Former Actress Explains Why She Left Hollywood: ‘God Called Me’
By Movieguide® Staff
Former Hollywood Actress Dolores Hart starred alongside Elvis Presley, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn, and Marlon Brando but felt called by God to leave her successful entertainment career and become a nun.
In 2016, Mother Hart celebrated 50 years of vowed life at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. Hart, 82, previously released a memoir called “The Ear of the Heart: An Actress’ Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows,” which detailed her story from the big screen to the monastery.
Even while in Hollywood, Hart recalled an encounter with Elvis where they discussed the Bible and faith.
“I remember one moment when we were taking a break from filming. He walked over to me, handed me a Bible, and said, ‘Miss Dolores, would you open this book? What do you see? What does it mean to you?'” Hart told Fox News in an exclusive interview. “And so, I offered my opinion on what I was seeing. And from there, we spent the time in between the scenes talking about the Bible. I never expected a fellow actor, in particular, to have that kind of genuine curiosity. He wasn’t trying to set up anything. There were no flashbulbs around to take pictures of us. He did it because it was in his heart.”
Hart said that her time on stage and the big screen was tiresome and that one of her friends encouraged her to take a break at the Abbey of Regina Laudis.
“I was actually doing a show at the time, but the demands of the stage really became exhausting. It was a friend who suggested that I should take a few days to rest at the Abbey of Regina Laudis. It was supposed to be a welcoming retreat from New York where I could reflect on what was going to be the next step in my career,” Hart said. “But I wasn’t expecting just how peaceful it truly was.”
Hart continued: “I found inner certitude. I felt like this is where I belonged. It became more than just a retreat. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you meet the person you’re going to marry. The more I came to visit the more it came calling to me. And the more I knew God was present to me in a very special way that I couldn’t deny.”
Hart is candid that her decision to leave the bright lights was not her will, but God’s will for her life.
“I think it’s important for anyone to understand that it was a dramatic change. It wasn’t something I planned on. I thought I would go through my time in Hollywood. However, this vocation showed me my life’s purpose. Then I started to ask myself, ‘What am I doing in Hollywood? Where is this going to take me?’ The realization became clear and really, it’s a gift. I was so lucky. God called me,” Hart said.
Her decision meant more than leaving Hollywood. At the time, Hart was engaged to Don Robinson.
“Don and I were engaged. I had a concern that somehow I wasn’t sure [about the engagement]… He was a beautiful guy and a real gentleman too,” Hart recalled. “I remembered as soon as he asked me to marry him, he found the place that he wanted us to live. I said, ‘Don, we’re going too fast.'”
Hart added: “The time came when I knew this was not it. I felt it in my heart that this was not my path. I remember I was on a lunch date with Don. That’s when I said, ‘Don, I just have to tell you. I cannot say yes to this.’ He stood up from the table and yelled ‘No!’ And of course, everyone at the restaurant looked at us. I looked at him and said, ‘Don, I’m telling you the truth. I really love you, but not in the way that you want.'”
After his initial outburst, Hart said that he was supportive and wanted to help her in her pursuit to become a nun.
“I told him what I really wanted to do with my life. God was calling me and I felt it in my heart that I needed to answer,” Hart said. “He then looked at me and said, ‘I’ve known it. I know this is what you want. I’m going to help you. I promise you that I will.'”
Hart said that Hollywood has always influenced youth.
“I think Hollywood belonged to our time as a way for young people to find an identity, to feel a sense of importance, a sense of being, a sense of belonging. I think every generation has to go through their own experience in order to find themselves, to find God,” Hart said. “I think Hollywood today belongs to the generations that are asking those very same questions, that yearning of finding their place in the world.”
Hart continued: “To find God is to find love. To understand God is to understand love… People write to me every day about their problems and how they’re experiencing loss. We all have this beautiful need to find love, and God is that.
“I think we all need to walk down that path of self-discovery and truly understanding our purpose. And part of doing that is coming together and sharing our experiences, both the joyful and sorrowful ones. And I truly believe it’s never too late. In all of my letters, I offer gratitude and prayer so that each individual can embark on their own personal journeys.”