SISTORY OF SPI
This Sistory was shamelessly cribbed from the Mother House, the original order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco, with chunks from Sister Phyllis Stein the Fragrant (original Mistress of Archives) & Sister Kitty Catalyst, O.C.P (former Mistress of Archives) & one of our Founders, Sister Vicious PHB.
A long, long time ago, in 1976, far away in the land of Oz (Iowa), a convent of Roman Catholic nuns lent some retired habits to The Sugar Plum Fairies performing their version of The Sound of Music. One year later, one of our Founders Sister Vicious Power Hungry Bitch (Ken Bunch) moved to San Francisco (1977) and brought those habits to the streets of the Castro district…
On Easter Weekend, during the time of the “Castro Clone,” being extremely bored with the conformist atmosphere three men went out into the streets to challenge the world: Ken Bunch (Sister Vicious PHB), Fred Brungard (Sister Missionary Position) and Baruch Golden. They went in full, traditional habits through the streets of our city and down to the nude beach. One even carried a machine gun (for protection). They were met with shock and amazement, but captured everyone’s interest. Their next appearance was at a softball game where their pompon routine all but stole the show. In the fall of 1979, Sister Hysterectoria (Edmund Garron) and Reverend Mother (Bill Graham) went to the first International Faerie gathering and encountered even more men with the calling. Our 4 Founders, Sister Vicious PHB, Reverend Mother, Missionary Position and Hysterectoria-Agnes convened their friends, chose our name (The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence) and composed our mission statement: to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.
The new year brought the new Order with Sister Hysterectoria designing the first habits after a Flemish 14th century ladies-in-waiting and French cloister’s wimple, and through a city grant, commissioned the first set of habits and “Ear Brassieres.” Sister Secuba, a calligrapher, created the logo and the original banner under which the Sisters made their first public appearance.
During the Three Mile Island Protest in March, The Sisters performed their “Rosary in Time of Nuclear Peril,” including the ever-popular pompon routine. This small group hit big, making every paper and gossip channel immediately. By August they were front page in gay newspapers, chasing hate-mongering Christians out of the Castro and the Polk neighborhoods.
In October the city saw its first fundraiser with Sisterly flair: a bingo/disco benefit for gay Cuban refugees at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). The famous columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle (Herb Caen) gave us our first mainstream press coverage announcing the bingo. So many people turned out for the event that a second seating had to be thrown together to accommodate all of the bingo players. After four cards had been played, everything was moved to one side and the disco ball began to spin. This marked one of the largest fundraisers by a small community organization: over $1,500 was raised in one evening. Mother Inferior in Sydney, Australia founded the second SPI Order in the world.
The Sisters continued to raise tempers, eyebrows, and funds throughout the next year, stacking up multiple letters to the editor in protest of them. But their popularity increased. They could be found at many events, fairs and fundraisers spreading joy and cheer, postcards and t-shirts. In September we produced the first ever fundraiser for the Gay Olympics (now called The gay Games), a baseball game between the Sisters (playing in our habits) and the Gay Men’s chorus. We got them drunk in the 8th inning and scored 40 runs beating them! On Christmas Eve, 1981, the Sisters were cited for “peddling without a license” on the corner of 18th and Castro. “Sisters don’t peddle,” insisted Sister Missionary Position, “we receive donations and give tokens of joy. It’s just coincidental that it happens at the same time.” The Sisters produced the world’s first fundraiser benefit for an AIDS organization. It was a dog show on Castro Street with the recording artist Sylvester serving as a judge. The third SPI Order in the world in Toronto, Canada is founded.
The city’s health scene had hit crisis levels during this year. STD’s were spreading at a pandemic rate and the “gay cancer” was contaminating everyone with fear and prejudice. Registered nurses Sister Florence Nightmare and Sister Roz Erection joined with a team of Sisters and medical professionals to create Play Fair!, the first safer sex pamphlet anywhere in the world to use plain sex-positive language, practical advice, and humor. It was so well received that it went through a second printing within just a few months. It was paid for, in part by sex party benefits and the sale of ashes from the burned down Barracks Bath House.
June brought the Second Annual Dog Show in the Castro. The Sisters were joined year by Jeanne Dornacker, Shirley MacLaine and Sister Boo Boom as MC’s. Pushing the political envelope, Sister Boom Boom ran under the ‘Nun of the Above’ ticket in the race for Supervisor of San Francisco. Her iconic campaign poster featured the dome of City Hall with Boom Boom on a witches broom flying above and her purple exhaust spelling out “Surrender Diane”, meaning the Mayor Dianne Feinstein. Amidst all of the brouhaha about whether or not she should be allowed to run, she campaigned hard, spoke eloquently, and won over 23,000 votes. Frightfully close to winning. The City subsequently passed “The Boom Boom” law forcing future candidates to use their birth names.
Our hugely popular Sister basketball fundraiser “Score” at Kezar Pavilion brought 5000 screaming queens in their high school letter jackets and catholic school girl skirts to a cathartic celebration of high school spirit! A meeting with Mayor Dianne Feinstein had her screaming “When I see the Sisters I just see red!” So we planned our Red Party on May Day (International Communist holiday) at the White Russian hall which brought controversy. The woman managing the center was the daughter of the head general to the czar in the 1917 bolshevik revolution. We learned that “white” and “red” are like oil and vinegar!
The first AIDS Candlelight vigil in 1983 was orchestrated by the Sisters, led by the banner “Fighting for our Lives,” which was painted on her apartment floor by Sister Vicious PHB. One of the many speakers to the weeping and angry crowd was Sister Florence Nightmare. She was not only a health care professional, but advocate for PWAs and was herself HIV positive. Her article “Well and Good,” in the Sentinel, combined observations of a man living with AIDS and practical insights of a medical professional. She and her “friend” (don’t we mean lover?) appeared on the August 8 cover of Newsweek which earned her the moniker “AIDS poster boy”. The article, about gays and AIDS, was the first time that the topics were handled in a fairly unbiased manner and that the entire nation was able to come face to face with AIDS.
For their efforts the previous year, Sisters were honored with five Cable Car awards including outstanding theme event, outstanding athletic event, and “Most Outrageous” parade float: a fully functional 50 foot missile with nuns in military habits launching our “War On VD” campaign. Not bad for such a young group.
CBS national TV came to town to do their hour-long special “GayPower-Gay Politics” featuring Sister Boom Boom.
Marching in the Pride parade that year inside the shaft of a 40 foot penis covered in a huge condom, Sister Mysteria was the last nun at the end of the penis with two huge flesh covered beach balls connected to unbilical chords bouncing the entire length of the parade behind her! It won the Sisters another “Most Outrageous” award and stunned silence from spectators! The Toronto, Canada Order of SPI folded under community criticism that they were “Ruining it For Everyone.”
The Sisters went all out to greet the Pope during his visit in 1987. We convened a press conference on the plaza in front of St. Mary’s Cathedral with hundreds of members of the international press present. Sister Vicious PHB marched up to the front of the cathedral posting demands on their huge doors with Lee Press On Nails. Martin Luther would have been proud! Live TV cameras carried our full-on exorcism of the Pope in Union Square and cut away just as the Pope was landing in a helicopter at the Golden Gate Bridge. JACKPOT! That, and a few other actions and antics, landed us the prestigious honor of being placed on the Papal List of Heretics. (Way to go gals!) The Seattle Sisters are Founder by Mother Theresa Nervina, being the fourth Order of SPI in the world.
The fifth exposition basketball event thrown by the Sisters, “Rally ‘Round the Quilt,” a fundraiser for the NAMES Quilt Project distributed over $5,400. The event was played in 1988 between the gay community’s women’s and men’s teams at Kezar Pavilion. Many interesting things happened which are not fit to print.
For their 10th anniversary, the Sisters threw a huge gala event, Sistericus, in Club Townsend which never had a queer event till then, and which subsequently became the queer dance institutions “Pleasuredome” and “Universe”. We invited all of the Sisters from around the States to join in the celebration, including the Seattle Sisters, helping to raise much-needed funds for Project Open Hand and AIDS Emergency Fund. Later that year, during the insanity that this city calls Halloween, Sister Vicious PHB called her fellow nuns and took to the streets of the Castro with donation buckets. All of the money collected was donated to The Mayor’s Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. They also realized that this was an untapped market with lots of energy and potential, and began working on planning the event for the following year. This is the first time anyone had collected donations at the entrances to street fairs and festivals. Sisters traveled to Seattle to present our Exequatur officially recognizingMother Theresa Nervina‘s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Artist Thomasina DeMaio approached the Sisters stating that she wanted to create portraits of the nuns in paint and clay. Months and months of hard work culminated in a large art exhibit performance art piece in June, “Angels In Whiteface,” that is still being talked about today. The event treated the hundreds present to performances by Doris Fish, Ambisextrous, Sister Vice N Virtue’s trapeze act, Sister Psychedelia‘s rise from the dead, Sistah Boom (a lesbian percussion band) and Pope Dementia‘s Altered boys, flexing their muscles wearing only thongs and smiles.
That October was the first of the Sister’s four-year charge of Halloween in the Castro. The Sisters brought safety and focus to the spontaneous party that happened in the tiny neighborhood. They single-handedly produced a show that featured the city’s most fabulous performance artists, Mother Theresa Nervina singing a live version of a heart rendering song, a dance stage, and a forum to show off outrageous and elaborate costumery. The small, voluntary donation requested allowed the Sisters to raise thousands of dollars each year to give out as community grants the following spring.
Sisters Vicious PHB, Psychedelia and Sister X traveled to Vancouver, Canada to minister to the athletes at the Gay Games.
This year saw a large outreach to the international communities. Sisters X, Vicious PHB, and Psychedelia went forth into Europe to spread the Word and form Missions. Our visit to Paris resulted in the formation of the first Order by Mother Rita. The Australians sent a missionary to London in August forming the first British Order. Our three Sisters travelled on to Berlin and were present in habit at the Brandenburg Gate the day Germany unified.
By June, the Sisters brought the large show/performance art piece, “Dimanche D’Indulge,” to Paris to celebrate the investiture of the Paris Order where we delivered our Exequitor officially recognizing them. This was also where “The Condom Saviour Consecration and Vow” first premiered and has been performed many times since.
Back home in San Francisco, Sister Roma! Roma! introduced her STOP the Violence Campaign in reaction to the rise of violence in the streets, especially hate crimes. A window placard system was devised to mark safe homes to run to in the instance of an attack or the threat of an attack. The Order distributed window signs and whistles in the various neighborhoods and districts of the city as well as on college campuses.
Governor Wilson vetoed the statewide Gay rights bill. The resulting riot at the State Building in San Francisco featured a photo of the back of 2 nuns ramming a barricade thru the glass doors of the building. (Who were they? We’ll never tell!)
The first German Order in Heidelberg/ Mannheim, Germany was found by Erzmutter Johanna.
Sister Sam came out in 92 and wanted YOU! Sisters Bufadora and Flatulina Grande lead the forming of the Queer Army and enlisted the energy of angry people for the Holy Wars against homophobia in the church and the government. Draft cards were distributed and there was no excuse not to enlist. One of the first actions of our pink-camouflaged army was to distribute condoms on USF campus on February 14. The campus had already denied permission for the distribution on the Catholic College campus. Police escorted Sisters off of the campus and held the student collaborators on charges.
The next mobilization was against Rev. Coal and his gospel of hate at the Capitol Christian Center (CCC) in Sacramento, the largest fundamentalist church in the State. CCC was sending members in to The Castro to harass our community on our own turf. Sister Flatulina Grande, having escaped Sacramento just over a year earlier took great offense and organized a visit to CCC on Easter Sunday with the Queer Army in tow in addition to Sacramento activists and Queer Nation. Together we numbered 100 plus demonstrators chanting outside of the CCC’s Easter Morning services, finally drawing security and parishioners from the inner sanctum. While most of the congregation hid behind Bibles and spewed hate, one choir member, a teenager, came and joined the demonstration, outing himself in the process. Sister Lost and Found, as he was later named, came to the Sisters for help after both his church and his family rejected him. Tragically the State of Nebraska forced him back to a foster home despite his wishes to stay with his current gay fathers. He took his own life rather than live in foster care.
The Sisters start one of the sexiest alliances by working at the Folsom Street Fair and Up Your Alley Fair helping the organizers by acting as door divas for two of California’s largest events and probably the worlds largest fetish events. Folsom Street Fair and Up Your Alley Fair attracts ten of thousands of participants and raises thousands for charity in the process.
Sisters attended the Creating Change Conference in Los Angeles demanding the inclusion of Transgender issues and speakers in the March On Washington and Stonewall 25th Anniversary in New York. This is the first time anyone had demanded Transgender inclusion. The 1993 March On Washington officially discouraged drag so we flew to DC in drag and marched in drag with pride. In contrast to the organizers, the crowds couldn’t get enough!
While demonstrating in Washington, DC, orchestrating huge events in our own city, celebrating life and spreading joy, the Sisters also struggled against the pandemic. In rapid succession, the Sisters lost five of their own, which left them in anger and despair. It empowered the order and refocused their fight, so that their 15th anniversary brought new energy and drive to the group. The Children’s Halloween was started as a safe space for the kids and continues to this day as a treat for hundreds of kids for gay and not gay parents and their children.
Their Halloween celebration was the largest yet, and pushed the limits of control and safety. Out of their dedication to their community, the Sisters joined a coalition of neighborhood groups and Community United Against Violence to come up with a plan to move the celebration out of the Castro. While the coalition itself moved the Halloween fete to the Civic Center area the Sisters insisted on having a proper celebration,HallowQueen, a wonderful costume-mandatory dance/cabaret which raised over $6,000 for a handful of charities.
Sisters attend Stonewall 25th Anniversary in New York City and help lead the Drag March from Alphabet City to the Stonewall Inn. Favorite chants: “2-5-6-7 we’re tough dykes and we don’t have to rhyme” and “the Pope wears a dress and so will I “.
For the first time, the Sisters bless the San Francisco Mime Troupe opening-day free performance in Dolores Park on the July 4th (US Independence Day) weekend. Showing a broader range of community service, the Sisters put on W.H.O.O.T.Y. (We’ll Hold Our Own Thank-You) benefiting the Women and Cancer Walk. In support of alternatives to western-medicine the Sisters assisted in putting together La KLUBSTiTUTAalá Oasis that raised the first legal $1,000 for SF Proposition 215 legalizing medical marijuana. The event featured the Virgin Queen contest and marked the first of many collaborations with Diet Popstitute and KLUBSTiTUTE.
On a darker note, the Sister Sock Show makes its debut as an alternative Sister presence at events that aren’t community benefits yet still have performance value and possibilities. The Sister Sock Show quickly gains a reputation for projectiles, forced audience participation and poorly executed narrative. Sister Phyllis Stein the Fragrant braves the bicyclist world and starts the tradition of Sisters in the California AIDS Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles raising thousands of dollars in the process. The Sisters of Perpetual indulgence, Los Angeles mission is successfully launched under Sister GladAss of the Joyous Reserectum’s guidance.
Now, in a time where there are more than twenty convents worldwide, the Sisters create and have brought to Washington, DC four quilt panels, 24′ by 24′, commemorating over thirty “Nuns of the Above” as part of the Names Project Quilt. We know that there are more Sisters whose names have escaped us as much as their lives escaped them, but their energy and love live on through us.
Sisters attended, for the first time, the annual Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert and served Oh! Communion with medicinal brownies and tequila to parched and needy pagans. They also performed and passed out safer sex materials and set up a prayer shrine. The Sisters become a founding sponsor and outreach assisters for the CCP, Community Center Project in a multi-year project.
Renewing a commitment to queer youth, The Sisters start several supportive activities for LYRIC‘s (Young Loud and Proud conferences) they put on aprons and act as lunch ladies bring smiles (and VERY LOUD DISCO MUSIC) to help start their day of activist organizing. They also helped put onPROMSTiTUTE, an alternative queer youth prom where the youth were encouraged to wear very short skirts and drink to excess. The Sisters also help at several AIDS art auctions as dotters, runners, wrappers and display models (please note: no artwork was dropped).
August brought the tragic death of Princess Diana and the Sisters were called by the community to add focus to the grief that not only paralyzed London but was felt around the world. The Queen of Hearts Memorial went from the Castro to the British Embassy and, again, several thousand for the Princess’ charities was raised. Several Sisters (most notably Sister Dana Van Iquity with the program) had served on the SF Pride Parade Committee, but this year the Sisters actually won “Most Outrageous Float” when Sister Kitty Catalyst was inspired to use the excess left-over trimmings from all the other floats to decorate the Sisters vehicle.
In other tragi-comic news Sister Hellen Wheels, Sister Dana and Sister Kitty performed for one of the many Imperial Court functions “The Out of Town Court Show” and won, but didn’t even remember they had attended and performed at the event (ahem) until reminded several weeks later. The House Of The Sheila Na Gigged (Cardiff, Wales) formed.
For the first time the Sisters officially organize the annual Pink Saturday event in the Castro, the Saturday night hotspot before the San Francisco Pride Parade, ensuring monies raised stay in the community. Each year has seen more money going to local beneficiaries. Also that year Sisters organize Wig Out, a wig drive collecting from San Francisco drag queens hundreds of new and reconditioned wigs for women under-going chemotherapy.
“We are not amusing” becomes internal code language for the James Hormel scandal as President Clinton moves to make history and appoint him as the first openly gay United States Ambassador (to a very Catholic Luxembourg). The Sisters pass by in the annual SF Pride Parade when he apparently chuckled at our antics. Spam on James! Make-a-Wish Make-a-Dish, a queer youth holidaze dance was held at the Eureka Valley Recreation center and featured Mr. Hanky the Christmas Poo much to the delight of all the queer youth present.
The Sisters celebrate 20 years of good-spirited activism with an Easter Birthday party fundraiser in the Castro, while looking forward to another twenty years of community service. The local Archdiocese condemns the order thus granting us an estimated $1 million in free publicity. Play Fair!is re-issued and updated after 20 years to be all gender inclusive, encourage folks to use safer sex techniques, get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and lose the guilt.
Later that summer the Sisters visit Reno, Nevada, for the first Reno Pride Parade and, again, are condemned. The Governor of Nevada refuses to issue a proclamation in support of Transgenders, Bisexuals, Lesbians and Gays so the Sisters write their own. The celebration receives front-page press as well as coverage from every television news channel in the city. Together with Survive AIDS, the Sisters take the lead in organizing the annual AIDS Candlelight Vigil making a big splash on SF City Hall steps. People with AIDS are honored with remembrances, AIDS Hero Awards and performances from the cast from RENT, Dear Diva, Dirty Little Showtunes as well as drummers and U.S. Representative Nanci Pelosi.
The Sisters hostess several benefits at the Power Exchange sex club and Castlebar S&M space raising sex positive spirits and lots of needed money for local charities. Our 20th Anniversary was heralded with an International Conclave and related archival exhibit “A Consistory Conspiracy: Changing the Face of Activism (1979-1999)” which featured mementos and ephemera from the past twenty years complete with several fundraising receptions including, of course, Butt Plug Bingo!
Reportedly the first fashion show in a sex club, Hot Cross Buns is held on Good Friday at the Power Exchange with local fetish designers including Dr. Carol Queen (from Good Vibrations) with a Dildo Fashion show which raises over $3,000 for local charities. Another fine San Francisco tradition, The Great Tricycle Race is reborn with much support from the good folks at Harvey Milk Institute. Contestants race through the Castro on regulation tricycles and ended with the annual Hunky Jesus and Easter Bonnet contests.
Sister Betty Does, LNM, weaves through a maze of red tape to present Resurrection Bingo to the Castro at Metropolitan Community Church. The monthly event raises over $7,000 for local charities. The Sisters find themselves in the middle of an AIDS denialist mythology drama when members are targeted around barebacking issues. The Sisters rise to the occasion by granting money to AIDS Activist Against Violence and Lies (AAAVL) who battle the denialists on many fronts. AAAVL helps to prevent violence against PWA’s from occurring and works to protect public meetings from being threatened by the denialists.
The Sisters burst with Pride and take to the streets at San Francisco Pride as the Brides of Christ (of course) in support of Californians for Same-Sex Marriage. Later, at the SF Pride Festival, the Sisters perform an exorcism of radio-show hostess “Dr.” Laura to free her of her hate-filled speech against gays and lesbians. The Sisters close the year with their annual Solstice benefit which raised funds for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society and the Sisters Archives. At the event $10,000 from their Community Grants Fund is presented to local non-profits and several more worthy individuals including Saint Harry Faerie Godfather (Harry Hay) and Saint N’John (his partner) are Sainted.
Sisters launch World Domination Tour and are surprised that staunch conservatives like being punished for naughty behavior. The Sisters are elected Grand Marshals for the San Francisco Pride Celebration. The Russian River Missionary Order is founded by the San Francisco Order andSister Mary Margaret of the House of Explosion.
Distraught over the overwhelming loss of life during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, on all Saints Day the Sisters lead several hundred community members on a candle light vigil tour of the Castro, recalling the queer lives and contributions lost.
Celebrating the 2003 PRIDE theme, the Sisters paraded the slogan “We gotta give ’em Pope” by displaying our own Pope Dementia in a cage where he could just barely reach out to fondle our young acolyte. Demonstrating a true knowledge of current events, the Sisters’ float also included a masked figure looking a lot like a Texas political cowboy who was straddling a cock-rocket, showing the public that we had, indeed, finally found those nasty “Weapons of Ass Destruction”. Some of the Sisters thought the giant cock rocket was kind of crude, but felt better about displaying it when pictures of the float appeared on many conservative websites and newspapers throughout the country.
The Sisters celebrate a record year financially, bringing in over $100,000, with over 80% of that money going back out into the community.
Under the rallying cry of “25 Years to Life — Ruining it for Everyone, ” the Sisters kick off 25 weeks of Indulgence from Easter Sunday to Folsom Fair Sunday with their annual anniversary celebration in Dolores Park followed by fun evening activities in the Castro. The Order manages to complete all 25 events, and decides never to do that again!
Under the watchful eye of the Mistress of Missions Sister Hellen Wheels, the Order continued its growth with the founding of Missions in San Diego, Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Eureka. In April, Sister Penny Lane became the first Sister to be crowned as Emperor of San Francisco’s Imperial Court ushering in the Court of Swinging Monkeys and Roaring Tigers. Revival Bingo, which raised thousands of dollars for local organizations, ends its successful run at the Metropolitan Community Church in the Castro. The Sisters have the extreme pleasure and joy of Sainting Margaret Cho on stage at the Pride Celebration.
Sisters began the year by joining the Bay Area Coalition on Reproductive Rights to greet anti-choice protesters bussed into San Francisco for an annual anti-choice march. Easter was our best year yet for donations after the Sisters were forced to move their annual birthday party to the Eureka Valley Recreation Center due to inclement weather. In June, Sisters Uma Gawd and Mary Juanita of a Higher Power, along with Fawn D’amen of the Abbey of the Big Red Wood in Eureka, bring the Sisters back to the AIDS Lifecycle.
While these Sisters were on the road, well over a hundred Sisters from around the world gathered in Los Angeles on 6/6/06 for the Sisters’ International Conclave. The gathered Sisters kicked off the Conclave with a ritual on Hollywood Boulevard and ended the event by walking inLA Pride. Mixed in with all of the public appearances was a great deal of Sisterly sharing and educational meetings.
The United Nuns Privy Council UNPC is founded by Sister Hellen Wheels as a inter-order committee for establishing new Houses in the US and Canada. All exequatured Houses are invited to participate.
Team Sister Power raised the third highest total for any team in July’s AIDS Walk in Golden Gate Park. On July 19, Sister maeJoy B withU led Sisters in a public ritual at 18th and Castro which grows into a weekly action called Darshan, which means “sight” in Sanskrit. Sisters initiated a variety of weekly Darshans throughout the rest of the year using the rituals to expiate the stigmatic guilt brought by fundamental Christians and promulgating universal joy for all.
Revival Bingo finds a new home at Most Holy Redeemer in September and donated its first two months’ proceeds to the church. The Tour De Castro, a tricycle race and pub crawl organized by then Novice Sister Mary Juanita of a Higher Power, raised $8520 to help 14 AIDS Lifecycle riders who were short of the minimum donation to ride and is recognized as the Best New Charity Event of the year by the InterClub Fund of San Francisco. In November, the San Francisco Archdiocese bowed to right-wing pressure and kicked the Sisters out of Most Holy Redeemer Church sending Revival Bingo on the hunt for a new home and depriving the Church of much-needed funds and attendees.
Sisters Uma Gawd and Fawn D’amen cycle once again, raising more than $6,000 to fight AIDS, while Sisters Mary Juanita of a Higher Power and Mona Little More of Portland, OR, serve as roadies on the AIDS Lifecycle raising spirits. This year’s Pink Saturday saw a heightened safety effort by the Sisters who were recognized by local police for their efforts at throwing a fun and safe Pink Saturday.
Rainbow World Fund and the Krewe de Kinque, raising over $1,500 to help with relief efforts for Peru.
Sisters maeJoy B withU and Delta Goodhand attend mass at Most Holy Redeemer and receive communion from the Archbishop setting off a shit storm of rabid, right-wing, Catholic, national controversy.
The 30th Anniversary art show Under A Full Moon goes on display for a full month at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The curator of the show will become Sister Baba Ganesha. The show starts with the Sisters throwing a Gala opening on Easter Saturday at the YBCA including a grand entrance of nearly 100 Sisters descending the stairs in their formals. A second part of Under A Full Moon is a showing of historical documents and pictures displayed in the Hormel Center of the Main Public Library curated by Sister Mary Ralph, the Proper Nun.
Stop The Violence was started again after a 20-year break. The Sisters react to an increase in gay bashings in the hood and responded by calling a community action to take back the streets and begin passing out safety packets with whistles to keep people safe.
Sisters Roma Roma and Flatulina Grande were invited to be Style Police at the Vienna Life Ball, the largest annual AIDS fundraiser in Europe. They judged the many hundreds of people that entered the event with Style Tickets that required the bearers to wear elaborate costumes in the theme of the event. Fines were levied if the participant was not up to snuff.
In March the Order is hit with the tragic news that Postulant Irma Grassion passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. The Sisters vote to posthumously elevate him to Novice as part of memorial and fundraiser for his family.
The famous Eagle Tavern is closed down. The Eagle was the first establishment designated an official Sanctuary by the Sisters for their frequent hosting of our beer busts. Sister Tuna Noodle Cocktail helps start “The Eagle In Exile” fundraisers at the El Rio.
For the second year in a row, the SF Parade Committee invites the Sisters to be their official judges of the parade contestants. 15 Sisters show up for the 12 chairs. I guess it beats walking the route in high heels!
The first biologically female nun, Sister Mystie of the Broken Hymen passes away in July, shortly after attending Pink Saturday. Mystie had been a Sister in San Francisco for nearly 30 years and has touched many Sisters’ lives. Sister Kitty hosts the Cuir Noir (black leather) memorial at the Edge bar.
The AIDS Memorial Grove bolder dedicated to the Sisters who have passed on was unveiled. The inscription reads, “IN MEMORY OF EVERY NUN OF THE ABOVE – THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE.”
The year 2012 was one of few years that Easter got completely rained out, without a backup venue in place. Sisters still had fun at Café Flore, even if there was no stage show. A sub-abbey to the SF House was stared in the East Bay by Sister Atta. Project Nunway was held in a translucent tent in Golden Gate Park on World AIDS Day. Again, it rained! Sister Roma’s 25th Anniv Roast raised $5000 for Tenderloin Tessie’s and The Sisters Stop The Violence. Sister Mary Ralph’s Furbomb also raises nearly $5000 for charity. $30,000 was given out during our Saturnalia Grant cycle.
Sisters organized a South of Market event at several bars for Halloween for those that didn’t want to attend Halloween in the Castro. Sisters served as Style Police at the largest AIDS fundraiser in Europe, Life Ball, in Vienna, Austria.
Sister Jane Do’H competed and won the 2014 SF Bare Chest Calendar, becoming MR APRIL. In April, the Sisters are invited to bless AT&T Park; Prayer for Sweeping Success. Easter is rained out again, but the celebration and show is moved to the DNA Lounge.
Former Sister Boom Boom passes away. Among many other things, Boom Boom will be remembered for having nearly won an SF Supervisor seat back in the 80s as a male nun. Sisters start working with Monet Allard on the Stilettos for Shanghai documentary.
June 26, the US Supreme Court strikes down DOMA and Prop 8, clearing the way for same sex marriages in all 50 States and substantially increasing attendance at Pink Saturday 2 days later. In December, the House approves the foundation of PIMP; the Perpetual Indulgence Ministry Program to perform legal weddings and other non-denominational spiritual ceremonies. The PIMP ministry is set up with no specific religious affiliation, instead catering to the spiritual needs of the individual participants.
Sisters served as Style Police at the largest AIDS fundraiser in Europe, Life Ball, in Vienna, Austria.
Sisters bring one of our rainbow flags sewn by Gilbert Baker to Shanghai as a gift to their Pride Celebration; participating Sisters are exhausted by all the photo requests. Sisters have their first Easter in Golden Gate Park for their 35th Anniversary; it’s miraculously sunny and warm!
The SF House starts discussions with the Canadian Houses to license the SPI Trademark; an expansion of the United Nuns Privy Council that has overseen the formation of US Houses. In coordination with other SPI Houses throughout the US, the Sister hold their first annual Salvation Sisters bell ringing, raising money for GLIDE Services. People toss in twenties when they realize we are not affiliated with certain bell-ringing religious organizations. Sisters served as Style Police at the largest AIDS fundraiser in Europe, Life Ball, in Vienna, Austria.
Sisters reluctantly give up the Pink Saturday permit, since the event had grown larger than what our all-volunteer organization could handle safely. The Sisters continue to work closely with the City and Police to help ensure there is a safe turn over.
Sisters hold charity bingos at Jack London Square in Oakland; entertaining guests that might not be able to make it into SF. The Sisters give out $40,000 in our grant cycles despite the loss of Pink Saturday.
Several Sisters join the My Name Is# protest at Facebook to bring attention to LGBT and Native Americans who need to identify by non-traditional names.
Sisters help Margaret Chow’s #BeRobin events to aid the homeless.
Sisters served as Style Police at the largest AIDS fundraiser in Europe, Life Ball, in Vienna, Austria.
Sisters donated to replenish the rose quartz for the Pink Triangle Memorial Park. The Pink Triangle Park is a quite space in the Castro where people can go to contemplate the LGBT people who have died at the hands of ignorance and bigotry. More than 10,000 people participate in the Sisters’ Easter Anniversary in Golden Gate Park. Sisters Roma & Vish served as Grand Marshals in the Prague, Czech Republic, LGBT Pride parade. They produced and presented a Power Point presentation on the 37 years of Sister community service, presented the documentary film "The Sisters" , and chaired a panel on AIDS/HIV prevention. The House sponsors a contained and safe fundraiser for Pride Saturday in a closed area South of Market; “Pink Saturday Unchained” in in conjunction with the Eagle Tavern.
Sisters march with the PULSE Memorial Contingent in the Pride Parade in remembrance of those who fell in the Orlando massacre. Several Nuns participate in “Save the Stud” event to keep open the landmark LGBT bar that has hosted so many of the City’s queer shows including Mother.
Sadly, Sister Atta Van Haladol passes through the veil and joins the nuns of the above. She will truly be missed!