Greetings and Bright Blessings,
One Veil is very happy to be featuring the San Antonio Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Abbey of the Alamo. These gorgeous nuns are doing some phenomenal work in their community and are looking forward to their Exequator Celebration this coming October.
As a special addition, Sister Soami (SPI Co-founder) has offered some great info for this issue of One Veil. Not only is the information wise, as always, but the photos that are included are inSPIrational in many ways.
Not sure what’s going on in your neck of the woods, but here in Orlando, we are gearing up for Gay Days 2014. If you have nothing planned and a few extra frequent flier points, come on down and celebrate with us next weekend (June 4 – June 8).
A little birdie has been chirping (could have been a Mockinburd) into our ears, so we thought we could share, keep your eyes open for a possible Conclave in beautiful Orlando, Florida in March or April of 2015. More information to come via SPI Dish and Facebook in a few weeks as plans are solidified.
As you know, One Veil has been a monthly online magazine for quite some time now, featuring various Sister houses around the world. We have enjoyed working with these houses on each issue and bringing the information to our readers has been a tremendous joy. I’m sure you can imagine the amount of time it takes to produce the monthly product, and sometimes to do so creates stress on our volunteers who produce and contribute the magazine as they navigate through their secular lives and careers. Therefore, we have decided to reduce the publication of One Veil to six times per year. We will have issues going forward in August, October, December, February, April and June.
As always, if you have any contributions that you’d like to share with One Veil and would like to have it featured in a future issue, please contact us. We are ALWAYS looking for great additions.
In Sister Service Always,
Sister T’Keela Mockingburd and Sister Isadora Knocking
My partner (Sister SIR Vn’ Up Lashes) and I had moved from San Diego, CA. to San Antonio, TX. As you can imagine we were quite disappointed with the state of the gay community here. I remembered the Sisters in San Diego, and how wonderful they were and all of the amazing things they did for the community. The exact moment when I decided to attempt starting a house here eludes me, but it was roughly within six months of moving.
I started speaking with a few people about the Sisters trying to get others on board (this went on for about year) and then there was one courageous soul, now known as Sister Fonda Topps who joined in the crusade to bring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to San Antonio; our official formation was in May 2011. We started out with the name of The San Antonio Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, House of the Sherripop Pie, we got everything we needed for our first manifestation, including black veils; yes folks, black veils. Needless to say we were all sorts of wrong but we were quickly schooled, forgiven for our faux pas and we moved on.
Our first manifestation, we were very well received by the community, afterwards we became one more stronger when Sister SIR Vn’Up Lashes joined the ranks; we were the triad which started it all. As the months passed we gained new founding members and one who really stood out from the rest, Sister Rhoda Whorse who has been an absolute blessing from the very beginning of her journey.
There was a point that I didn’t understand why we were getting messages of, “good luck on your journey”. I thought to myself, “this is a breeze, we’ll be Fully Professed in no time” – certainly not the case! The physical toll and emotional roller coaster of developing a house is tremendous, and it is something I would highly recommend it to anyone.
What is your full name and when did you become fully professed?
Sister Frida Lay and I became Fully Professed in December 2013.
Who is, or who do you consider your Big Sister or Mother to be within the SPI organization?
For the first one and a half years I was Motherless/Big Sisterless and definitely needed a bit of direction. It was San Antonio Gay Pride 2012 and three Sisters from DFW had come for a visit, Sister Bertha Sinn, Sister Eve Angelica and Sister Kerianna Kross. That night I asked Sister Eve Angelica if she would be my Mother and she accepted (I was so excited I could’ve spit)! She has been an inspiration and a stern teacher (I am very lucky and grateful to have Sister Eve Angelica in my life), I consider my Big Sister to be Sister Bertha Sinn also of the DFW SPI, just as my Mother has been there for me so has Sister Bertha Sinn; I have been blessed to have this power couple take me under their wing(s), they are both very special to me.
How has the relationship with your Big Sister/Mother influenced your Sister journey?
Like I mentioned before, I needed a bit of guidance and direction at the beginning of my journey, Sister Eve Angelica and Sister Bertha Sinn were exactly what I needed. I’ve learned quite a bit from both of them, from things as serious as life changing self- reflections to simple things such as make-up, habit and veil tips.
The first time the DFW Sisters visited San Antonio, I fondly remember as we were getting ready for the evening’s manifestation, I was finishing up and Sister Eve Angelica asked if I had a safety pin, once it was provided she asked me to turn around and she pinned the veil and said, “this is how you should wear your veil”; she was very direct in her tone but also very sweet, I will never forget that moment, I have been wearing my veil that way ever since.
In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for them, I probably wouldn’t be a Sister today – a big
THANK YOU to Sister Eve Angelica and Sister Bertha Sinn, y’all are the best!
How often does The Order of San Antonio Sisters have general membership meetings, and how long do they usually last?
We have general membership meetings monthly which are held on every third Tuesday, the meetings usually last about two hours.
What do you find most challenging when attending a GM meeting? (explain)
In my humble opinion, the most challenging aspect of our general membership meeting is not staying on topic. Let me explain…we have so many wonderful, caring, colorful, loving people and for the most part we get along very well. This, of course, leads us to commune with one another rather than focus on the business at hand; you would think that not staying on topic would be irritating (sometimes it is), but it is something I really enjoy and look forward to every month. I sometimes find myself sitting back and watching how everyone interacts with one another, it brings a tear to my eye and the warm fuzzies to my heart.
Since the day you joined SPI, what are the biggest changes that you’ve noticed or witnessed in both the organization and yourself?
I think most houses, when forming; have to work through a little chaos, and San Antonio was no different. However, once the dust settles and things begin to fall into place there is a point when one can stand back and observe the family working together, caring for the community, each other and themselves; even as I write this I think about all of the things we’ve gone through together, and how it has made us stronger than ever before, it really brings me tears of joy.
I have been known to be pretty rigid at times, but my Sister journey has definitely softened me; not only my persona, but also my soul and for that I am eternally grateful.
If you could change anything about your journey to full profession, what would that be and why?
I believe that everything happens for a reason, those experiences are supposed to make you grow into the person you are meant to be. Even though there were some rough times, I wouldn’t change a thing; I am a better person for it and I look forward to growing and learning more as my Sister path continues.
As the MoN of Order of San Antonio Sisters, what are your expectations or goals of the house for 2014?
I have one and only one expectation for the SA SPI in 2014, that is to have an excellent Exequatur in October and to be able to commune with all of the visiting Sisters/Guards.
With the SA SPI, I know not to set expectations, because our house’s bright light and positive energy simply takes over anything that we do. I am very proud of each and every single one of them, and they will always exceed any of my expectations.
What is the best part of being the Mistress of Novices for your house, and what would you say is your least favorite part.
The best of part of being MoN for the SA SPI is being able to be directly involved with our members. I thoroughly enjoy helping, guiding, celebrating their joy with them and even sometimes just being there to listen when life gets rough.
My least favorite part is the amount of work it takes to be MoN. Setting up Teas, making all sorts of arrangements, sleepless nights because of nerves about an event or if a member is having problems; this is what I imagine being a biological mother to several people is like but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What are you currently most excited about?
I am not sure if I can claim being most excited about one single thing, I am excited about the SA SPI altogether. We have a surge of people asking about joining the SA Order, we have been developing new relationships and fundraising for local organizations such as PAWS Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Ranch, and our newest relationship with the San Antonio Rape Crisis Center, and how can I not mention our Exequatur (24OCT – 26OCT, info on SanAntonioSisters.org)!! In summary, the future looks very bright!
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?
Raise each other up and don’t take each other for granted, in the beginning y’all are probably the only support system that you will have while winning over your communities. Everyone has something they don’t like about another, try your best to look past that and focus on things that you like; before you know it you will absolutely love each other and at that point you can really start to begin your Sister/Guard family.
What does being an SPI member mean to you, personally?
This is very difficult question to answer, as I think about how to reply I am filled with what feels like thousands of emotions and a million thoughts all shooting off like a bunch of bottle rockets all lit at once.
Being an SPI member means having the power to change our communities for the better through presence, education and action.
In one word, give your description of the SPI organization.
Please give me your Sister name and when you became fully
Sister Sir Vn’ Up Lashes, December 2013
When and how did you first hear of The Sistersof Perpetual
Oh my… I first had my first run in and encounter with SPI in San Diego CA. about 19 years ago, when I lived there.
What about this organization caused you to want to be involved
in founding an Order of SPI in San Antonio?
Everything that the Order stands for, from the mission statement to being involved with the community. When we moved to our new home in San Antonio. Sister Frida Lay (my husband) and I knew there was something missing… how could the seventh largest city in the nation not have sisters? We found our calling and had to start a Sister house here.
What do you think was the most challenging part of beginning
the process of founding The Order of the San Antonio Sisters?
I’d say growing a large pair of CAJONES. San Antonio has some very deep Catholic roots. We were not sure how well we would be accepted. Also, finding the right group of people that had and have what it takes to be sisters. They needed to have that magical thing that sisters have, and could uphold the values of SPI.
Did the initial group of the Mission House encounter growing
pains? And what was learned from those pains?
Yes, we encountered growing pains. I believe that any group or organization does. It's part of the development and learning process. After all we are dealing with different types of thought processes and individuals. We are always learning, but at that time we came to a realization that not everyone that is interested in being a Sister, has what it takes to be part of SPI.
Being a founding member of your house, did you go through the
process of first being a postulant or novice, or were you just con
sidereda foundingmember and basically have the same rights
as a fully professed sister?
We started as Novices, with founding member rights. However; we still had to go thru the SPI requirements set forth to us and be voted in by the United Nun Privy Council (UNPC).
How did the community react to the Sisters on the first
manifestation in San Antonio?
Our community accepted us with open arms and is very happy and grateful that we are here.
Did you find any challenges when dealing with the community
for the first time? If so, what were the challenges?
The only challenge I encountered was that not too many people knew who the sisters were, although some did from their travels to Dallas or other parts of the country. We started by giving them our Sister History, our mission statement and the inevitable Bliss Kits.
Now that your house has been established for quite sometime,
what is the biggest difference in your house now from when it
was first founded (not speaking of the number of members,
Our biggest difference is how well we all work together. We worked well before, but now we gel and take ownership and we are a team.
If you could go back to the days of the order’s initial founding,
what changes would you make,if any?
I don't believe I would change anything. All that we experienced in the beginning just makes for a stronger and more compassionate house.
What advice would you give to a newly formed Mission House or
any group that is considering the possibility of starting a house?
To really take the time to learn about each other, to make sure everyone's HEART is in the right place, with that I mean that one has to dig deep and see if you are a great fit for the SPI experience or vice versa and lastly, make sure they are there for the right reason.
Do you have just as much excitement about being a Sister now,
as you did when you were assisting with the founding of your
Most definitely, the community is the fuel to my fire - they keep me (us) ALIVE. They are always inquiring when our next manifestation, bar ministry or gathering is going to be. They cannot get enough of us. That's awesome I love that.
In one word (and one word only) please describe the Sisters of
Could you please give me your name and tell me when you
became a member of The Order of the San Antonio Sisters?
Sister Fonda Topps. May 2011 is when I joined
What level are you currently at in your journey?
What is the reason that you chose to become a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence?
To help bring my home joy and hope for the future. We all need a little of that.
What have you found to be most rewarding in this stage of your
The acceptance of our community.
What have you found to be the most challenging part of this
Working with the most frustratingly wonderful group of sisters. We are all so different, but we all come together for such great causes. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Who has been your biggest influence along your path and
explain how that person has influencedyou.
Sister Frieda Lay. The first Sister I knew. xoxo
In a short paragraph, please describe your first night of
Ha! Sister Frieda Lay and I went out to the gaybourhood. It was a great night and everyone was so gracious at our first premier. The only thing is … we wore our BLACK VEILS.
What are you currently most excited about?
Most Sisters experience, what we call,an“Ah-Ha”moment.
This is a moment where we realize that we are definitely where
we need to be and that this path of Sisterhood is in alignment
with who we are as a person. Have you had that“Ah Ha”moment
yet, and if so,can you speak of it.
I think my path is still taking different twists and turns right now. As long as I have my sisters I feel like I’m ready for anything.