Ursuline sisters wows an audience

Half the people on Earth are writing to me about this.  Let’s file this under “Lighter Fare”?

An Ursuline sister sings on one of those “who has a talent?” TV shows in Italy.


Since half the planet is writing about this, I post.   If you have snarky blah blah about sisters not singing on TV shows, just keep it to yourself, unless you can think of something original and interesting and less bilious than I expect.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I can’t make out the lyrics. What is she singing about?

  2. Andkaras says:

    A well done love song is always appropriate to sing to the Lord in ones heart. Don’t laugh you guys , but we women will often dance around the house doing house work when alone singing expressly to the Lord when a really great loves ong comes on. One of my favorites is “The First Time I Loved Forever”,the Lisa Angelle version with the Poetry in it .Always brings a tear to my eyes.

  3. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Sister made may day. :) Who says nuns aren’t fun, huh?

  4. iPadre says:

    Nothing has changed, we have had the greatest artists, architects, scientists. This is another way of evangelizing. Let the world know, we have talent and they can join us in giving praise to the Lord for their talent.

    Go Sister!

  5. Unwilling says:

    “Zacchae’us, make haste and come down; for I must stay at your house today.”
    The judges. Professional low-lifes. Genuinely excited even honoured to be in the presence of a woman whose whole appearance is a refutation and condemnation of what they stand for. Perhaps sister a vessel of grace here.

  6. acricketchirps says:

    More and more deacons and religious in new media–the internet, the blogosphere and now this! All I can say is if priests start getting ham radio licenses we’re gonna be in real trouble! [ o{]:¬/ ]

  7. ocleirbj says:

    The fashion makeover people will be completely baffled. There’s nothing for them to do! :-)

  8. amenamen says:

    This is not exactly a first.

    Before there was the “Sister Act” movie, there was the Belgian Dominican, Sister Luc-Gabrielle, the “Singing Nun” (Soeur Sourire, Sister Smile). She sold millions of records, hit the top of the charts, and she went on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Debbie Reynolds starred in a quasi-biographical movie about her. Unfortunately, her career and her vocation took some unhappy turns, but she did capture the world’s attention with “Dominique”, a song about Saint Dominic.

  9. Francis Fan says:

    Wow, this is great! To see such a young nun too! This is what St. John Paul II meant by the new evangelization and Pope Francis means when he says the Church needs to go out on the streets. [I am not convinced of that… but okay.] This blog has a partial transcript and stills of the show. bit.ly/1dg6qVN

  10. majuscule says:

    I am so out of the loop…I think I must be a hermit. No TV–I don’t keep up with the entertainment world.

    She is the only one (besides the other sisters and the people who were standing near them) who looked normal to me! I have no idea what was going on, even with subtitles.

    But I think her sweet innocence came shining through…

  11. JSII says:

    I say Bravo!!!! Where ever that man “A Jax” might be in his faith, she shook him to his soul. She is full of joy. As Francis Cardinal George says ” joy is the infallible sign of God prescience” let us remember the joyless Catholic is the Devils favorite tool.

  12. mamajen says:

    At first I wasn’t sure what to think, but I like it. I think it’s good for girls to see that nuns aren’t only quiet, timid types. This woman has a lot of talent, confidence and personality, and could have made it out there in the world, but she chose to devote her life to God, and wear a habit no less. I think that’s very admirable, and a great example. Hopefully she’s spiritually strong enough not to get caught up in the attention (I’m sure her superiors considered this).

    I remember a while back seeing a video of some FFI friars who skateboard. That was cool, too.

  13. Del says:

    Hey, LCWR types! Imagine if you had this sort of joy and presence and confidence… and the moxie to be deep in the world and yet completely counter-cultural (in contrast to LCWR’s secret covens of tired old feminism). Just imagine, singing your heart out for the world while holding up your hard-identity Catholicism (like that veil and a habit that she’s wearing). Imagine yourselves inspiring people to lift up their hearts, to love the Lord you love.

    Sure beats riding around on a bus for the love of Obama and stumping for more abortions.

  14. JSII says:

    Well said !!!

  15. Angie Mcs says:

    Sister sang an Alicia Keyes song “No One”. Im sure the lyrics, in her case, described her feelings for Our Lord. I admit the atmosphere of these shows, the tatooed judges, etc can be distasteful, but everyone showed her respect. She has a beautiful voice and wanted to use it to express her love, with great enthusiasm, for Jesus. Did you see the blonde judge put her hands together for a brief monent, almost like a reflex? I think a lot of young people in Italy , who havent had a clue, may see that one doesnt have to be stodgy and sombre to find joy in the Church. She didnt cross any lines, in my opinion. Good for her.

  16. anna 6 says:

    She was beautiful, in every way!

  17. Filumene says:

    Well, I have no issue with a nun appearing on a show like this, if it will aide in saving souls.

    But, we have enough clergy/religious condescending to worldly levels. Trying to inspire with things less than heavenly. If she had gotten up and made them cry with a Parce Domine, it might have had more of a chance at moving souls in a deeper fashion. The wealth our church possesses in sacred, gut wrenching, heart swelling, tear jerking music would have been a lovely thing for someone who is representing the church to dig into. Nothing can move a crowd like music that ambushes the unexpecting soul. Anyway, a girl can dream. :)

  18. anna 6 says:

    “No One” by Alicia Keys
    I just want you close
    Where you can stay forever
    You can be sure
    That it will only get better

    You and me together
    Through the days and nights
    I don’t worry ’cause
    Everything’s going to be alright
    People keep talking they can say what they like
    But all I know is everything’s going to be alright

    No one, no one, no one
    Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
    No one, no one, no one
    Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you
    Can get in the way of what I feel for you

    When the rain is pouring down
    And my heart is hurting
    You will always be around
    This I know for certain

    You and me together
    Through the days and nights
    I don’t worry ’cause
    Everything’s going to be alright
    People keep talking they can say what they like
    But all I know is everything’s going to be alright

    No one…

    I know some people search the world
    To find something like what we have
    I know people will try, try to divide, something so real
    So till the end of time I’m telling you there ain’t no one

    No one…

  19. I think the judge that she chose to join his “team” initially had tears in his eyes as she sang. And towards the end of what he was saying, I think I heard him say, (pointing to himself), “the demon (and then to her) and the saint.”
    I for one, love to see religious that have joy, and who regular human beings can relate to. We can see that their joy has a quality that we lack, and we want it!

  20. Sonshine135 says:

    Completely unexpected! Imagine if this Sister became a chart-topper, and she siphoned off millions of dollars in cash to her convent that would have otherwise gone to Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. Vaya Lio Sister!

  21. Hans says:

    Think of it like going to a circus and seeing clowns, majuscule; it’s costume. As you say, against that background she came shining through.

  22. OrthodoxChick says:

    Sister Cristina appeared on the Italian version of The Voice, which airs on NBC in the U.S. Sister Cristina is age 25 and from Sicily. She is a member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family in Milan. The man who was near tears in the video, and the man whose team she chose to join, is an Italian rapper who goes by the stage name “J-Ax” (short for “Joker Alex”, which apparently is a nickname. J-Ax’s real name is Alessandro Aleotti and he is a native of Milan. What he said to Sr. Cristina according to the N.Y. Daily News is: “”If I had found you at Mass I would always be in church,” joked one of the panel, an Italian rapper known as J-Ax, who then added: “You and me are like the devil and holy water.”

    I need to brush up on my Italian and start livestreaming Rai so I can watch the show. One of J-Ax’s hits is titled “Immorale” so I think he’s in for an interesting experience with Sr. Cristina on his team!

  23. Netmilsmom says:

    She took her blessings to the belly of the beast. Lord Love her.
    One must understand how this show works. This is from Wikipedia
    “Each season begins with the “Blind Auditions”, where coaches form their team of artists whom they mentor through the remainder of the season. The coaches’ chairs are faced towards the audience during artists’ performances; those interested in an artist press their button, which turns their chair towards the artist and illuminates the bottom of the chair to read “I want you.” At the conclusion of the performance, an artist either defaults to the only coach who turned around, or selects their coach if more than one coach expresses interest.”

    When she started, you could see the audience go nuts. They could see she was a nun with THAT VOICE! Then the mentors start to turn and are shocked. If she had performed Sacred music, her chances of going farther would have been reduced and the audience wouldn’t have had the same reaction. On the Blaze the translation says that she told them, “I came here because I have a gift and I want to share that gift, “I am here to evangelize.”
    You go Sister!

  24. OrthodoxChick says:


    I dance around singing my favorite love songs to Jesus too! Glad to know I’m not the only one. LOL! My favorite to (attempt to) sing is by Trisha Yearwood, called “Down on My Knees”.


    Netmilsmom, you can just watch the U.S. version of the show to find out how it works. These initial team selection rounds usually last for a few weeks. Then once the teams are chosen, contestants from each team compete week after week with viewers voting for who stays and who gets booted out of the competition. The judges are each the coach of their own team members. Eventually, the contestants are whittled down to the final round. If Sr. Cristina makes it to the final round, I hope she gets that phone call from the Holy Father that she said she’s hoping to receive!

  25. AVL says:

    Wow. She is awesome. I love it. I think its interesting that “Jax” had tears in his eyes from emotion. I think she could easily help evangelize through her participation in the show. Now how can I watch this show on the internet?? I don’t have a TV much less RAI!

  26. Jenelle says:

    Don’t forget Sister Janet Mead for ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ – http://youtu.be/Bd4iJkNCaZ8

    She was nominated for a Grammy for this song and lost to Elvis!

  27. OrthodoxChick says:


    You can click this link, but I have it in Microsoft page translator because mi Italiano e il stinko!

    But if you have trouble bringing it up through this link, google http://www.rai.it to get to the Rai home page and click “translate this page” in the list of search results (assuming you’re running windows). Once you get to Rai, select t.v. and navigate to the program guide. The guide for the U.S. is in Eastern time because it’s set to New York. The Voice Italy airs on Wednesdays so if for some reason the t.v. guide page will only load partially for you, select “Mer” for Mercoledi (which is Italian for Wednesday). Italy uses military time/24 hour clock. Hope it works for you.


  28. Kathleen10 says:

    Girl can sing. Actually she reminds me of another Italian singer, the only one I know, Elisa. I saw Elisa sing the song “Dancing” during a program of Andrea Bocelli’s in Tuscany. It was, to me, a superb delivery of a song, a great performance, and her voice is just so beautiful.

  29. JP Borberg says:

    I’m surprised no one has suggested praying for the good sister. This could very easily go very wrong for her.

  30. Angie Mcs says:

    Sister sang an Alicia Keyes song “No One”. It could very well be that the lyrics, in her case, described her feelings for Our Lord. I admit the atmosphere of these shows, the tatooed judges, etc. are distasteful, but everyone showed her respect. She has a beautiful voice and wanted to use it to express her love, with great joy, for Jesus. I think a lot of young people in Italy , who havent had a clue, may see that one doesnt have to be stodgy and sombre to find joy in the Church. This music isn’t my taste, but she didnt cross any lines, in my opinion. Good for her.

  31. Mike Morrow says:

    Refreshing. I liked it.

  32. Angie Mcs says:

    Didnt mean to duplicate my comment. Sorry that happened. Anyway, I enjoyed a lot of the comments. I love that some of the ladies here sing joyfully while they work around the house. I will have to try that, and see how it makes the work easier!

  33. lsclerkin says:

    Folks, did you notice the eyes and faces of those judges? Especially the men? That z guy looked like he was about to cry.
    Meet people where they are. Don’t lie to them but meet them where they are. That is evangelizing.
    That us what sister is doing.
    I loved this. :)

  34. Urs says:

    This is one Sr. Christina sang June 2013:
    TV2000 music competition of Christian inspiration, the brainchild of the Youth Ministry of the Vicariate of Rome, to listen to the voice of young people through music. Sister Cristina sings “Without your voice”

  35. Urs says:

    sorry …I spelled her ame wrong in my post above.
    For those who understand Italian, which unfortunately does not include me,
    “On stage conversion and call” the testimony of Sister Cristina :

  36. Laura R. says:

    Not understanding much Italian made it easier to watch the faces of the judges, which was fascinating. All of them were obviously affected; I thought the woman with the smooth blonde hair even looked radiant. Now I want to go back and find subtitles so I can understand what they were saying. I smiled through the whole thing!

  37. “All I can say is if priests start getting ham radio licenses we’re gonna be in real trouble! [ o{]:¬/ ]”
    does this mean Fr Z has his amateur radio license or is in the process of getting one?
    Calls for a shout out to Fr Z. CQ CQ CQ de NX3FQ.Good luck with the morse code (CW)portion of the exam Father.I passed the general level UNTIL it came to the code. :(

    [I do have a Ham license, Tech. I study at random intervals for the General and I throw in some Morse once in a while, too. I must get back to it. Alas, I don’t have much equipment, though for now I have a potentially great place (high elevation) from which to get on the air. 73.]

  38. oops.TYPO.It’s -> N3XFQ

  39. BLB Oregon says:

    Italy? She sang in a country that knows it ought to belong to the Church, and probably a panel of judges who know the same thing. It would not surprise me at all if they were all baptized. The wonderful thing is that every one of them seemed genuinely delighted, and not chagrined or at all mocking, to see it was a bride of Christ whose voice had so touched them. Their mockery was aimed at themselves; their respect was aimed at her.

    According to the Catholic News Agency, this was the response from the Vatican:
    –Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, used the hashtag in a tweet Thursday, commending her for sharing her talent with the Italian people: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others (1 Peter 4:10)”.–

  40. Sulo says:

    Does anyone know why she did this? Is it not even a debatable issue: whether or not religious should be on this sort of show? Is it to show that religious can be contemporary, modern? Have there been Catholic religious entertainers before?
    I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it seems a bit unusual…

  41. James C says:

    Okay, I’m super-traditional, I never would want to see this music at Holy Mass, but I thought this was wonderful. Call it outreach, if you will. Look at the tears in the eyes of that rapper. And now that she chose him to coach her, it looks like he’ll be getting some Godly coaching himself in turn!

    And Sister Cristina did not choose a dirty song; in fact the song was from Alicia Keys, a performer whose chief appeal is her singing and songwriting, not her looks or sex appeal. Keys has responded to this video on her Twitter page: https://twitter.com/aliciakeys/status/447146275528790016

  42. jflare says:

    So much for the usual stereotype about old, stodgy, nuns in habits!
    Sr. Cristina appeared to have passion, fire, and a love for doing what she had chosen to do.
    I don’t think I’d get so worried about this idea becoming a problem. Given that Sr. Cristina professed to be a real nun and 25, quite likely, that’s precisely her state in life, which means shje’d governed in some measure by a certain Mother Superior of the convent. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the middle-aged and graying nun I spotted might be either Mother Superior, herself, or a trusted representative. I suspect they know the risks involved and will be careful to ensure that circumstances don’t get out of hand.

    ..Dang, I can’t get the translation thing working again. I’ll need to reload to see all the judge’s comments.

    “She sang in a country that knows it ought to belong to the Church, and probably a panel of judges who know the same thing. ”
    Sadly, I can’t say that I agree with that view. Italy may be headed by Rome, but I can’t think that the general populace precisely knows or cares that much about the faith. I suspect they’re much more like the populace here in America. They SHOULD know who their spiritual mother is, but they don’t and they don’t care.

  43. Unwilling says:

    et si ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis non timebo mala

    Just because Alicia Keys thinks one way does not mean that anyone who sings her songs must think the same way.

    Below is a quotation from an online article about AK’s religious views.

    Alicia Keys is a woman. That’s right, and many of her political objectives and activity focus around women’s issues. That being the case, it’s not surprising that she’s a big supporter of the Democratic Party, and therefore, a big supporter of Barack Obama. And who would blame her? The 2012 Republican platform, from the presidential primaries to state-level elections, proposed such things as mandatory vaginal ultra-sounds for women wanting an abortion and yanking reproductive health costs from insurance plans. Women started feeling attacked.

  44. Absit invidia says:

    She has an incredible voice. Very clear and resounding. However, something tells me that this isn’t why she signed up for religious life. These days in the Catholic Church, this is all the rave, from Rolling Stone magazine to this.


    My question is, will all the media attention to celebrity status of Catholics bring people tripping over themselves to sign up for RCIA? Is it indeed planting a seed? The Pew Research study says not so far; that there is little to show for any ‘Francis Effect’.


    My point is, the celebrity status being assigned to Catholics by the media hasn’t produced the fruits we might think it is. While I think her singing voice is incredible, clear, beautiful, and comparable to popular rockstars today, my only question is, to what end? Will the Church be flooded now with converts? Not so far.

    From the Pew Research study:
    But has the pope’s popularity produced a Catholic resurgence in the U.S., where 10% of adults are former Catholics? Not so far, at least in terms of the share of Americans who identify as such, or the share of those who report attending Mass weekly.

    A new analysis of pooled Pew Research surveys conducted between Francis’ election in March and the end of October this year finds that the percentage of Americans who identify as Catholics has remained the same – 22% — as it was during the corresponding seven-month period in 2012. In fact, our polls going back to 2007 show Catholic identification in the U.S. has held stable, fluctuating only between 22% and 23%.

    Though Americans may report attending church more frequently than they actually do, our surveys find that self-reported levels of Mass attendance have remained virtually unchanged since the new pope was elected. Since April of this year, 39% of U.S. Catholics report attending Mass at least weekly, similar to the 40% attendance figure last year.

  45. Mike Morrow says:

    “Calls for a shout out to Fr Z. CQ CQ CQ de NX3FQ.Good luck with the morse code (CW)portion of the exam Father.I passed the general level UNTIL it came to the code.”

    This is, of course, off topic…frankly, the context of the statement above escapes me. However, there have been no Morse code requirements (most unfortunately!) for any US amateur radio license since 23 February 2007. Also, the cited call sign N3XFQ is not currently assigned to anyone.

  46. kay says:

    At first I was appalled. Then I thought of Hildegaard who had all those chants & was probably thought of as the Voice during her time. So I simmered down and bought into her happiness along with evangelizing aspect.

    I went back with a new found sense of joy to watch the video again but at 6:50 into the video, what do I see? The sister gives the sign of the horns with her right hand. Enthusiasm is fine but paying tribute to Satan while singing is right out……..
    Moving on from this issue. Its closed in my mind.

  47. kay says:

    Well, I’m trying to move on but in the spirit of Lent, I’m trying to cut her some slack.
    Maybe the sign of the horn was really sign language for I love you?
    Or Hang Loose? if she were in Hawaii?

    Now I’m done. Just trying to protect the sister if there wasn’t any ill intent just joy.

  48. cemmer says:

    From where I stand, and based on what I know of this Ursuline sister from Sicily, I cannot but applaud her for following the exhortation of Blessed Pope John Paul II to put out “into the deep.” No matter if everyone in the mission field of entertainment has been fishing all night, to no avail. No matter if the danger seems great, and the hope of a positive outcome seems dim. When God decides to make Himself known… when He finds a net, capable and willing to be cast out into deep waters, and when the deep is populated with creatures ready to respond, there is no telling what yield the encounter will bring. He alone knows what the yield will be. And in some sense, the yield is really none of our business; it comes from Him, it belongs to Him, it is for Him. All that matters, on our part, is to be a willing net.

    More of my thoughts here.

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