As part of Novice Sister Gwenn N Dowtte's novice project, we offer this blessing of the color ORANGE:
There are days that we struggle.
There are times that we weep.
There are difficult roads that we must walk.
We are living in a confusing time, a time of division and separation. Communities pitted against each other, families fighting over their own differences. There is a shadow over our world right now that we are feeling deeply, and it hurts our souls.
Only in the darkness can we see the stars.
Only in times of struggle do we find our strength.
Only in our hardest days do we discover our path forward.
So we honor the color orange. We are reminded of the healing power of vitamin C in a ripe, sweet, delicious, juicy orange. It is a color of healing. Of strength.
The monarch butterfly spends its whole life building to a transformation into a beautiful orange being, spreading its beauty around the world!
So we look to the future, and send love out into the world; so we can heal the pain and bring ourselves and our communities together.
As part of Novice Sister Gwenn N. Dowtte's Novice Project, we offer this blessing of the color RED:
We are scarred by the violence that has befallen our community, that can sometimes leave us afraid.
We are scarred by the AIDS epidemic, that decimated a generation.
We are scarred by the toxic masculinity, that tries to tell us we are somehow less than.
These scars have dug a trench within our hearts.
Our hearts bleed red.
Red with passion.
Red with love.
Red with blood, for blood is life.
Battle lines have been drawn, because we are ALIVE. Because we are STRONG. We revel in our perseverance, our will to survive. We build families and surround ourselves with those we love, and those who love us.
And we do all this because we are enough. We will live freely and be happy!
It's a Guard Thing!
Written by Guard Isaac Weiner, Edited by Sister Donatella Soul
Isaac Weiner is a Guard with The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Asylum of the Tortured Heart
Usually, you will see the guards out with our Sisters, staying more-or-less in the background, empowering our nuns to take center stage in their various ministries. However, on one day of the year, the guards run the show: when they put on the annual homage to all things grilled, Guard B-Q.
Guard B-Q takes place on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend at The Loft (3610 Fifth Avenue) in Hillcrest. At this event, the guards handle everything — they plan, they cook, they take orders, they sell jello (heyyo) shots, and they do prize drawings; all to benefit The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence general fund which supports local charities.
Guard B-Q isn’t just a typical grilling event at a local bar; Guard B-Q gets the entire community involved. The guards take special care to make sure that the food they serve is high-quality, that the atmosphere stays light and fun, and that nothing is taken too seriously. As Guard Inya puts it, “It's always been one of the most special [events] to me. It's rather like a ministry of presence as an event. It's still a fundraiser, but there's less focus on the selling, and more on the being of the community."
You can tell that a lot of love goes into Guard B-Q every year from the campy naming of items like “Guard Inya Face Cheeseburger” and “The Famous Quarter-Pound Isaac Weiner,” to the Facebook posts and memes about the event filled with humor and innuendo, and the enthusiastic way that the entire Guard Corps get involved in the process. Guard B-Q is a very special event that bonds together our House and community members.
Guard B-Q is special not just to the guards, but to the nuns as well. Sister Bianca Tempt comments, “Our guards form a support network that helps us feel especially cherished >swoon< as we werq . . . our magic. Any time I can return the favor, well, I’m all in.”
Sister Bianca is not alone in her sentiment. Novice Sister Gwenn N. Dowtte agrees and adds, “I love and support our guards! The Guard Corps is usually the silent support group for the Sisters, and I always know I can count on them to watch my back when I'm out in face.”
Guard B-Q started about six years ago and, with the exception of one year when it took place over Independence Day weekend, it has been held on Memorial Day weekend Sunday, and always at The Loft (3610 Fifth Av). “St. Andrew, the owner of The Loft, has always been a great supporter of The San Diego Sisters,” says Guard Isaac Weiner. “A major reason why this event is such a blast is because of him and the awesome staff there.”
Guard B-Q started as an extension of The Sisters' Memorial Day Weekend Barbeque fundraiser that was originally produced by the House in 2013 and 2014 with Sister Raven Lunatic as Grill Mistress. The Guard Corps made the barbeque event their own in 2015 and have since expanded the offerings and sides and overall JOY of the event.
It remains a mystery as to who came up with the name Guard B-Q. Was it Guard Inya, who was Captain of the Guard at the time Guard B-Q started? Or was it Sister Ida Know? Or was it Guard Isaac Weiner? Regardless as to who named the grillfest, Guard B-Q has become an annual tradition and a cherished event.
For a look at the fun that was had at last year's Guard B-Q, visit the FaceBook album of Saint Angel con Cuernos here.
Guard B-Q is May 26, 2019, noon until five PM, at The Loft, 3610 Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. Bring cash for food and prize drawing tickets!
Text by Sister Amanda Reckinwith, Commentary by Sister Candy Cide, Edited by Sister Donatella Soul
Fully Professed Members of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
This April 26 marks the 66th birthday of Paul Salomon, Prioress for The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Asylum of the Tortured Heart. In remembrance, Members of the House have been sharing memories and stories about Paul this month.
His secular name was Paul Salomon and he was born on the 26th of April in 1953. From his college years, he lived in the Southland and made his way to Los Angeles in the early 2000s , then to San Diego in early 2005.
Sister Amanda Reckinwith on Paul and the beginnings of the Sisters in San Diego: "He was Jewish, non conformist, a leatherman and one of the most persistent individuals I had ever known. He became the Fourth Mister Sister Leather from the Los Angeles Sisters' contest and moved down here to San Diego right after he competed in the Mr. L.A. Leather 2004 contest (won by Marc Watrel). Upon moving to San Diego, SIR Nicholas of the San Diego Eagle hired Paul as a bartender. From Spring of 2005, he got to know many of the rather colorful personalities in San Diego's leather community, many of whom spent hours hanging out during the day and night at the Eagle. One by one, he talked just about all of us Original Mission Founders into coming together to start an Order of the Sisters in San Diego."
The Passion of Adam
Paul convinced the Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to travel down to San Diego for "The Passion of Adam", a send-off party for Mr. San Diego Leather 2004, Adam Latham, to compete at International Mister Leather (IML) 2005. During that event, many of the Eagle patrons and future San Diego Sisters played roles in support of the L.A. Sisters, albeit with the corraling and cajoling efforts of Paul. Significantly, Paul came up with idea of a Processional and character parts. He worked closely with Butter, who became San Diego Sister Pollyanal Buttercup. Those two minds put together a lot of what you see in the Hymnal (pdf below).
Paul also wrote the press release for The Passion of Adam:
The Last Passion of Adam
Adam Latham, Mr. San Diego Leather 2004 will make his run for the title of International Mister Leather over the Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. Eighty men from around the world come to International Mister Leather (IML) to compete for the title as the best representative and spokesperson for the Leather Community. As Mr. San Diego Leather 2004, Adam Latham will participate in four days of judging in hopes of becoming one of a select group of Leathermen to hold the Mr. IML title. As the contest approaches its 30th anniversary, Adam is a strong favorite to bring the title back to San Diego for the first time since Michael Pereya took the title in 1988.
Join the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as they invoke the Leather God Your Anus to sanctify Adam in a ceremony that is unique and rarely performed. Adam's ascension before the congregates gathered at the Temple of the Eagles (San Diego Eagle) begins at 9pm on Saturday April 23. He will receive the Ten Commandments of Leather from the God THOR as a prelude to revelation of his 14 passions. The ceremony continues as Adam is anointed by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence by taking confession and then absolving his guilt through an act of penance.
The secret ceremony concludes with Adam being affixed to the temple's shrine and where he is then reborn as the Sisters, Dancing Drag Queens, and Disciples chant secret incantations to the music of Abba. With renewal of body, mind and spirit, Adam will emerge with the blessings of the ancients to propel him to victory in Chicago. This event of a lifetime will provide proceeds to benefit the Hillcrest Youth Center and San Diego Leather Pride. To share in the glory and sanctification of Adam Latham, Mr. San Diego Leather 2004 by the Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence be at the San Diego Eagle 3040 North Park Way in San Diego's North Park at 9pm on Saturday April 23.
Paul also worked with the Eagle to coordinate the photo shoot with Adam Latham upon the cross. The final image may be viewed on the promotional poster above. The cross is still at the Eagle in North Park and in active use.
A Mission is Born
The day after The Passion of Adam, Sunday 24 April, 2005, many of the Original San Diego Mission Founders had a brunch at the Lumberjack Grill (now the North Park Diner on Ohio, just north of University) where Los Angeles Sisters spoke with and coached the group on starting a Mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence here in San Diego. This was when L.A. Sisters Candy Cide, Tragedy-Ann, and Unity Divine became Mothers to the Mission. Titania Humperpickle, Shugga Butt, Boner Doner, Erotica Psychotica, Margarita DeVil and Dirty Sanchez all contributed to the development of The Asylum of the Tortured Heart.
Paul became a Postulant with the Los Angeles House for a short time. Sister Candy Cide of L.A. said, "It was a bone of contention because he felt that his honorific 'Prioress' should automatically give him black veil status. L.A. felt that he should go through the steps like everyone else did. He didn’t like that at all."
In August of 2005, Paul decided to move to Palm Springs. There was no Palm Springs Sister House yet. In commemoration of Paul's contribution to the inception of the San Diego Sisters, he was named Prioress of the San Diego House. The idea came from the Carmelite Order and was not meant in the way of leader as "first, among equals", but in the way of the first catalyst that created the Mission in San Diego. Paul was allowed manifestation rights as a "white veil", or Mission Novice, and he manifested at Palm Springs Pride in 2005.
Ultimately, Paul earned his black veil with the Palm Springs House and Iadora Cox became a Fully Professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.
Paul moved back to Charleston, West Virginia. Illness descended upon him in the fall of 2013. He joined The Nuns of the Above on or about December 2, 2013. Paul is survived by his son Rick Salomon and a continually growing superfluity of San Diego Sisters.
Vivvi The Force and Sister Donatella Soul
I am Vivvi the Force, a drag performer in San Diego. I used to live in San Francisco. I've done drag in Taipei, Tokyo, México, and Bangkok. I run an all-inclusive local drag show for misfits and weirdos where we celebrate queer expression and the diversity in our community.
I’d always wanted to have my own show to create a world where people can go to connect and to see some alternative performance art.
I was lucky to be given the opportunity by Glitz Glam to start an event at Urban Mo's in Hillcrest. Now we hold our monthly Whips n Furs show every first Monday at Mo's Bar and Grill. Mo's is home to Whips n Furs and where we began.
I became acquainted with the Sisters when I met Sister Raven Lunatic at The San Diego Eagle a few years ago. I loved their message and involvement in the community. I attended one of their monthly General Meetings to pitch my idea for an all-Sisters show that would bring the community together to share in our creativity and love. Quickly, the HannukKrampus show was birthed!
We wanted a fun title for the event that would include most of the winter holidays in one. Seeing both the light and the dark in the world around us lets us understand the world as a whole. So adding Krampus was a fun way to represent both the good and naughty side of the holidays.
I want the San Diego community to know more about the Sisters, what they do, and how to be involved.
I am thrilled the Sisters agreed to do a show with Whips n Furs!
Sister Donatella Soul
It's that most wonderful time of the year when generally put into practice are the elements of light. Kindness, compassion, love, sharing, family, giving, all come into hyper-play during our winter celebrations. But, so do elements of darkness. Reminders that there are views in the world that those not on board with goodness and seasonal cheer all year long will be punished.
Long before Charles Dickens put quill to parchment to inscribe the ghost story "A Christmas Carol" and become "The Man Who Invented Christmas", peoples the world over associated winter celebrations with pagan spectres and monsters that doled out punishments for the wicked.
In this spirit, The Sisters offer a handy "Schedule of Fear" with Survival Tips. Mark your calendars and prepare yourselves for weeks of holiday terror!
The first item that should go on your calendar is the all-Sisters holigag show at Urban Mo's in Hillcrest, HANNUKKRAMPUS! Doors open at 8PM, show starts about 9PM.
Feast of St. Nick: December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. The night before, Nick travels the world filling kid's shoes with presents. Isn't that a sweet gesture? No wonder he is the patron saint of children. His sidekicks are another story.
Nick travels with a rowdy crew who mete out punishments for bad little boys and girls.
Housecker is a dark figure with long hair and a scraggly beard who leaves a broom made of sticks dipped in vinegar so the parents may exact their own punishment on the children. Survival Tip: With Housecker, you just have to choose nice over naughty. It may help to leave carrots in your shoes for Nick's horse, Amerigo.
Knecht Ruprecht may accompany Nick or may come on Christmas Eve. He walks with a limp and is black with soot from breaking and entering through chimneys. Sometimes he and Nick call children to the front door to perform a dance or sing a song. If they perform badly, Ruprecht beats them with a bag of ashes. Survival Tip: Pay attention in dance class.
Schmutzli wears a black robe and rubs his face with lard and soot. He whips bad children then stuffs them in Santa's empty goodie sack and kidnaps them, possibly to be turned into a cookie. Survival Tip: If you can't behave, try to appear unappetizing.
Le Pere Fouettard (Father Whipper) was a butcher who found three lost children, slit their throats, carved them up and placed the meat in a salting barrel. St. Nick popped into the butcher shop and Le Pere showed him the meat. Nick, as the children's saint, was outraged. He resurrected the children and sent them back to their families. Then he made Le Pere his servant to follow him on his rounds for eternity. Bad children get whipped by Le Pere Fouettard. Survival Tip: Don't be alone with the butcher.
Krampus is a half-goat, half-demon covered in fur, with hooves and horns, and chains that he rattles to scare children. Misbehaved children get beaten with birch branches, thrown in his sack, and carted away to hell to be drowned or eaten. Survival Tip: Offer Krampus some schnapps and hope he already filled up on the neighbor's children.
Two weeks before Christmas: Belsnickel is filthy and dresses in rags and animal skins. He visits households to dole out cakes and nuts from his pockets (um, gross) to those who've been good and whippings to those who've been bad. Survival Tip: Basically, just be out getting drunk. If you are not home, he can't find you. This is known as "Belsnicking".
Christmas Eve Day: The Jolakotturinn, or Yule Cat, visits before Christmas Eve dusk to be sure you have received new clothes to wear on Christmas Eve and into the new year. If you have not received new clothes, the giant cat will eat you. Survival Tip: Obviously, wear new duds Christmas Eve Day. Donate your old ones to charity.
Christmas Eve: The Nisse, or Tomten, look similar to Gnomes, which is cute until one recalls they live among the dead in burial mounds. They are helpful throughout the year, protecting and caretaking the households of those who do not anger them. They have a quick temper and are known to bite and drive people insane with trickery. They may drag children from their bed for interrogations. If the children offer a wrong answer, the Tomten whip them with sticks and lick up the blood from the wounds. Survival Tip: Stay on their good side by leaving out gifts of food on Christmas Eve and don't be an ignorant child.
Christmas Night: Berchta, the Goddess of Winter, is a half-demon, half-witch with a goose foot. She takes night flights starting Christmas Night through January 6th, visiting homes to reward the hard-working and generous with freshly-baked cookies and to punish the idle, greedy, and curious by slashing open their stomachs, ripping out their intestines, and replacing their innards with straw, rocks, and garbage, then sewing them back up. Sometimes Stragelle, her demon sidekick, gets to do the punishing. He prefers, much like Krampus, to rob bad children and tear them to pieces in the air. Survival Tip: After Christmas Dinner, leave out a cauldron of fat for Berchta as she rubs it on her body to enable flight. Leave out leftovers for Stragelle as a bribe for Berchta's blessings of health and wealth in the new year.
New Year's Eve: Expect a visit from MARI LWYD, the Welsh skeleton-horse attended by human zombies, for they make a point of visiting EVERY HOUSE to remind people of the ephemeral quality of life. Survival Tip: You may keep the mare at bay by engaging in a rhyming battle of wits.
Blog by Sister Develyn Angels and Edited by Sister Donatella Soul
Ever have a Facebook Memory pop up in your feed and you think, "Wow, time sure does fly by"? I had that response recently when I scrolled down to find posts from the past four years of The Purple Party for Youth Rally.
Five years ago I was a Novice Sister with The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Novice Sisters are required to complete a Novice Project before they request consideration for elevation to a Fully Professed Sister. When I reached the point in my journey to create a project, I knew I wanted to raise awareness and funds related to something personal and something that became the cornerstone of my Ministry as a Sister.
After three years of living with a misdiagnosis for ulcerative colitis, in 2008 I was diagnosed correctly with Crohn's Disease. I was informed by my doctor that I had suffered from this most of my life based on the severity of the damage to my colon.
Life progressed on and off Crohn's medications, I got divorced, and I developed a massive abscess on my colon which led to a parade of hospital visits. In February 2013, in a final act of desperate advocacy for myself, I put my foot down and demanded to have surgery.
"Stomie" was born on March 9, 2013. Stomie is my ileostomy, the opening in my belly through which the lowest part of my small intestine was brought to form a stoma. My colon had nearly been completely removed. I have under 3" left. To this I attach ileostomy pouches, or, as I call them, "poop bags". Yep, I wear a poop bag.
Post surgery, I felt good. I felt awesome! I had been sick for so long that I had forgotten how it was to feel good. Even better, I was alive! I was relieved my family was visiting me in a hospital room instead of a funeral home. The colon abscess removed by the surgeon was the size of his fist. I would have been days away from death. So began my renewed life and my new normal.
Just two months later, in May of 2013, I began my journey with The San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Asylum of the Tortured Heart. I had a new lease on life and I wanted to bring awareness to conditions like mine that affect health and well-being. So, when the time came to create a Novice Project, I knew I wanted to do something related to Crohn's and digestive disorders.
I ended up speaking with one of the Saints of the House, Saint Shuttabug, Sarah Biggart, so named for her photographs of the San Diego Sisters. Sarah is an osteomate. She wears a pouch and is a manager at Ostomy Secrets.
Sarah and I discussed organizations I might raise money for. She suggested I visit the Youth Rally, Inc. Website.
After reviewing the site I knew I had found my beneficiary. For more than 30 years Youth Rally has sent kids ages 9 through 17 who are living with bladder and digestive issues to a 5-night camp that encourages self-confidence and independent living. They learn self-esteem, comradeship, and how to care for themselves medically. Most importantly, they get to be kids and are surrounded by others who understand what they are going through.
The camp staff, including the counselors and nurses, have the same conditions as the campers and, in some cases, formerly attended the camp.
The hardest part was that first step of sending an email saying, "Hi, I am a Queer Nun and I would like to host a fundraiser for you!"
Happily, the CEO for Youth Rally, Inc., Paul Hastings, is openly gay. He not only knew about The Sisters, he welcomed us into the Youth Rally family! Paul also has Crohn's Disease and had ileostomy surgery in 1979.
That first Purple Party was held at the now defunct Numbers Nightclub and was packed with supporters. They donated money, voted for their favorite decorated bags in the ostomy pouch fashion show, tipped the performers (who donated the tips to the fundraising efforts), bid on auction items, and, best of all, had fun doing it!
They enjoyed the mashed-potato-with-all-the-fixins bar and the decorations, which were created with toilet paper rolls.
I gained a great deal of knowledge, friendships, and working relationships from that first Purple Party, but what touched me the most were the personal stories I heard. Some attendees wore a bag or were dealing with digestive issues, or they knew someone, or they had a relative. It was the first time I shared my complete story. That night, we all realized the truth of the Youth Rally catchphrase, "You are not alone".
There is more to the Purple Party story, but that first year sparked an annual event. The Sisters welcome your attendance at the 2018 Purple Party on Sunday, October 14 at The Rail in Hillcrest. Doors open at 5 PM and the stage entertainment starts at 7 PM. Admission is 10 dollars which is donated to Youth Rally. Your emcee is Brother Love Joy Vey.