Welcome to the Convent, Jane Lynch and Jennifer Hudson!

Blog Published: April 2, 2012
By Sister Maxine

Photo: Peter Lovino, 20th Century FoxIt’s time to build a new wing on the virtual convent of the Movie Star Sisters!

Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson, Kate Upton, and Larry David have entered the congregation of the MSS. I heard of this auspicious event in an ad for the upcoming Three Stooges movie. Welcome to religious life, sisters!

I can tell from the photo that you are prayerful, happy women, which is a characteristic of sisters! Even you, Sister Larry, although you are frowning in the picture. I’m sure that the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is standing on your head in the picture, will help you through your doldrums. (BTW, once when I was talking to a friend, I mentioned a sister in my congregation, Sister Kevin, and my friend exclaimed, OMG, men can join the convent now! Hehe.)

The photo also indicates that running an orphanage is your ministry. For decades, many sisters have served in that ministry, caring for children who had no other place to call home. The sisters provided safety, love, and a sense of family. Although you, my Movie Star Sisters, are in ministry for the purpose of comedy, may you draw inspiration from the compassion and love of your foremothers in ministry.

I also find it interesting that you wear full habits. Only a relative handful of sisters in the U.S. do that today. Most wear regular clothes, and some wear a modified version of a full habit. As you know, there are many theological reasons for why sisters wear what they do. Perhaps you’ve read The Transformation of American Catholic Sisters, by Quiñonez and Turner–a great source of info.

You and I know that the habit wasn’t meant to be an ad for super-holiness or a way to sell products like NunZilla and the Boxing Nuns. But old images die hard in the popular imagination. Do not be discouraged, my sisters. Get out there and serve God and one another as best you can, despite the stereotypes. You may find it edifying to see Prof. Bren Ortega Murphy’s recent documentary, A Question of Habit: The Image of Women Religious in U.S. Popular Culture. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll leave wanting more! I give it two thumbs up. Also, we interviewed her in one of our podcasts—you can listen to it right on our website, on the In Good Faith podcast page.

In the meantime, my dear sisters, enjoy virtual convent life. You’ll be in the good company of other Movie Star Sisters–please say hi to Meryl, Susan, Whoopi, and of course Julie for us. And if you ever want to visit a real convent, get in touch with us here at A Nun’s Life! We’ll be glad to show you around.

Blessings and Peace,
Sister Maxine

P.S. Sister Jane, your character in Talladega Nights totally rocks! Plus you are terrific in Glee. And Sister Jennifer, you can be part of our choir any time! Also a confession: I don’t plan to see the Three Stooges movie, as I’ve never been a stooges fan. But I’ll keep you all in prayer for a good opening day.

Archived Comments

Mary April 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

What a clever post…=O) Thanks for the smiles and for the shout out to Whoppi. Sister Act is one of mine and my mom’s favorite movies. Have a great day and God bless!

Sister Julie April 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Love this, Sister Maxine! The convent of the MSS is fabulous! You definitely deserve to be among their ranks, Sister. And they yours!

Christine April 3, 2012 at 5:08 am

Great post! Ya know it occurred to me, they have consultants for everything else at the studios to make sure they get it right, physicist on Big Bang, scientists for Star Trek, former cops for Law And Order…..what they need is to get a consultant to get some of the nun stuff right so the stero types can be busted…..you can still have the comedy I am sure…..but maybe not….To be truthful I don’t know anything about this movie, I seem to be missing out on a lot since I gave up my TV.

KrissyLou April 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Some of them do. I have a reasonable suspicion that accuracy with regard to nuns was not the TOP priority for this particular film. But other ones do. Of Gods and Men had a former Trappist as a consultant. (He’d spent some years at the monastery in France that was the “mother ship” for the Tibhirine monastery, but before final vows discerned that his calling was elsewhere.) Helen Prejean, CSJ has a cameo in Dead Man Walking. And, here’s my favorite story. John Patrick Shanley was the playwright who wrote “Doubt.” His kindergarten teacher (or maybe it was first grade? whatever) was a very sweet, very kind, very young nun who was in her first year of temporary vows, named Sister James. Sound familiar? After the play opened, another Sister of Charity called him up saying “Hi. I’m a friend of Sister James’.” Oh no, he thought. I never asked permission. I didn’t even change her name! I’m gonna get sued!!! Fortunately, Sister James (who for the last few decades has been known as Sister Peggy) loved “Doubt” and ended up serving as technical consultant for the film, hanging out on the set, showing Meryl Streep how they would tie the bonnet tie … this is not what she expected when entering the convent but you never know where religious life will take you! I would not, however, expect that this particular film would make having a “technical consultant” a priority.

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