Gardening with Soul

A year in the garden with 90-year-old Sister Loyola Galvin.

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 community life, issues within 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.

Filmed almost entirely on location in Island Bay, Wellington, Gardening with Soul follows Sister Loyola Galvin, the main gardener for the House of Compassion.

Filmmaker Jess Feast (Cowboys and Communists) has been following Sister Loyola over the last year, charting her journey through the seasons which included 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.

Gardening with Soul premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival in July 2013.

Gardening with Soul can be viewed at

Winner Best Documentary Moa, New Zealand Film Awards 2013
Official Selection New Zealand International Film Festival

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Cast – Sister Loyola Galvin
Director – Jess Feast
Producer – Vicky Pope
Composer – David Long
Editor – Annie Collins

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