Sunday, July 17, 2011

My First 3 Months as a Novice Sister

by Novice Sister Petunia Encarnata

Having my feminine side blessed, pulled out, stirred, and turn around was not in my plans when I decided to join the Vancouver Mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. That, however, is exactly what happened and here is the story.

In April of 2011, the gates of the Novitiate process opened wide when I took my vows as Novice Sister Petunia Encarnata – a South American flower (Petunia) in human flesh that is, from the Latin “incarnated”—surrounded by 3 of the founding members, including, of course, N.Sr. Merry Q. Contrary, the Reverend Mother of the Abbey of the Long Cedar Canoe; N.Sr. Ethica Slüt, the Lady of Counsel and Mistress of Novices; and my gracious supporting N.Sr. Hyde N Sikh Full-of-Bling, the Mistress of Alms and Charity. My husband Don’s supporting presence was not to be missed; how could he not be present at such a wonderful event? Prior to the month of April, I had been elevated from Aspirant to Postulant, which took about 3 months – I became an Aspirant in September of 2010 and a Postulant in November of the same year. The entire process, from Aspirant to Novice, took about 6 months.

The Sisters and the Paladin of the Abbey have taken me under their wings and provided me a great deal of training and support by teaching me how to “manifest” (a Sister’s idiom, which means putting on white face and makeup and going out in public to spread love and joy), learning about the Sisterhood and “Sistory” of the Order, and getting in touch with little Petunia, the girl that is the epitome of every gay man and who is attracted to many of the things some girls like, such as burly, hairy-chested men, and their penises, among other things. As a gay man, I never allowed myself to dress in woman’s clothing, wear makeup and act like a lady in public. But now, as a middle age individual who happens to be gay with an enormous sense of freedom, I am ready to embrace this new female gender who is kind, loving, and most of all, wants to spread universal joy, love, and get rid of stigmatic guilt. Yet, I am happy living my life as a bearded boy who loves masculine, burly hairy men without the trappings and their penises.

But having my inner self merged, reconciled, and integrated into a new non-gender specific being by accepting and embracing Petunia is just part of my internal mystical journey. Much more has happened because, in addition to my Sisterhood - which I see as an extension of my commitment to Christian Faith - I am in the process of becoming an Anglican lay minister. I have been able to integrate and celebrate my Faith tradition and create my lay ministry within the Anglican Church in Canada around a new vision of reality that for me has emerged, where LGBT individuals can now be who they are, practice and celebrate their God-given homosexual “lifestyle,” feel welcomed and included in the Christian tradition that I serve, and give back to their community as a queer nun if so they wish. As a lay minister, I am facilitating a Zen Meditation Group in Saint Paul’s Anglican Church on Tuesday evenings. Who would have thought that in my lifetime I was going to be able to integrate my Christian Faith and my call to serve humanity as a Queer Nun?

My goals as a Novice include serving the elderly and people living with HIV/AIDS. Recently, N.Sr. Hyde, my supporting Sister, Robbie, one of our new Aspirants to the Abbey, and I helped sell raffle tickets at an event for the Dr. Peter Centre’s Summer Sizzle Soirée held on Saturday June 25th of 2011. We spread joy and laughter all around, had the great honour of meeting Ms. Shirley Young, Dr. Peter’s mother, Trevor Loke, Development & Sustainability Officer for Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, Maxine Davis, the Executive Director of the same organization, as well as a wealth of other officers, volunteers, and donors. At 12:30 a.m. I came back home tired, feet hurting from walking around for 4 hours and dancing in go-go boots, but with a heart filled with joy thanks to a wonderful night packed with fun and adventure.

N.Sr. Hyde says that I will get used to wearing heels and not feeling foot pain, which remains to be seen and experienced. In the meantime, a little foot pain and great joy are part of this amazing journey into myself and out to the LGBT community and beyond. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are here to stay in Vancouver, spreading the universal message of human and divine joy to all of Canada. We were present Surrey Pride and will attend New Westminster pride celebrations this year and will be launching our own Pride Kick-off Party on July 24th at the J-Lounge. Will you consider joining and celebrating with the Sisters?

1 comment:

  1. Bright blessings on this wonderful journey. Stay true to the nun-spirit emerging within you and to the joy your mission is called to share so abundantly!