Sister Act

I read the National Catholic Fishwrap piece about the change of sisterly presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

They had their rite of farewelling and leadershiping for the outgoing prez.

What the hell is this?  Star Trek?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. KAS says:

    Naw, Can’t be Star Trek–in Star Trek the women are all better looking and the costumes are far more innovative!

  2. KAS: Oh KAS! KAS! You are such a meanie!

  3. doanli says:

    These are NUNS?????

  4. Arieh says:

    When is the “office frumpy” habit going to vanish?

  5. Jack Hughes says:

    Poll suggestion, which Brides of Christ would you rather have praying for you, these habitless ones or the Benedictines of Mary, I think we all know the answer to that.

  6. HighMass says:

    “What the hell is this? Star Trek”, No how about the twilight zone???

  7. doanli says:

    The Poor Clares, the order Mother Angelica belongs to, are so beautiful no matter their age. Especially compared to this.

    (Sorry for the lack of Charity in my remarks, but I want my nuns to look like nuns!)

  8. ghp95134 says:

    Fr. Z sez: …They had their rite of farewelling and leadershiping for the outgoing prez….

    I thought the Grey Lady Pantsuits Rites (change of command ceremony) would have been a Funeral Rite … don’t they replace after the “Father Z Biological Factor ™” takes effect?

    –Guy Power

  9. TJerome says:

    Man, they look really, really pathetic. They definitely won’t be featured in any remake of the Sound of Music.,

  10. It can’t be Star Trek. Star Trek is entertaining.

  11. Mike says:

    “Speaking of art, she said that any artist will tell us that making art can be an analogy to the experience of spiritual transformation. “When doing one’s spiritual work or creating a piece of art, a certain abandonment of the self is important,” she said. “Likewise, the artist offers herself to the creative impulse and worries not what is given the soul to reveal.””


    See Aquinas. Maritain. Gilson. Pieper…

    Art is the virtue of making or performing.

    Prudence is the mother of virtues, pertaining to human excellence, as distinguished from artistic excellence.

    Hence many artists are moral monsters. Though their art may be good.

  12. Mike says:

    Sorry, above quote from the Trekkie convention.

  13. jaykay says:

    Mike: “A certain abandonment of the self is necessary”… whatever about the provenance of the quote, what’s the betting that this principle is *not* the lodestar of these Sisters’ lives?

  14. ray from mn says:

    How many vocations do you suppose that photograph will inspire?

  15. lacrossecath says:

    Sr Marlene Weisenbeck (from my city) has according to people I know been called to Rome. I haven’t been able to find out any details beyond that.

  16. basilorat says:

    WOW: The Dominican Sisters of the Eucharist and The Nashville Dominicans each received double digit numbers of novices this year.

    Hmmm….maybe the rite should be a turning off of a light-switch?

    Oh wait…if you look at the website of either community of Dominican Sisters it seems that a smile is also part of the habit!

    These broads can’t even manage that…maybe it would show too much blood of benefactors of the past…

  17. chironomo says:

    I was trying to figure what the “song” was that was being projected on the jumbotron behind them. What music do you use to accompany a “farewelling”?

  18. chironomo says:

    Weisenbeck concluded by saying that women religious have been moving for 50 years through “massive renewal and re-imagining.” “Some call it deconstruction. Now we are in the time of the Resurrection Waltz of re-integration. This still point of the turning world is where the dance is. We must shore up the foundations that make hope possible, live in hope and not just wait or look for it – ‘fierce faithfulness,’ this is called.”

    I suppose their “renewal” is much like the so-called “economic recovery” we are supposedly seeing now…

    Perhaps the music being projected behind them is the Resurrection Waltz?

  19. jaykay says:

    A “farewelling” is probably what they’d call a funeral liturgy as well, when they all return to mother gaia for their final dissolulution. Shades (ahem) of the water “cremation” featured recently. Unfortunately we’ll be dealing with the toxic sludge leftover for quite some time to come.

  20. irishgirl says:

    What the HECK is that?

    Yeah-you won’t see the Benedictines of Mary, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, or the Dominicans in Nashville and Ann Arbor doing this!

    And besides, the Orders I just mentioned look a lot better! And they look a lot happier, too!

  21. Allan S. says:

    I am confused. I thought covens had to have cats…?

  22. UncleBlobb says:

    With all do respect to Vincenzo and LST3K, I bet Fr. Z. is referring to the old Star Trek episode on Vulcan where First Minister T’Pau presides over the Pan Far ritual. Is that so Fr. Z.?

  23. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I think I saw the pantsuit in the middle being worn by Estelle Constantza when they visited Del Boca Vista.

  24. Mike says:


    The whole end of that quote is about is lucid as one of those large eight balls with the fortunes on little white pyramids that would surface with a prediction for your life thingys from the 70s.

  25. jaykay says:

    “Now sisters, all in favour of the motion please raise a hand. While keeping the other firmly on your sticks/frames/whatevers.”

  26. ipadre says:

    It looks like Last Rites without a priest! The candles are awaiting the Blessed Sacrament. I better stop here, let I get in trouble. Well, if you insist! If that is the future of Religious Life, it has no future!

  27. AnAmericanMother says:

    That is just so . . . weird!

    It looks like a Wiccan ceremony, bet they stole it from them. And they look so darned unhappy.

  28. ipadre says:

    Or maybe it’s a nursing home. At first I though the chairs were walkers.

  29. UncleBlobb: You intimidate me with your Star Trek knowledge. You are clearly deeply versed in Trekology.

    I can just imagine that on some old Star Trek episode there was a planet where women ran things and lead men around with leashes or something, except that Capt. Kirk found a way to get it on with one of them.

  30. Vincenzo says:

    “I can just imagine that on some old Star Trek episode there was a planet where women ran things and lead men around with leashes or something, except that Capt. Kirk found a way to get it on with one of them.”

    I think I saw a film that had a similar storyline – Amazon Women on the Moon.

    Queen Lara: “Men are useless.”

    Commander Nelson: “Back where I come from, no woman is complete without a man.”

    [If I could be in charge of the next LCWR meeting, I would lock the doors and make them watch that over and over and over again.]

  31. TJerome says:

    some of the wittiest remarks EVAH!

  32. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Let me toss another log onto the fire. How about a 1958 movie with Zsa Zsa Gabor called “Queen of Outer Space?” There is a great girl fight at the end of their farewelling ceremony (towards the end of the clip).

    [That was truly ineffable!]

    (This reminds me to say a prayer for Zsa Zsa)

  33. TNCath says:

    Oh, Father! What an insult to Star Trek. I could hear Dr. McCoy now: “Dammit, Jim! What are these crazy nuns?”

    Even Zsa Zsa would be insulted by this insanity, Massachusetts Catholic.

    In the photo is this Sister’s way of “reminaing stubborn”? Is she playing “freeze tag” until the Church relents? Puuuuuhhhhhhhlllllleeeeeeese.

  34. Paul says:

    Is it a sin to laugh?

  35. Central Valley says:

    A change of command ceremony in the military has more dignity and reverence than this game. I was trying to read the power point in the background …are those the words to “Kum ba yah”. Clearly the only habits these old gals have are bad habits.

  36. kelleyb says:

    For a moment, I thought the chairs…..were walkers. God, help me….

  37. Charivari Rob says:

    Father Z. – “I can just imagine that on some old Star Trek episode there was a planet where women ran things and lead men around with leashes or something, except that Capt. Kirk found a way to get it on with one of them.”

    Ummm… This one, maybe?

    Spock’s Brain:

  38. Rich says:

    This reminds me of when about eight years ago I was discerning the priesthood, and my diocese had a “vocations dinner” to which I was invited. The Sister who was running the show for the night had all of us discerning a vocation stand in a row up front as we each held a big votive candle like those in the picture and then take turns dipping our candles in a monstrously deep bird bath full of holy water, in order to remind us of our togetherness in baptism or something.

  39. liberanos says:

    Father Z. – “I can just imagine that on some old Star Trek episode there was a planet where women ran things and lead men around with leashes or something, except that Capt. Kirk found a way to get it on with one of them.”

    Rob – Ummm… This one, maybe?

    Spock’s Brain:

    Aack! No, no, no. In that episode the women were dependent on the computer. They did not, of themselves, ‘run things’. For such a hackneyed and trite plot as Amazon Women and the Pansy Boys, you have to turn the the far inferior Star Trek The Next Generation, and the pale shadow of Capt. Kirk in the form of Will Riker in the episode “Angel One”:

  40. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the links, liberanos! Those who don’t have time for the entire Spock’s Brain episode can see the highly entertaining four-minute condensation at

  41. Ellen says:

    All this reminds me of how much I really, really hate pseudo-rituals. One reason I never joined a sorority was because I knew I was going to have to silly things.

  42. ckdexterhaven says:

    Caption for the photo:

    “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the Sons of Warvan, you shall be avenged.”
    It’s from Galaxy Quest, but it works!


  43. Gabrielle says:

    Now, repeat after me: “In my relational wisdom I empower you, CANDLE, to rebirth us in fellowship.” [ROFL!]

  44. dans0622 says:

    I’m reminded of the “next generation” star trek episode where the klingon Warf celebrates his manhood by going through a pit surrounded by 8 klingons who zap him with pain sticks. … There need to be some Klingon pain sticks to make this scene and ritual complete.


  45. lofstrr says:

    Naw, couldn’t be Star Trek. At least there the Vulcans will use vestments in their strange ceremonies.

  46. lofstrr says:

    Can it rightly be called ineffable if the only reason you can’t find words for it is because you just can’t find any nice words for it.

  47. Marcin says:

    Beam them out!
    All of them.

    (Oh, that would be a fantastic use case for Star Trek technology)

  48. pedantic_prof says:

    “They’re nuns, Jim, but not as we know them …”

  49. GirlCanChant says:

    Star Trek and bad nun bashing. It doesn’t get any better than this. Thanks, guys, this totally made my day.

  50. Gabriel Austin says:

    Apart the claim to represent all the religious in the U.S., how many members does this organization actually have? Why is it that I feel that they represent themselves only – perhaps 200 or 300?

    They could certainly use fashion and fitness consultants. One has but to think of the elegance and simplicity of Mother Theresa’s habits.

  51. TMA says:

    This makes me very sad. They’re supposed to be Brides of Christ, right? When did they forget this? What would their Spouse say?

  52. jaykay says:

    Dan: Klingon pain sticks, eh?

    Nah, no need. A goodly number of them undoubtedly have sticks already. And the pain? Well, that would come with the arthritis.

  53. JonM says:

    How many Star Trek quotes can fit here…

    Spock upon finding this strange sect while studying 21st century Earth…

    Dr. McCoy giving his prognosis on the Order pictured…
    It’s dead, Jim.

    And of course, Kirk, after being captured and forced to watch this ritual…
    KHAN! ! !

    Seriously though, what I find endlessly entertaining is that as liberals and non-Catholics scream about ‘smells and bells’ and ‘rituals’, after blotting out all that developed organically and with God as the focus, immediately the void is filled with absolutely horrible music, weird customs, and downright ineffable rituals as depicted.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, it is entirely natural that we as humans desire order and ritual!

  54. sejoga says:

    I can’t believe no one’s mentioned A Mighty Wind yet…

  55. JonM says:

    I want to emphasize, all joking aside, that I do feel deeply bad for these women.

    I have to wonder, given their rejection of the Church’s teachings, hierarchy, and remotely religious dress, do these nuns really have a committment to being brides of Jesus Christ? Or is being a nun rooted in using the position to advance various left-wing social justice initiatives?

    I ask this seriously because I honestly don’t know. Seventy years ago, a snapshot of such a scene would immediately cause people to assume this event was some pagan ritual, so clearly something is wrong.

    As I love to bring up…Bishops anyone?

  56. mrs.v says:

    Not sure if people in other areas will have the same experience we did, but we left Girl Scouts after witnessing something shockingly similar to this ritual. It was by the grace of God that we had attended an ordination the weekend before, and then the end of the year “flying up” ceremony for our daughter that we realized the ceremony was very much like a twisted feminist mockery of Priestly Ordination. We felt like Tobit when the cataracts were peeled away by Saint Raphael’s intercession. It’s not your grandmother’s Girl Scouts anymore.

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