Dearest Sister Family,
We are so happy to be in our second issue of our third year of One Veil. It is also specially rewarding to feature The Atlanta Sisters, Order of the Flaming Sugarbakers. As many of you know, we spent a year and a half in the Atlanta area, so we were able to spend a while supporting the House as visiting sisters. We were so fortunate to see some of the birth of much of Lost N Found, which in our opinion is such a wonderful organization that is helping so many so many youths in the Atlanta area.
While living in Atlanta, we were also lucky enough to be present at the very first H8s a Drag, and this year they are putting on the third annual H8s a Drag. If you have it within your means, it is definitely recommended for you to attend. We had a wonderful time!
If making H8s a Drag is out of your means, perhaps you will be able to make it to the 35th Anniversary of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco. As you all know, we all have such a great time when Sisters from various houses get together. Currently, here in Orlando, we are gearing up for a novice project entitled The Perpetual Indulgence Ball on Sunday, March 2nd. There are five or six houses being represented and we are looking forward to a fabulous evening.
Enjoy the month and INDULGE!
Yours in Service,
We started the abbey in 2009. It was myself, Fiddle, Rapture, and Poca. Our community debut was the Atlanta Pride festival and we were welcomed with open arms.
What is your full name and when did you become fully professed?
My name is Calvin Williamson, also known as Sister Gunza Blazin. I became a sister because I had a desire to make my city a better place and I wanted to do it in the most outrageous way possible. I felt the calling a lot sooner than 2009 but in that year the opportunity presented itself.
Who is, or who do you consider your Big Sister or Mother to be within the SPI organization?
Sister Dawnna Creation from the Abbey of St. Joan. She was the very first sister I met and I was interested in being a sister ever since I met her and found out about who the sisters are, what they do, and what they stand for.
How has the relationship with your Big Sister/Mother influenced your Sister journey?
Sister Dawnna has taught me a lot about the history and traditions of the sisters in which I now pass on to nunlings today. (They should consider themselves lucky)
How often does The Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have general membership meetings, and how long do they usually last?
Our meetings are held once a month on the 3rd Sunday with a Novice Tea following the meeting. The meetings usually last about an hour and a half to two hours.
What do you find most challenging when attending a GM meeting? (explain)
I would say the most challenging is that everyone has something to say whether it’s good, bad, heated, etc. It just excites me to see people passionate about the directions of this organization.
Since the day you joined SPI, what are the biggest changes that you’ve noticed or witnessed in both the organization and yourself?
Being a sister has opened my eyes to so many different organizations that are not centered around the gay community. I’ve come to realize that I love helping others period, whether they are gay, straight, transgendered, black, white, you name it.
I think helping others and showing love and compassion has been truly life changing for me.
If you could change anything about your journey to full profession, what would that be and why?
I wouldn’t change a thing. My journey is what made me who I am today.
As the MoN of The Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, what are your expectations or goals of the house for 2014?
It’s hard to speak for the house, but I can tell you my goals for the nunlings are to not just know the mission statement, but to live it! While I love a good discussion, we are a working organization so this year a lot of our novice teas will be helping a community member and many other projects that involve our mission statement.
What is the best part of being the Mistress of Novices for your house, and what would you say is your least favorite part.
For me, the best part of being a MON is seeing the nunlings grow and develop their own ministry and discovering what works best for them. My least favorite part is enforcing the rules. It’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it!
What are you currently most excited about?
The Atlanta Sisters were fortunate to help start a grass-roots organization called Saint Lost N Found. It’s an organization that gets LGBTQ youth off the streets and provides them with the resources they need to survive and become a well-rounded adult. This year, Lost and Found is finally filling a huge void in the community. While in the past year, they’ve had a home for the homeless youth, they are building a drop in center that will provide, shelter, food, counseling, and much more.
If you were asked to give advice to a mission house that was going through the process of becoming a fully professed house, what would that advice be?
There will be DRAMA but I promise you, if you hold on tight, don’t give up and do everything within your power to make it to fully professed, the lives you touch while on your journey will be the biggest blessing you could EVER imagine.
What does being an SPI member mean to you, personally?
It means I am a part of something greater than myself. I am a part of a family that is world wide that has a hunger to expiate stigmatic guilt and to promulgate universal joy. Being an SPI member gives me the tools and resources I need to let my voice be heard and to lend a hand when it’s needed….you get the idea J I could go on and on.
Please give me your Sister name and when you became fully professed.
Rapture Divine Cox / 2010
When did you first hear of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence organization?
What about this organization caused you to want to be involved in founding an Order of SPI in Atlanta?
I thought it was needed in the South and had actually reached out to San Fran for info but had to put it on the back burner. Imagine my delight when the next Pride came along to see a contingent of NUNS marching in the parade. I reached out the next week and together with the other founders - worked to make the Atlanta Sisters a reality.
What do you think was the most challenging part of beginning the process of founding The Order of the Flaming Sugarbakers?
All the Paperwork
Did the initial group of the Mission House encounter growing pains? And what was learned from those pains?
Absolutely and we learned to work together. I would say that still to this day we experience growing pains from time to time but we get through them as SISTERS.
Being a founding member of your house, did you go through the process of first being a postulant or novice, or were you just considered a founding member and basically have the same rights as a fully professed sister?
We thought it important to go through each process for our growth.
How did the community react to the Sisters on the first manifestation in Atlanta.
They embraced us from the start.
Did you find any challenges when dealing with the community for the first time? If so, what were the challenges?
All the founding members were activists in one form or another so we just pushed harder and never really met any challenges.
Now that your house has been established for quite some time, what is the biggest difference in your house now from when it was first founded (not speaking of the number of members, of course)?
I think that with the influx of new members each year, we are constantly growing as SISTERS and not just in numbers.
If you could go back to the days of the order’s initial founding, what changes would you make, if any?
Not a thing, our journey was our own and we are better for following our own path
What advice would you give to a newly formed Mission House or any group that is considering the possibility of starting a house?
Patience is definitely a virtue.
Do you have just as much excitement about being a Sister now, as you did when you were assisting with the founding of your Order?
When I see the SISTERs come together for the betterment of the community it makes me proud. As Executive Director of Lost N Found, I had the privilege of introducing my SISTERs at the grand opening of the LNF thrift store to do a blessing. I was so proud of their involvement and support that I burst into tears when introducing them to the crowd
In one word (and one word only) please describe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
What is your full Guard name and when did you become fully professed?
Guard Master Mark, and I became fully professed, I want to say, in the month of May, 2010. Two weeks before our Exequatur.
Knowing that some guards occasionally find putting on makeup challenging, do you do your own make up or does someone else do it for you?
Funny you ask this, I had some background already in theatrical make up. I had some experience in prosthesis make up as well. I find it to be something that I enjoy playing with when the mood strikes me. I love having fun with it.
How many members The Order of the Flaming Sugarbakers are guards?
We currently have 7 active guards.
How do you describe the role of a guard, in your own words?
Haha!! Purse Patrol!!!
To best describe our duties as I see, is one that monitors for crowd placement and control. Always keep eye out for any problems that might arise. An escort to the Nuns/Sisters to and from there cars or vehicles, as well as taking on the responsibilities that any other member of our order may have, we are equal in that regards.
My abilities to show our community all the riches that we have to share with them, everything from our fighting for the rights for marriage equality, getting our gay youth off the streets, to passing out condoms and educating our public on safe sex and the understanding in the current field of HIV/AIDS. My personal opinion, I feel the need to hold a responsible duty to show our world that we are ones to show that we won’t take this laying down( No Pun intended) and that we are not going away, and we are here to have our lives respected just as any other person in this world deserves.
What is the best advice you can give to a member who has decided to follow the Guard path?
Take your journey the way you want to, the time will come when you’ll know that you’re ready for your formation to go from Mission to Fully Professed. Not everyone’s progress is the same. Watch and learn from your big Sister/Brother in their rituals that are directly associated with your order/house. Remember that they are your guidance, and reflect on why you wanted to become a guard and how that inspired you to become a member of the Sisters. Learn everything you can about the history and background of the original San Francisco Order. It’s a good thing to know just how much this organization has done with/for our community. Humility will be your enlightenment.
What is your personal mission as a Guard?
To receive all without prejudice, to be a warrior to overcome the hatred and stigma that our community deals with on a daily bases. I’d like to show everyone how wonderful our lives can be with equality. Engaging in conversations on the topics on current HIV/AIDS and the practice of safe sex. Teaching others to have acceptance within our very own community.
What are you currently most excited about?
OMG, our current project we got going on at the Eagle right now, our Jockstrap Sister Twister. We have had three already and it seems to just grow more and more each month, and the cutie’s that have been showing up to play, WOW! … I guess the answer to that question would be “Cutie Pies in jockstraps.” I’m an elder and it really only takes a little to excite me.
Besides the obvious, what do you think the difference is between Sisters and Guards?
High heels and a lot more glitter!!! We are all a collection of the same purpose and I have really never thought of us being all that different between the two. We carry on the same responsibilities as those as the Sisters do, we just have the luxury of taking off less at night when we return from an event or such.
Nv. Sister Della Catessen was made honorable member and black veiled at Atlanta Exequatur.