Dearest World-Wide Family,
We’re so excited to be bringing in the month of April with the fabulous Order of the Zion Curtain Sisters. Honestly, who would have thought that an order of SPI would be smack dab in the middle of Salt Lake City. We tip our hat to these gals and guards, for sure. Oooh, and they’re Exequatur celebration is coming up soon, too. Make sure you check out the interviews to find out when it is.
While you’re checking things out, be sure to check out the fabulous artwork from our featured artist this month. There are some AMAZING works of art.
We so hope you are enjoying your Spring, and we hope some of our northern sisters are enjoying a rest from the bitter chill that landed this year.
In continued service,
Sister T’Keela Mockingburd And Sister Isadora Knocking
Our first official meeting was Aug of 2012. The official founders were, Marcee DeSaude, Iva Handful Anuts, Tillie Swallows, Merry Heretic, Thor O’Zeen, Mya Cardnial Infarction(Left the group). The great thing about our group is that two of our founders are straight. Both Thor and Mya. Thor is still with us. I think that speaks volumes about how we have affected our community.
What is your full name and when did you become fully professed?
Sister Tillie Swallows 2014
Who is, or who do you consider your Big Sister or Mother to be within the SPI organization?
First one was Sister Rage from LV Sin Sity Sisters. Then she moved to Costa Rica and I asked Sister Pru. Mother is Sister Loosy.
How has the relationship with your Big Sister/Mother influenced your Sister journey?
They have helped to keep me motivated and been there when I have had questions and problems. They are a wonderful group.
How often does The Order of the Zion Curtain Sisters have general membership meetings, and how long do they usually last?
We meet on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month and they are usually between an hour and two.
What do you find most challenging when attending a GM meeting? (explain)
So far there has been nothing that is challenging.
Since the day you joined SPI, what are the biggest changes that you’ve noticed or witnessed in both the organization and yourself?
For me it is the same either way. The way we and I have opened up to our community. We have grown so much.
If you could change anything about your journey to full profession, what would that be and why?
I personally would not change a thing about my journey. It has made me what I am today, the gentle compassionate giant I am today, willing to do whatever is needed in order to help those that need the help - If that means taking tickets at the door or mopping the bathroom floor - If it needs to be done I am there to help.
As the MoN of Order of the Zion Curtain Sisters, what are your expectations or goals of the house for 2014?
My one goal for my house, this year, is to make sure my kids have fun and learn the meaning of being a sister.
What is the best part of being the Mistress of Novices for your house, and what would you say is your least favorite part.
Best part of being the MoN of my house is the ability to help my kids grow and develop and being able to watch how they grow both in doing their makeup and being a sister. I can offer my advice and what I like to see, but it’s up to them on how they take the advice and end up using it.
Least favorite is the fact that I have to be the one that enforces the rules and have to be the one who disciplines.
What are you currently most excited about?
I am so excited about our Exequatur. We are doing it on the Pride weekend. June 6, 7 and 8. Friday the 6th is the Meet and Greet. Saturday the 7th is the Exequatur. June 8th is the Pride Parade and Festival. We have our own entry into the parade and we are asking all the sisters that have come to town to stay for the Parade and walk with us. We want to show our community the huge support that we have.
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?
Don’t rush the process. Take the time to enjoy your journey and learn all that you can. You only get the chance to do this once; you have the rest of your life to be a sister.
What does being an SPI member mean to you, personally?
I love my total community - Not just the gay. I have so many straight folks that are in support of me, no matter what I do. Being a sister is the best way that I have found in order to support my community in all that we have done and will do in the future.
In one word, give your description of the SPI organization.
Please give me your Sister name and when you became fully professed.
Sister Marcee De Saude, Abbess. Became Fully Professed, January 2014
When and how did you first hear of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence organization?
I learned about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence about ten years ago; I had a conversation with Flora Goodtime, at a Boise Coronation.
What about this organization caused you to want to be involved in founding an Order of SPI in Salt Lake ?
The organizations focus on community, taking care of our own through HIV awareness, etc.
What do you think was the most challenging part of beginning the process of founding The Order of the Zion Curtain Sisters?
Getting the right people in the right places, I waited to start until I found the right people, who wanted to do it for a group and not just for the name.
Did the initial group of the Mission House encounter growing pains? And what was learned from those pains?
We did have our growing pains, when the situation presented itself, I treated it as we were a business, set deadlines, etc., and went from there; removing people as needed.
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?
As a founder, we followed the path of a Novice, because we felt that we needed to work on becoming a fully professed member.
How did the community react to the Sisters on the first manifestation in Salt Lake?
The community reacted fairly well, a lot of people already knew of or heard of the Sisters through travel, etc.
Did you find any challenges when dealing with the community for the first time? If so, what were the challenges?
No challenges at this time, we get a lot of people wanting to know who and what we are.
Now that your house has been established for 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)?
The biggest difference is that the group acts as a team; we work as a team, they have a voice in matters.
If you could go back to the days of the order’s initial founding, what changes would you make, if any?
No changes would need to be made. We set it to where people have a good understanding of the P&P’s, etc.
What advice would you give to a newly formed Mission House or any group that is considering the possibility of starting a house?
The advice I would give a new mission or aspirant house is to work as a team, put egos aside, work as one; you are a business and need to run as one.
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?
Yes, more excited to reach or goal, but the same energy has been there since the beginning.
In one word (and one word only) please describe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Could you please give me your name and tell me when you became a member of The Order of the Zion Curtain Sisters?
Sister Flora La Hope; June 2013
What level are you currently at in your journey?
Fully professed Member
What is the reason that you chose to become a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence?
I have been looking for a way to give to the community and I love what the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence stands for.
What have you found to be most rewarding in this stage of your journey?
Back in December during one of the house manifests we were invited to see Sharon Needles perform. She noticed me in the crowed and called me up on stage and donated all her tips from the night to the house.
What have you found to be the most challenging part of this process?
The most challenging thing for would have to be the makeup because I have never done this style of makeup before. There have been a few faces I’ve done and I say to myself “what was I thinking” there have been others that I have loved.
Who has been your biggest influence along your path and explain how that person has influenced you.
Not just one sister has influenced me. It has been every sister I have talked to whether they have given me makeup tips or advice.
In a short paragraph, please describe your first night of manifestation.
When I think back to my first manifest I was scared to death. I didn’t know how the community would respond to me, since I didn’t know anyone in the community. I was also scared I have never put on a dress and done this type of makeup. The vow of silence was the hardest thing to do but yet it was the best thing I have done; I learned a lot about myself and what it means to be a sister.
What are you currently most excited about?
Seeing what comes next in my journey.
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 haven’t had an “ah-ha” moment yet, but I know I will.
In one word, please describe The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
What is your full Brother name and when did you become fully professed?
Brother Thor O’zeen, I elevated with the rest of my house.
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?
I apply my own bondo & make-up. The make-up was something that was really intimidating the first few times I tried. When I was a teenager my dream was to make monsters and do special FX make-up in films. By the time I was 14, the plan was to drop out of high school, run away, and join Jim Henson; making the next Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. I’ve helped with stage make-up and I’m a big nerd - I mean fan of Cosplay. So the make-up part was like an old hat; it was the white face and painting on myself that was the real challenge.
How many members of The Order of the Zion Curtain Sisters are “Brothers”?
We have three Brothers Loki Bear Asgard, Odin Money and myself. Don’t ask me where all the Norse names came from! Haha
How do you describe the role of a Brother, in your own words?
Heck, I don’t know. Token straight guy, Sexy Ginger Bear bait. (haha!) In some ways, a Bother is the support staff for the 9 ring circus that is the Sisters. When we’re out, I’m the one standing in the background counting each Nun watching to make sure everyone is safe. We are still in Utah and although Salt Lake City is very friendly to the LGBT community, most of the state still isn’t. So I’m always on watch to make sure no one is ever alone. This (I hope) lets the nuns stick to helping anyone that may not have had a Brother watching over them when they may have needed one in their life. My role is to be a compliment to a 6’5” nun in the white face and a S&M outfit (@Tillie). Sometimes a quite 6’ tall, round ginger with a smile is easier to talk to and that helps us reach out even further into our community.
What is the best advice you can give to a member who has decided to follow the Brother path?
Don’t be afraid, stop worrying, and remember it’s all just a joke and your life is the punch line in the end! Oh, you meant about being a Brother? That is what I try to tell everyone about life and being a Brother is no different. I try not to give advice beyond that because no one should ever listen to me. I try to do the listening. We all have our own path and that path may not be the same from week to week. In our house, we’ve tried to make Bothers & Sisters as equal as possible letting each person find their own way. The path a Brother takes has all the same challenges and responsibilities as becoming a Sister in our house. The role may be different, but both paths are meant to have the same meaning in the end; equally respected with different paths. Equality and respected for everyone regardless of our life’s path is our real goal.
What is your personal mission as a Brother?
This one is hard for me. My mission today isn’t the same mission I had when I started this journey. I guess it was just simply to live in the beginning. For me, that is the hardest thing in the world. When I came to the Sisters, I was broken in ways I’m still discovering. Now my mission is to share the life I have; to be at service where and when I can to anyone who may need me.
What are you currently most excited about?
I get excited every time I get to go out with the rest of the house. They’re all so excited to be going on this journey. Sister Marry Heretic and I talk a lot about the magic of the Sisters and I love to see that magic happen when we all get together.
Besides the obvious, what do you think the difference is between Sisters and Brothers?
Well, pants maybe? I think it mostly comes down to the individual. Our sisters are our front Nuns standing at the door to the show and they have to move to the stage and be the star. As a Brother, I have to be able to be unseen when the Sisters are on stage but be able to step up at any time to fill that stage if need be. Lame stage analogy, I know. More often than not, when we’re out, I’m stalking the Sisters around the bar watching to see what needs to be done. If it looks like we’re becoming too complacent, I’m not opposed to sneaking up behind the Abbess and grinding up on her without her noticing, or doing anything else to get a cheap laugh just to keep the energy going! I’m a very, very shy and quite person so these things will take folks off-guard if they know me. I hope if I can get a laugh out of the sisters it will help them keep doing the things they need to out there for the people who need us.
In our house once you’re fully professed, as either a Sister or as Brother you may manifest as either when going out. So it’s more about the job that needs to be done. When I started down this path I couldn’t see myself as a Sister, out front talking to strangers, but now I can’t wait to get a coronet and get out there and cause some trouble!
What is your most memorable experience as a Brother?
I’m not really sure. How about I tell you a story instead: When I was introduced to the other founders of our house, I had never heard of the Sisters. A few months earlier I had tied a brick and anvil to my chest walked out onto ice of the reservoir and stepped off the edge. I found myself at the bottom of the reservoir having given up on my lif, but my last thought was simply “oh, no”. Over the next week, in the hospital, I had decided to just give up on my life and hand it over to others.
I met Sister Merry Heretic at a Bingo one night; this was before she was Merry. I was thinking about joining this Camp-drag group in order to further give up my life and hopefully give something back. I didn’t know it then, but looking back, I was trying to become a monk, being single and straight dressing up in drag would have made sure of the celibacy thing! Merry and I hit it off right from the first start. The first time I remember talking to her, she was sitting on my lap telling me a joke about a “Cleveland steamer”. We hung out a bit over the next few weeks and she invited me to a meeting with the rest of the other founders. For some reason, they all liked me and asked me to join. I was scared to death; it took me almost a month to decide to become a Guard. I took on the name Thor O’zeen because becoming a Brother/Sister was the only anti-depressant that has ever really worked for me and as Thor, I hope I can share that with others. Once again I see it as the Magic of Sisters.
Over the last 2 years I’ve gone from giving up on my life to loving my life for the first time in over 20 years. I feel my Sister here in the Zion Curtain and all the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence saved my life and helped me find a life worth living for myself.
With all my heart, bless you all and thank you for lending this broken mess of a man a safe place to rebuild.
Bless you all!
Brother Thor O’zeen
Zion Curtain Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Abby of St. Bettie