What It Takes to be a Sister
The Orlando Sisters gladly welcome people interested in becoming a Sister or a Guard regardless of race, religion, physical ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression!
However, to be a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence is not a short and straightforward process. When a Sister recites their final vows, they are ready to represent the order to their community and have earned the community's trust and respect. Although each house of the Sisters has different criteria for progression, the journey generally takes over a year of blood, sweat, and tears. Blood from the fabulous shoes that don't quite fit, sweat from the darling black wool Chanel number you thought was a good idea for "parade wear," and tears from the eyelash glue that sealed your eyes shut.
The Orlando Sisters have four phases to learning what you need to know to become a Sister or a Guard: Aspirant, Postulant, Novice, and Fully Professed.
An Aspirant is someone who is just beginning on their path. As an Aspirant, you are expected to attend three Sister events and our monthly business meetings (of course, we have meetings, how else would we plan our outfits?). An Aspirant will also begin the time of watching the behind-the-scenes work that goes into being a Sister or Guard. This is intended to give you an idea of the time, energy, and emotional commitment that being a Guard or Sister will take. Then, if you feel that you can handle it, seem like a good fit, and have met the requirements, you would be evaluated and put up for a vote to move to Postulant.
A Postulant is where the fun starts. For a minimum of three months, your task is to learn about the Sisters and the Abbey. During this time, you will choose a Big Sister or Big Brother to guide your journey and start "manifesting" with a painted face and wearing a Postulant's Habit (white clothing with a grey and white scapular and headpiece). As a Postulant, you may paint your eyes, but you keep your lips painted white, without any color. Symbolically this shows that you are learning through observation (the painted eyes). You can talk about your OWN personal journey but are not yet qualified to represent the Order (no color on your mouth). On the practical side, this allows you to practice your makeup skills; since everyone looks at your eyes first, you'll need it. When you have met the requirements, you would be evaluated and put up for a vote to move to Novice. After that, you can decide if you would like to continue as a Novice Guard or a Novice Sister.
A Novice Sister is now a level away from their lifelong vows. For at least the next six months, just having learned about the Order, you now learn how to be a Sister. There is a visible change as well. Gone is the Postulant's headpiece and outfit, and in its place is a French Hood and white Veil that we like to call our "Wish Dish." Also, a Novice Sister begins to make their own clothing decisions with the help of their Big Sister. And, not to forget, you now have a mouth, and you will need it because you're going to put on a SHOW! Maybe not a show, but each Novice Sister must produce a Novice Project. The Noice Project is an event, fundraiser, outreach, or educational project that teaches you how to utilize the resources of the Order so that when you become a Fully Professed Sister, you will be a one-nun fund/awareness/hell-raising machine. When you have met the requirements, you would be evaluated and put up for a vote; then, it is time for you to take your lifelong vows to be a Fully Professed Sister.
A Novice Guard is now a level away from their lifelong vows. For at least the next six months, having learned about the Order, a Novice Guard begins their journey in learning how to assist and support the Order. Like a Sister, a Guard can be of any sexual orientation or gender identity. Still, instead of an outward community-facing ministry, they provide the internal assistance it takes to do the work we all do possible. They can often be seen working to physically set up/tear down an event, protect personal items during a performance, provide security, and other aspects of what the Order may need. Although the help a Novice Guard provides maybe a little more stealth than a Novice Sister, their importance and voting rights are equal to a Sister. Instead of the Veil and "Wish Dish," they wear a white hat. Like a Novice Sister, they are required to produce a Novice Project. Still, instead of focusing on the outward community, it would have a focus on fulfilling or developing a solution to an internal need of the Order. When you have met the requirements, you would be evaluated and put up for a vote; then, it is time for you to take your lifelong vows to be a Fully Professed Guard.
A Fully Professed Member or FPM is a full member of the International Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. You will pledge your lifelong vow of service to the community, the Order, and each other. This progression also means that you are qualified to represent every other member of the Order and can support your community to the best of your abilities and talents. Once you are a Fully Professed Member, you are a member for life.
If all of this seems like a good fit for you, and you think you have what it takes to become a member, please complete the application:
If all of this is a bit overwhelming and you want to help but are not sure the membership path is right for you, we also have our volunteer group known as "Gertrude's Groupies." Gertrude's Groupies are community member volunteers that want to help the Orlando Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and volunteer their time and efforts. They are not members of our house like the positions above but are part of our valuable support network that wants to lend their efforts to help our work in the community. If you would like to be a Gertrude's Groupie, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com