documenting worlds
photography by annie appel
film-based work *

Silent Sisters (1996-1998)*

Due to dwindling numbers, when the convent
closed where my friend had once been a nun, she
invited two nuns, both of them nearing 80, to live
with her until they found convents able to take them

After a few years I still found myself thinking about
convents closing, with fewer and fewer young
women joining cloisters. Finally my curiosity
prevailed and I called the closest convent of
cloistered nuns. In our first call I spent two hours
talking with the Mother Superior, Sister Mary
Raymond. Over the next two years, she almost
always answered my endless questions via email.
We met frequently for marathon visits, when she
spoke to me of her calling while I amused her as
she watched me stubbornly wrestle the ancient and
heavy hand-held Speed Graphic.