Association Spokesperson--Actress Turned Nun Mother Dolores Hart--Writes Memoir

May 7, 2013

The Neuropathy Association congratulates our national spokesperson Mother Dolores Hart on the publication today of her memoir, “The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows!”  

    The Ear of the Heart

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Dolores Hart was a young, meteoric star in Hollywood in the 1960s, with 10 highly successful movies to her credit. A bright and beautiful Hollywood phenom, she beat out other young actresses to star opposite Elvis Presley in Paramount's 1957 film, “Loving You,” which launched a film career that found her working with a “who’s who” list of Hollywood luminaries.  But then she made a shocking decision: Hart left the glamour of Hollywood and her promising career to enter a contemplative Benedictine monastery.

Now, 50 years later, Mother Dolores shares the fascinating account of her life, including her fight with the undiagnosed neuropathy that nearly crippled her. We learn that she entered the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT, at the peak of her career, not to leave the glamorous world of acting she had dreamed of since childhood, but instead to answer a mysterious call she was hearing with the "ear of the heart."

Mother Dolores is now the prioress of this monastic community of 40 women of diverse backgrounds profiled in last year’s Academy-award nominated HBO documentary, “God is the Bigger Elvis.” She was diagnosed with inflammatory sensory neuropathy in 1997; since then, she has become active in raising neuropathy awareness, serving as an official spokesperson for The Neuropathy Association since 2005. In 2006, she testified before Congress in support of an increase in funding for neuropathy research.

Of her quest to get to a neuropathy diagnosis, Mother Dolores shares: 

“Thus began a two-year fruitless—and often counteractive—odyssey to find out what was plaguing me….I had to learn the deepest law of spiritual life, which is common to all religions but key to Saint Benedict’s  Rule.  I had to surrender.  I had to turn over my very body to someone else and let go and watch another do what I thought was mine to do.  The submission it takes to open ourselves is terrible, but ultimately the question must be faced:  Will I just center on my own crisis or allow my life to be taken beyond that center of pain?

Of her becoming an advocate for The Neuropathy Association and the neuropathy community, Mother Dolores shares:

“When we take the option to seek relationship—to reach out to others—our own sense of purpose is renewed.  There is no doubt that suffering teaches us compassion if we let it, and compassion is the deepest source of strength we can possess.”

 To learn more about Mother Dolores’s neuropathy journey in her own words, visit these web links:

- A Nun’s Story: Hollywood, the Monastery, and the Neuropathy Community

- The Importance of Community for Those With Neuropathy

- "Talk Neuropathy" Interview with Rev. Mother Dolores Hart


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