MERIDEN – All life experiences contribute to the path God designs for each of us, according to a Benedictine nun who left her career in Hollywood to join a monastery.
Benedictine Mother Dolores Hart inspired and charmed attendees of the 17th annual Respect Life Conference on Oct. 15 with stories of her journey from Hollywood to holy vows and her pro-life stance.
The former actress, who performed in one Broadway play and 10 movies, including two with Elvis Presley, said that everything that has happened in her life has been a tapestry that God has designed, including her life at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem.
Mother Dolores, 77, spoke during morning and afternoon sessions to more than 200 attendees and vendors.
Addressing the issue of abortion, she noted that no one ever knows which lives will be unmet by ending the life of an unborn baby. She recounted that she recently came across her own family history and learned that her mother had considered aborting her because of financial difficulties.
Mother Dolores said that she was introduced to the monastery when a friend suggested a visit after a particularly exhausting role on Broadway.
“When I stepped foot on the property, I knew this is where I belonged,” she said.
Participants lined up after her talk for photos and to get autographed copies of her biography, The Ear of the Heart. Proceeds from book sales are contributing to a $9-million project now under way to restore the Benedictine monastery.
Laura Zambrano, a member of St. Stephen Parish in Hamden, said she was interested in Mother Dolores’s talk.
“I enjoy going and looking at the other [vendor] tables; and Mother Dolores was lovely. I enjoyed hearing her stories, and being with others who share the same [pro-life advocacy] work that I do,” she said.
Attendees also had the opportunity to choose one of three morning workshops: “Stolen Lives: A Gospel Response to Human Trafficking”; “Families Who Have Lost a Child”; and “NARAL’s National Attack on Pro-Life Pregnancy Care Centers – Are Connecticut Centers the Next Target?”
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair offered a welcome and opening prayer that included an intention for vocations. Mass was concelebrated by Basilian Father Douglas L. Mosey, rector of Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, and Father Lawrence Symolon, pastor of Holy Angels Parish.
The annual conference is hosted by the Holy Angels Pro-Life Outreach Ministry. The coordinators are Mary M. Byczynski and Deacon George W. Frederick.