Home in Island Bay. After the release of the film Sister Loyola retired to the Sisters’ rest home in Silverstream. Sadly, without her energy and commitment, the garden was no longer viable and in 2016 it was bulldozed.
“Any belief we might harbour that becoming a nun is avoiding the real world is turned firmly on its head as we witness this extraordinary soul steer a sharp course through all weathers, trying to shine love on everything she sees.” — Jo Randerson, NZIFF, 2013