Wow, is it November already? The air is beginning to cool off here in Orlando, and we couldn’t be happier about it. While we love Summer pool parties and the beautiful Florida sunshine, we are always happy to welcome in the cooler weather and the hopes to reduce the electric bill.
We couldn’t be happier to be featuring the Dallas house this month. (Can I get a Yee-Haw!)
I have to say, I have so much respect for these Texas nuns. They have overcome some huge hurdles in their journey to this point. I’m sure you’ll agree after reading the interviews of their members.
One Veil would like to say a big THANK YOU to Sister Indica for her fierce contributions to the magazine by way of the Nun Too Beautiful articles. I’m sure you’ll see more articles from her in the future. (Thank you, Sister)
We are also very happy to welcome Sister Lawna, from the Dallas House, who will begin her contributions to the magazine with this edition. Sister Lawna will be offering an LGBT History article for the upcoming months, and how better to start that off than with Stonewall.
If you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, please have a great one this month. I say every month should be a month to give thanks. This month, One Veil would like to thank all the contributors that have volunteered their time and talents for almost two years.
In Love and Service,
Sisters T’Keela Mockingburd and Isadora Knocking
The DFW Sisters have walked a long path to Fully-Professed status. I guess you could say the original start began in 2009 when two individuals went out to the hidden door in white-face and pillbox shaped wimples. They called themselves the Sisters of the Longhorn. From there, things kind of steamrolled forward and interest in becoming a Sister spread. There were interest groups in both Dallas and Ft. Worth. With only 60 miles between the two cities that make up the DFW metroplex, the Mistress of Missions recommended that the two groups work together and form one house.
In February 2010, the two groups met and discussed a plan. The tension was thick, but we worked through it. From that meeting, the Sisters of the Yellow Rose (SoTYR) were born. There were originally 9 of us in SoTYR. After about two months of practice, we made our debut on Easter Sunday of 2010. We passed out plastic Easter eggs with condoms and lube in them. The community loved it and the bar owners hated all the little plastic eggs that got left behind. We were completely embraced by the community. We were manifestation whores. We went out every weekend. In June 2010 we were given Mission status. Sadly, this incarnation of the Sisters in Dallas was short-lived. In September of the same year, due to irreconcilable differences, SoTYR met its end when most of the group walked away.
Of the original 9 from SoTYR, the 7 of us that walked away, came together to regroup in September 2010. Along with us, came 1 Novice and 3 Postulants from the defunct SoTYR. We reformed as the DFW Sisters. As we formed a totally new house, we had to give up the mission status that had been granted to SoTYR. With humility and grace, we agreed to continue on as a new aspirant house. Becoming Sisters meant enough to us to start all over again. With the re-forming, we had 11 Founders:
Sister Eve Angelica
Sister MaeLynn Hanzment
Sister Polly von Acocker
Sister Bertha Sinn
Sister Kerianna Kross
Sister Amanda deFlower
Sister Edina T. Krisis
Sister Rhoda Hardcoque
Sister Lynn daHand
Sister Tasha MyFUPA
Sister Ophelia Nutz
On the eve of our reformation, we were asked to walk as the DFW Sisters in the Dallas PRIDE parade with the Dallas Eagle, Dallas Bears and the Leather Knights. We stayed up all night and worked tirelessly at Sister Polly’s home making new veils, wimples and bibs to prepare for our debut. In all my time as a Sister, that one night was the most significant night of my life. The next day, on 2 hours of sleep or less each, we debuted as the DFW Sisters.
In January of 2011, we were granted Mission status. From there we moved forward and grew exponentially. In October of 2011, the DFW Sisters became a Fully-Professed House. Since that day in September 2010, various DFW charity organizations have called upon the DFW Sisters to aid and serve the community. We do it with as much pride and humilty as we are able.
What is your full name and when did you become fully professed?
My name is Sister Kerianna Kross. I professed in October of 2011
Who is, or who do you consider your Big Sister or Mother to be within the SPI organization?
My Mother is Krissy Fiction in Portland.
I actually consider myself to have several Big Sisters. They are Sister Kahli in San Diego, Sister Sparkle Plenty in Russian River, Sisters Dixie Normous and Sister Gunza Blazin in Atlanta.
How has the relationship with your Big Sister/Mother influenced your Sister journey?
My Mother is such an inspiration to me. She is fearless and has no issues with making herself seen with little or no regard what you think about her. She puts herself out there and give herself completely to her community. That is the kind of nun I strive to be. All four of my Big Sisters played a part in my journey. I can’t tell you how many times I blew their phones up with questions about my thoughts, my joys or what I thought was a problem. But I learned a lot from them. The wisdom of the ones who have been around a while and those just getting their black veil. I call them less often now, but they still answer…
How often does the Dallas/Fort Worth Sisters have general membership meetings, and how long do they usually last?
Our general membership meetings are on the first Sunday of every month. They generally last an hour.
What do you find most challenging when attending a GM meeting? (explain)
The biggest challenge in my mind is allowing everyone to be heard and not dismiss anyone’s opinion. With almost 30 people from FP down to Aspirants, we get so excited in discussion that many of us have things to say. We have had many instances where we have had to postpone or stop discussion until after the main items on the agenda were done.
Since the day you joined SPI, what are the biggest changes that you’ve noticed or witnessed in both the organization and yourself?
The DFW communities no longer look at us a rag tag group of white-faced clowns. When we make an appearance, “Hello Sister” is uttered a lot more often than “Who the hell are you?” In myself, I can see how much more extroverted I have become. Sister Kerianna has allowed me, as Joey, to flourish and become less of a shy and quiet person. Even in my secular form, I am more likely to engage you in conversation than hide in the crowd.
If you could change anything about your journey to full profession, what would that be and why?
I honestly don’t think I would change anything. If I changed anything, I wouldn’t be the same nun I am today. Everything happens for a reason, good and bad.
As the MoN of the Dallas/Fort Worth house, what are your expectations or goals of the house for 2013?
To make it to 2014, since we have only 2 months left. Giggle. But in 2014, I would love to see continued growth as we have lost a few nuns along the way to the situations of life. We have a new group of junior members that I think are going to give us a huge burst of energy when they make it to Fully Professed. Generally we try not to be presumptuous about junior members, but I can’t fathom any reason that these little firecrackers wouldn’t make it.
What is the best part of being the Mistress of Novices for your house, and what would you say is your least favorite part.
My favorite part of being MoN is watching the junior members grow and learn from the fully professed sisters in our house. There are so many paths to walk and one person’s path is not better than another’s. As for my least favorite part, it would be being told how to do the job of MoN by someone that has never been one. You just have to smile and nod and continue doing what you are doing. However; if there is logic to it, you confer with someone that has held the role and make an adjustment if you need to.
What are you currently most excited about?
Project NUNWAY - Dallas! The show had its second run in September. It was a huge success and we are all excited for the third installment. I am also working with some of the Leathermen of Dallas to launch a DFW Sisters Leather even in February 2014.
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?
Communicate with each other. Don’t allow one voice to overpower the group. You are all walking different paths to the same end. You may be starting to become Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, but you are a family, you are Sisters. You will either agree or disagree with each other. Don’t let it blind you to why you are doing what you are doing.
What does being an SPI member mean to you, personally?
This is the hardest question to answer. They say that everyone has their 15 minutes of fame. I am glad to know that my 15 minutes is devoted to being a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence. As a Sister I can spread out that time to better the world or brighten someone’s day. And at the end of all 15 minutes, people will remember that a Sister was there in that minute or two when they needed her.
In one word, give your description of the SPI organization.
Please give me your Sister name and when you became fully professed.
My name is Sister Bertha Sinn and I became Fully Professed on October 17, 2011.
When and how did you first hear of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence organization?
I was visiting a friend in San Francisco for Pride in the late ‘90s and saw the Sisters performing on stage in the park and was immediately intrigued. I kind of lurked around watching them for a while trying to get up the courage to overcome my fear of clowns to find out more about them, but in the end I couldn’t do it.
After moving to the Bay Area a couple of years later I got to learn more about them and their history and Mission. I was in no place in my life to even attempt to try to join, much less overcome my fear of clowns. I was deep into a decade long meth addiction and was in no position to get involved with an organization that took care of its community if I wasn’t even able to take care of myself. I watched them from afar, getting closer and closer in my lurking, but never overcoming my fears or my addictions before moving back to Texas.
Years later, in 2010, our paths would cross again after I’d worked through my addiction and had become much more stable.
What about this organization caused you to want to be involved in founding an Order of SPI in Dallas/Fort Worth?
From the first time I saw the Sisters in San Francisco I was drawn to them. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to join without moving back to California. When the opportunity presented itself there was no question, no waffling. I felt it was something I needed to do.
What do you think was the most challenging part of beginning the process of founding the Dallas/Fort Worth Sisters Order?
By the time we became the DFW Sisters we had already been through two incarnations – Sisters of the Longhorn (Dec 2009) which became the Sisters of the Yellow Rose (Feb 2010 - Oct 2010). The President of the Yellow Rose began using our group for his own gain and without bylaws he was in full control. If we were to continue to follow our calling we had to leave and start over. All but two of us resigned and reformed the DFW Sisters. When we walked away from Yellow Rose we gave up everything we’d worked for to that point, including our Mission status.
When we formed the DFW Sisters our biggest challenge was in proving ourselves again to the UNPC and re-establishing our reputation in our community.
Did the initial group of the Mission House encounter growing pains? And what was learned from those pains?
We experienced many growing pains but came to realize that most of them stemmed from poor communication – something that every House deals with on a regular basis, but especially newly formed ones. We worked very hard on being honest and up front with each other about everything. We know that some of us don’t communicate well with each other via email or text so we call each other or meet face to face. When we have friction we sit down and talk about it. We don’t let things sit and fester – we face them and deal with them directly.
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?
I started as a Founding Sister.
How did the community react to the Sisters on the first manifestation in Dallas/Fort Worth.
We were very well-received. Luckily, this area is very transitional. We have many people living here who were familiar with Sisters in other cities. Of course there were many WTF moments, but overall it was all positive.
Did you find any challenges when dealing with the community for the first time? If so, what were the challenges?
This makes me sound old, but the younger generation out there really threw us for a loop. We were passing out condoms and lube in plastic Easter eggs. On more than one occasion, when explaining who we were, they took the condom out and threw it on the ground while putting the lube in their pocket. It was an eye-opener and it was the moment that I knew we were very needed here.
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)?
We have learned to problem solve more efficiently. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and know how to utilize those to the benefit of the House and our community.
If you could go back to the days of the order’s initial founding, what changes would you make, if any?
First and foremost, I would set out to create bylaws immediately. If we had bylaws, we would have been able to address our issues under Sisters of the Yellow Rose and could have avoided a lot of heartache and drama. Secondly, I would want us to spend more time getting to know each other outside of the Sisters. It’s much easier to work through issues and problems when you have a relationship based on more than being a Sister.
What advice would you give to a newly formed Mission House or any group that is considering the possibility of starting a house?
Just like we tell new members joining the House: watch, listen, and learn. Ask questions. You have mentors through the UNPC that want to see you succeed. The process isn’t easy, but it is very rewarding.
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?
More. It’s different though.
In the beginning it was “GO! GO! GO!” and spending so many hours a week building the House and creating the documents – not to mention working on our relationship with the community and just getting out there and manifesting. In the early stages you rely on a few people to do a majority of the work. It’s very easy to burn out.
Because of what we built there are now more people who have stepped up to divide the work which makes what we do as Sisters so much more enjoyable for everyone.
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 the Dallas/Fort Worth Sisters?
I am Sister Hyleigh Suspicious (AKA The Nine Volt Nun AKA The Blinky One) beginning with declaring my aspirancy in May of 2011 and becoming a member at the start of my postulancy in July, or maybe it was August. One of those months where you melt here in Texas.
What level are you currently at in your journey?
The world trembles at every footfall of my Fully Professed feet…or something like that.
What is the reason that you chose to become a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence?
You can stop laughing now.
In all seriousness, I had needed an outlet to give back to my community but I didn’t want to just jump into any opportunity; I wanted something special. Being a native of the San Francisco bay area, I already had some familiarity with the Sisters, particularly the earlier political rabble rousing days that often landed them in the news. The outlandishness always intrigued me so the imagery stuck with me. Low and behold years later, I’ve long since left California for Texas and I run across the young mission House here in Dallas. I’ve found the outlet I needed, a bit of lunacy for a cause. It didn’t take long to confirm this was somewhere I belonged.
What have you found to be most rewarding in this stage of your journey?
That feeling when you peel the eyelashes off after a long manifestation. Kidding of course.
I’d say having the ability to make people smile and view the world a little differently by letting the quirky bits of my personality out to play. Too often we get stuck thinking like everyone else, afraid to break out on our own. We get stuck in a rut and it’s fun to remind people that there is always a different perspective and that turning something on its side and looking at it with a critical fresh eye can make all the difference.
What have you found to be the most challenging part of this process?
Accepting that you can’t fix everything and that everyone has their own path (even if you really do know best and if they’d just listen to you…)
Who has been your biggest influence along your path and explain how that person has influenced you.
A complete answer to this question could fill a book. I have taken inspiration from a number of people both within the Sisters and in secular life. If I have to pick one individual who has influenced me along my path, I would have to go with Sister Bertha Sinn. She is my template for how to find the balance between taking your path and your duty seriously without taking yourself too seriously. There are few people who can “tell” you to lighten up with just a look, but Bertha does it.
In a short paragraph, please describe your first night of manifestation.
My big Sister took me to a charity “Fruit Bowl” bowling event along with several other Sisters and postulants. I was rocking some fantastically bad splashes of color above my eyes that looked like magenta Groucho Marx brows. Most importantly we had an awesome time, brought the fun to the Fruit Bowl, and educated the public about the Sisters and our (at that time) mission House.
What are you currently most excited about?
I’m just excited about the future in general right now. We have some amazingly energetic new members in our House, some really fun events, and the holidays are always a hoot.
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.
There are any number of moments that reinforce and validate the path we have taken. There are silly things that reinforce the sense of the ridiculous, like the first time I manifested as a novice and had lights strung through my beard. Some of the other Sisters looked at me in shock and commented on how they were going to have to watch me more closely. There are more serious moments like when you can provide comfort and guidance to someone in crisis. There are always the moments where someone expresses appreciation that reminds you that your efforts are noticed. It is a series of small gestures and moments that keep the fires burning. So, I suppose unless I save the world with whiteface, glitter, and love I can’t truly say there is a single moment that defines and validates me as a Sister.
In one word, please describe The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
What is your full Guard name and when did you become fully professed?
My full Guard name is Guard Ash Pounder. I became Fully Professed May 4, 2013.
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?
Have you seen my make-up? Of course, I do it myself; no one would ever take credit for my face… LOL! My Big Sister did my make-up for my Postulant debut, but I have put on my face ever since. Sometimes it’s been good; other times, not so good, but I am learning tricks and techniques all the time.
Remember: It’s not all about the make-up; it’s about what you’re doing when you have the make-up on that count.
How many members in the Dallas/Fort Worth house are guards?
We have a total of 6 Guards in our House. 1 Postulant Guard, 2 Novice Guards, and 3 FP Guards (1 is on Sabbatical, 1 is Emeritus, and me).
How do you describe the role of a guard, in your own words?
Helper. Confidant. Protector. Herder. A Guard’s role is to ensure the Sisters are safe in their environment so they may minister to the community without fear of being attacked, or inappropriately handled. It’s often like herding cats because the Sisters seem to spread out when they are in the community ministering, so we have to round them up whenever we are ready to head off to the next venue… then the fun continues.
I’m not a traditional Guard, as I’ve read on the Guards FB page and on One Veil in past issues. I engage the community (when the opportunity is right); much like my Sisters do. Being able to educate the community about the work of SPI and our DFW House is a wonderful joy; it’s work, but the reward isn’t measured by monetary means, but rather by spiritual means. I am very blessed to be able to support my Sisters and minister along side of them. I would love to see more Guards taking a more active role in ministry.
What is the best advice you can give to a member who has decided to follow the Guard path?
Be patient. Be watchful. Don’t be shy. HAVE FUN! If you aren’t having fun, it will show; not only to your Sisters, but to the community and we are here to have fun and spread Joy.
Learn your path. It may not be obvious at first, but it will become clearer as you progress. Sometimes, it takes a while for you to realize what you have known all along. Many years ago, I had a woman at a church tell me, “You’re going to have a ministry to the homosexual community. You will go into the bars and minister to them where they are”. Little did she or I know, this “prophecy” would become manifest with me becoming a part of the DFW Sisters - SPI.
What is your personal mission as a Guard?
To be an advocate in my community. To support my Sisters with their endeavors. Never think more of myself than what I am.
What are you currently most excited about?
We are gearing up to host The Kinsey Sicks in a few months. This is going to be an exciting time for our House and the community. I’m also excited about the growth in our House. We have junior members that are making great progress. Being Big Brother to a Postulant Guard has helped me remember my path to become Fully Professed… not that I have forgotten, but it has brought it more to the forefront these past few months. I’m excited to see what the next phase of my path brings… it is ever evolving.
Besides the obvious, what do you think the difference is between Sisters and Guards?
As a Guard, we focus more on our Sisters. Our first job is to our Sister’s safety and then the community. Sisters focus on the community and spreading joy.
What is your most memorable experience as a guard?
Our Exequatur party, for one. I had the honor of meeting so many Sisters from around the country. It was a wonderful time getting to learn about their paths, Houses, and the work they do in their respective communities. I was blessed to have the pleasure of meeting the first Sister I had ever seen or heard about… Sister Roma from San Francisco. I had always hoped to meet her and that hope was realized.
Another was, Easter in the Park of this year (2013) here in Dallas. It was the first time I switched gears as a Guard and started engaging the community alongside my Sisters. I passed out Bliss kits (our condom packets) and educated people on safer-sex and about who we are as the DFW Sisters and SPI as a whole. The acceptance was a little over-whelming because I had been used to being in a support role for the Sisters. This has helped me see clearly that, as a Guard, I can support my Sisters and minister in our community.
And, of course, becoming Fully Professed. After a long path, I was surprised at our retreat, during our bonfire meeting, when I was called before my Sisters and the vows were presented to me. I humbly recited the vows of a Fully Professed member (through the tears) in the presence of my Sisters with my mother, Sister Bertha Sinn, behind me supporting my elevation. I will always cherish that moment.
Guard of the DFW Sisters - SPI