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Jackie Hudson talks about a protest that caused her and two other nuns to be convicted of crimes against the government.

The nun looks into the camera and says she doesn't fear going to jail. She does not even fear dying in jail. What she fears, she says, is not living hard enough. She fears not living sweetly enough.

Earlier in the documentary the nuns explain why they would risk prison in the first place. If a nuclear missile were to be launched, they know the coming generations would ask how this attack was allowed to happen. What were American citizens thinking? Were they shopping, or what exactly were they doing, when their government dropped the bomb?

The documentary, "Conviction," will be shown in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. The film about three Catholic nuns was made by a woman who is herself a minister, Brenda Truelson Fox.

The film's title has two meanings. First, the three nuns of the Dominican order are living out their convictions. They practice their faith in accordance with what they see as God's will.

And second, their 2002 peace protest caused them to be convicted of crimes against the federal government. They cut a lock and went onto federal property and poured blood on the top of a Minuteman missile silo and held a worship service. They also pounded on the top of the silo with their household hammers in a symbolic "swords into plowshares" beating. As a result, they each served about three years in federal prison.

This summer finds Sister Jackie Hudson out of jail and done with her probation. She will come to Utah next week for the screening of the film about herself and her fellow nuns, Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert.

In a telephone interview with the Deseret News, Hudson said her most recent incarceration was not her first. She had been in prison in the 1990s as well.

Prison is a dehumanizing place, of course, she said. But she also said she and her fellow nuns were ready.

"We spent nine months preparing for this. Knowing the way the courts have been in the past and how they have ruled, we imagined there could be prison time connected with our action."

They believed the consequences of their protest might range from being arrested, to being shot at the site, to having no action taken against them — because they believe they are upholding the international treaty laws that the U.S. must support.

Hudson said, "When we go into prison we go in prepared physically ... psychologically and spiritually."

They spent the months before their protest taking care of doctor and dental appointments and visiting loved ones.

"We had time to prepare, not like so many of the women in prison who hear a knock on the door at 3 a.m. and are being taken away in their nightgowns, in front of their kids," she said. "For them, it's a trauma. For us, it is an entirely different feeling that we go into prison with."

As a balancing viewpoint to the nuns' views on Christianity, the filmmakers interviewed Ted Haggard, who was at the time the head of the New Life Christian Church in Colorado Springs. Haggard called them "bad models" and "bad Christians."

Ironically, a few months after the film was released, Haggard resigned his ministry when he was accused by a male prostitute of using methamphetamines and paying for extramarital sex for three years.

Meanwhile, the nuns are shown as trying to love the prosecuting attorneys. They are shown as gently winning over the woman who is the caretaker of the property on which they trespassed.

At first the caretaker is shown screaming at them, saying, "I hope we never disarm." At the end of the film, after having talked to the nuns for a time, she may still see the need for nuclear weapons, but she also tells the sisters that she hopes they don't have to go to jail.


E-mail: susan@desnews.com

If you go ...

What: Conviction, a documentary film by Brenda Truelson Fox

Where: Salt Lake Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Cost: Free

Phone: 746-7000

Web: www.slcfilmcenter.org

Also: Sister Jackie Hudson will speak and take questions.