‘The Keepers’: What’s Behind the Name of the Netflix Documentary Series?

Director Ryan White speaks to TheWrap about the show, which centers on the mysterious murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik

The Keepers

Netflix’s new documentary series about the still-unsolved murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik in 1970 bears the name “The Keepers” — but what does the title mean?

“The Keepers” director Ryan White told TheWrap that the title actually came from a conversation between Jean Wehner, who is one of the victims in the documentary to come forward and accuse Father Joseph Maskell of sexually abusing her during her high school years, and one of her friends.

“Jean said, ‘We are the keepers of the secrets,’ and I knew that had to be the title,” White said. “Obviously, it has other meanings — one other meaning was the idea of gatekeepers. The theory that people in position of authority and power are able to decide what we as the populous know or don’t know or whether survivors of abuse are validated or not… I also liked the institutional meaning of ‘The Keepers.’”

This specific conversation between Wehner and her friends ultimately did not make it into the final cut of the documentary.

“The Keepers” explores the murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik, who disappeared in November 1969 and whose body was discovered in January of 1970. The coroner determined she was hit by a blunt object in the head. However, the documentary delves into a deeper issue — it uncovers the alleged sexual abuse at a Catholic school in Baltimore, Maryland. It is believed Sister Cathy was going to expose the sexual abuse scandal — and was killed for it.

“The Keepers” premiered Friday on Netflix.