Antoine Servel, a French academic working on a paper regarding the sisters, recently contacted us with a few questions. With his permission, we are sharing his e-mail, questions with the responses he received from Sister Eunice X (whose replies are in bold). Do you also have questions for the sisters? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us.
I am a French academic working on a paper on the Sisters. I am currently trying to figure out the links between Sisters and religions, whether transcendentalism or syncretism…
I find your work fascinating and inspiring! I watched some documentaries on the Internet and I read the website.
I have so many questions, and every two minutes a new one pops out!
How would you consider the whole marriage issue ? I do believe it is all about getting the same rights, that is for sure. But I am also now questionning on what it means to get married somehow. The whole idea of conforming to maybe “straight looking” indentities or relationships is to me denying differences.
If we allow that every person should be able to define their own path and their own sense of normal, then the marriage issue becomes one of individual rights vs. the rights of the majority. In these instances, I prefer to say that so long as the individual is doing no actual, demonstrable harm, the individual rights must take priority. That said, this is not always simple to discern.
The whole straight acting thing as well. What do you think of this? And what would you think of the gay market which obviously is all about assimilation and conformity? Have you suffered from this, being Sisters? In France drag queens and sisters are not as big as in the US I believe, so I am discovering the wohle subcultre. I am thinking about the link btw drag queens and sisters. Would you consider yourselves as drag queens? or a form of drag? What do you think of RuPaul?
In every aspect of our lives we adopt what we expect to be situation-appropriate personas. All clothing and adornment is therefore a form of “drag.” The same is true for behavior, and so straight acting for the sake of conformity, while the choice of the individual, can be personally damaging. Straight acting because a person is behaving in the manner most natural and comfortable for them, at the time and in that place, should be as fine as dancing on roof tops as a flaming queer. Should be, that is.In the US, drag is more an accepted part of gay culture in some communities, mostly in the southeastern US. In other parts, drag queens stand alone, as do leathermen and other groups, when they self-identify as such. The Sisters are not technically drag queens. I prefer the phrase, “scary clown drag nuns”. We are first and foremost nuns, and our outward appearance is an intentional manifestation of our ministry of non-judgementalism.
Also, why do Sisters decide to join the order and not Act up or another group?
Our primary purpose is to live and teach the Ministry of Perpetual Indulgence, a philosophical understanding of non-judgementalism. Some Sisters may express this more through community service such as fundraising for charity. Others may choose education or political activism. The work we do draws upon a very specific subset of the community, and I am proud to say that we count among our members people from all walks of life, male and female, gay and bi and straight, Catholic and Jewish, etc.
Would you consider yourselves religious? would you consider that being rasied in America, which is dare I say very religious, you were bathed into it, and it oriented your choice of militancy?
Your impression of the US is not quite fully formed. We have a large number of people who consider themselves to be religious, but there are also many others who do not follow major organized religious traditions. And of course we have our share of atheists. The Sisters represents that diversity as well. We do not have a religious tradition, but rather our philosophical one.
Do you believe in God?
Me personally? Absolutely not. Many of my Sisters do, I am sure.
I am starting to think that every sister has her own vision of spirituality that she exudes from her habit. Would you agree? Do you adapt your habit depending on your religious beliefs?
It is generally not about religious beliefs for most Sisters I know. It is a celebration of the trappings of the spiritual, and the freedom to redefine spirit. I often wear a crucifix, not because I believe in Jesus as the Lord and Savior, but because I respect and admire the beauty of the thing and the power of the symbolism it embodies.
Would you consider yourselves as rather LGBT or Queer?
You can find many pictures on our Facebook page. I will not send to you a copy of our vows at this time, but I will tell you that the most important part for me are as follows:I will promote universal joy, love, and respectI will expiate stigmatic guilt, judgement, and bigotryI pledge myself to serve my community, my fellow Sisters, and the Ministry of Perpetual Indulgence
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my email and all the hard work. I absolutely loved project Nunway and the use of Popular culture that I believe also brings to mind how the show is packed with gayness but never really acknowledges.