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Celluloid star turned Benedictine to address conference

PASO ROBLES (Agencies): The Central California Marian Eucharistic Conference will feature a Benedictine sister, Mother Dolores Hart, an award-winning former actress as its guest speaker in January next year. She played alongside Elvis Presley in two movies, Loving You and King Creole, and still votes for the Academy Awards, 

“We feel really blessed that she is coming,” conference organiser, Pat Borba, told CNA on November 29. “It is a miracle in itself that we got her. We thought that since she’s now cloistered, that that would never happen.”

The conference will take place at the Paso Robles Event Centre at a Mid-State Fairgrounds auditorium in Paso Robles, California, in the United States of America, on January 14 and 15, on theme, Faith That Moves Mountains!

Mother Dolores is billed to speak on How a Career in Hollywood Led Me to Faith and The Ear of the Heart: When the master speaks the disciple will listen.

Born Dolores Hicks, in her previous existence Mother Dolores appeared on stage and screen under the name of Dolores Hart. She starred in the 1960 teen classic, Where the Boys Are and played St. Clare in the 1961 film, Francis of Assisi. She also had the lead role in The Inspector and was nominated for Best Actress Award for her role in The Pleasure of his Company.

In 1959, she took out the Theatre World Award and a Tony Award nomination for her role in the Broadway production of The Pleasure of his Company and has remained a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, currently being the only sister to vote for the Oscar awards.

The child of divorced parents, her grandparents sent her to a Catholic school in Chicago, but it was her grandfather, who was a projectionist, who nurtured her love for the silver screen, which had begun when she accompanied her sometime actor father to Hollywood.

She was also related through her parents’ in-laws to Mario Lanza.

During a 10-year acting career, Hart also starred with Stephen Boyd, Montgomery Clift, George Hamilton and Robert Wagner. In her last movie, she played opposite Hugh O’Brien in Come Fly with Me, in 1963.

At the age of 24, she broke off her engagement with businessman, Don Robinson, and at the age of 25 entered the Benedictine convent. Although she rode a limousine into Bethlehem to explain to the world why she was becoming a Benedictine, contrary to rumour, she travelled to the convent in a regular sedan.

Gertrude McMasters added that it is also highly unusual for a cloistered Benedictine sister to address a conference such as the one in California.

Attendance at the annual event has varied from between 400 and 2,000 people, with 600 to 800 being the average.

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