In the Beginning
In November of 2009, three complete strangers interested in forming a new chapter of The Sisters in Orlando, Florida were introduced to each other by the United Nuns Privy Council. One was a missionary sister moving to Orlando from The Abbey of St. Joan in Seattle, Washington (Sister Isabella Ringing). One had a calling and previous experience working with the Tampa Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Majyna Burns). The third, a native, had heard of The Sisters existing elsewhere for many years, and desperately wanted Orlando to have a chapter of its own (Ambrosia Discordia).
The three met, found others who also shared the calling, and quickly began ministering to the Orlando community. The first manifestation of the Orlando Sisters was on Saturday, November 14, 2009.
On the same weekend as The Orlando Sisters’ first manifestation, the local LGBT Community Center and the neighboring businesses were vandalized, being spray-painted with anti-gay slurs and a swastika. The Sisters immediately planned a community fundraiser for The Center called “Get Your Paint On." Members of the community came out, donated money, and took part in creating a community mural of a rainbow on the very same wall that was vandalized.
In December of 2009, the official logo of the Orlando Sisters was created by Isadora Knocking.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 18, 2010, the Orlando Sisters were honored with a unanimous vote of the nation’s houses to become an official Mission of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Change for Haiti
January 24, 2010 The Orlando Sisters helped the Parliament House with their “Change for Haiti” event, raising over $1,600 for the American Red Cross’ Haitian earthquake relief efforts. The Orlando Sisters then started their own safer sex outreach project, being welcomed by local nightclub management with open arms to come spread joy to patrons and distribute condoms and lube to anyone who needs them that evening.
As a new Mission House, the Orlando Sisters continued spreading joy throughout the community. Senior Novice Sisters wore a white veil in honor of the tradition of Missionary Sisters. The core group of The Orlando Sisters were: Sister Isabella Ringing, Ambrosia Discordia, Carrie Wood, Claire Annette, Holly Cost, Isadora Knocking, T’Keela Mockingburd, Majyna Burns and Fur B. Low. Later that year, Sister Ivanna Manda Lei from The Abbey of St. Joan in Seattle, Washington joined The Orlando Sisters.
Wet Hot Sisters Car Wash
On April 10th, 2010 The Orlando Sisters had our 2nd Official event: “Wet Hot Sisters Car Wash” by Senior Novice Majyna Burns, this event raised money for The Center and the Sisters’ working fund, while giving Orlando “The Best Hand Jobs in town”. The Happy Ending was lots of Money, Community awareness and Shiny cars.
On May 1st of 2010 the Orlando Sisters appear for the first time on the Cover of NOW Magazine.
The Sound of Music
April 30th and May 1st, 2010. Senior Novice Holly Cost did the 3rd Official Orlando Sisters Event “The Sound of Music” Interactive Movie Experience. In the spirit of sisterly love, cooperation, and fundraising, The Orlando Sisters joined with the Rich Weirdoes (Orlando’s Rocky Horror shadow-cast) and presented a Sing-Along version of the Sound of Music. The theater space was donated by the AMC Universal Cineplex for two showings at midnight. Audience members sang along, waived their Edelweisses, cheered for Maria and booed the Nazis. Some even got up and joined the Sisters on stage for a rousing rendition of “Do-Re-Mi”. Utilizing the Sisters’ networking abilities, both shows were well attended and netted almost $750, after expenses, to The Orlando Sisters’ working fund.
Christmas in July
Christmas in July was inspired by Sister Isabella Ringing’s visit to the offices of Hope and Help, a local AIDS service organization. As she took a tour of their facility in January, she noticed that the food pantry was incredibly well stocked. “Christmas Spirit” she was told. “Come back in the middle of the summer, and the shelves will be empty”. So on July 28th, the Orlando Sisters and several guest performers took to the stage of the Footlight Theatre in The Parliament House to inspire that “Spirit of Giving”. Our community responded with incredible support, donating several cases of groceries and $1225 in cash. Christmas in July was The 4th Official Orlando Sisters Event.
Senior Novice Isadora Knocking did the 5th Official Orlando Sisters event on August 12, 2010 – “Drama Glam.” The theme was “A night of self-celebration”. Attendees were met on the “red carpet” with flashing cameras and a Joan Rivers-style interview. The point of this event was to serve as a reminder to every member of the GLBTQ community that they ARE beautiful. The Orlando Sisters and special guests performed the Drama Glam show at no cost to the guests to bring about a night of enjoyment. This event raised $484 only with tips.
Splish Splash Sister Carwash
In order to raise funds for our Come Out With Pride parade entry Senior Novice Claire Annette hosted “Splish Splash Sister Carwash” at The Center, on Saturday, September 11th 2010, with 50% of the profits going toward The Center’s annual budget. Aside from holding our regular bi-weekly meetings at their facility, this is the third fundraising event we held at The Center to help benefit their annual budget and also the 6th Official Orlando Sisters Event.
The Orlando Sisters Fully Professed Sisters Formal Habits was Design by Senior Novice Holly Cost.
Spread the Love
The Orlando Sisters were invited to perform on the Pool Stage at the Parliament House as part of the Bear Weekend October 16, 2010. Our Performance was called “Spread the Love” and we invited Aysia Black to perform with us. We did a Madonna medley, “It’s Raining Men”, “Are you Ready for a Miracle” and closed with “Spread the Love”! This event was also the debut of our full Fully Professed Sisters Formal Habits! This was Sister Ivanna Manda Lei’s event, making this event the 7th Official Orlando Sisters event. The night was a great success including a 50/50 Raffle where our portion of the funds raised went to the Sisters’ working fund to assist paying for our 501(c)3 application. The Bears love the Sisters and the Sisters love (and loved on) the Bears!
Come Out with Pride
Central Florida’s signature LGBT Pride event; October 2010 was the first year that the community witnessed The Orlando Sisters who were accompanied by two of our Tampa Sisters.
Sisters Do It Doggie Style
This event was created by Senior Novice Guard Fur B. Low to help support the Hope and Help food pantry through the Holidays. It was an evening of Fun and Frolic. On November 18th 2010 the Sisters shared their Weenies with the local community. This was the 8th Official Orlando Sisters event. We had a great showing of the local LGBT community and Friends. Thank you to Club Paradise for their support.
The first time The Orlando Sisters did Christmas Caroling was on Saturday December 18, 2010 benefiting Devereux foster kids.
Nun of the Above
On March 11th, 2010 Sister Clair Annette Blowood passed through the Veil and became a Nun of the Above.
Fully Professed Status
On Monday, January 17, 2011, all of the hard work paid off as The Orlando Sisters was granted Fully Professed Status by the United Nuns Privy Council of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Along with being granted this status, two of our members, Sister Isabella Ringing and Sister Ivanna Manda Lei, were able to officially transfer their membership from the Abbey of St. Joan in Seattle to The Orlando Sisters. In addition, the following members were elevated to Fully-Professed Status: Sister Ambrosia Discordia, Sister Carrie Wood, Sister Claire Annette, Guard Fur B. Low, Sister Holly Cost, Sister Isadora Knocking, Sister Majyna Burns and Sister T’Keela Mockingburd.
Enlightenment was an evening showcasing artwork that was designed in a collaborative effort using spiritual element ideas from various Orlando Sisters. In addition to the artwork being showcased, those in attendance had an opportunity to see “The Sisters”, a documentary of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. This documentary had been seen by a select audience on the west coast, but this was its east coast debut. All proceeds of artwork and door prize tickets sold will benefit The Orlando Sisters’ working fund and Play Fair fund. This event was hosted at The Parliament House on January 24, 2011, was created by Senior Novice T’Keela Mockingburd, and was the 9th and final Official Sisters Event by the Senior Members.
January 29, 2011, Novice Sister Devina Schnitzel created the Slumber Party project, The Orlando Sisters held their first sex positive event that included safer sex education and outreach partnering with Hope and Help for Orlando’s first HIV testing at a Nightclub and Orlando Immunology Center for HIV vaccine trial outreach. The event was a huge success with an overwhelming turnout and participation from the community including our Sisters from Tampa.
February 24, 2011, Indulgence – Pick Your Poison” was Novice Sister Pearl Necklace’s Project and was the first event that occurred at Orlando’s newest club Mr. Sisters. Indulgence was a date auction style event that took local community members and not only auctioned them to the highest bidder, but their package as well! Date packages consisted of a Concert at Universal Studios Mardi Gras, cooking classes offered by the Sisters, and tickets to Scissor Sister with the Executive Director of The Center. The Sisters partnered with the University of Central Florida’s Wellness Center to present the 12 steps on how to put on a condom, the first time the university has reached out to the community in an LGBT bar.
Sinfully Delicious Exequator Celebrations
March 17th-20th, 2011 - To officially and publicly celebrate the granting of Fully Professed Status, The Orlando Sisters had a Sinfully Delicious weekend. This event was orchestrated by Sister T’Keela Mockingburd, was held at The Parliament House and was attended by The Orlando Sisters, members of the community and approximately 70 out-of-town sisters from all over the country. The weekend began with a Sister’s Meet and Greet held Thursday evening. Then a fundraising event on Friday night entitled the Seven Deadly Sins. Saturday was the day of the Exequatur Ceremony. Sunday rounded out the weekend with a Sister Brunch.
On April of 2011, The combined talents of Sister Isadora Knocking and Novice Sister Raven Nevamore created The Orlando Sisters Original Play Fair Artwork. Two versions were created, English and Spanish to accommodate our diverse community.
A Night of Perpetual Comedy
On June 2, 2011 A Night of Perpetual Comedy: The Object of the Event was to Bring together sub cultures of the gay community as well as the straight community through comedy. This was a Benefit for the Sister Claire Annette Blowood Memorial Granting Fund. It was always tradition on Thursday night of Gay Days to Visit Disney’s Pleasure Island, including the Comedy Club “Comedy Warehouse”. Pleasure Island Closed in September 2008. Novice Sister Fresnel Lenz was able to get the cast together for the first time since the closing for a Reunion Show.
The Rainbow Connection
The Rainbow Connection was a rainbow themed art show aimed at uniting community organizations and individuals through art. This event raised money for The Center and Art by Coalition Children (ABCs), a group dedicated to giving young homeless children a chance to meet up with and attend workshops with local artists.
The reception, held on June 11th, 2011 raised a good deal of money and helped some of the various artists to connect with the ABC leadership. It also drew out many who had never been to The Center and were not even aware of the gallery space. We were joined by some of our wonderful Tampa sisters and a great many friends. It was a wonderful night. This project was created by Novice Sister Raven Nevamore.
On July 14th of 2011, Condon Salvador was Novice Sister Aileeka Boote’s project. The Orlando Sisters were able to reach out to the Latin Community to promote safe sex practices. This was a true introduction to the Latin LGBTQ community and we were fondly received. This was also the introduction of the new Playfair Packet in Spanish.
Getcha Freak On
Novice Sister Ima Lush’s project, Getcha Freak On, was held in partnership with BarCodes On August 20, 2011. The theme of the event was “Whats in your Pocket” using the Hanky code. The event was held in hopes of bring together other Fetish clubs and groups in the area. There was hourly drawings for prizes with small ones on the half hour and three grand ones on each hour, with the grand prize Cyndi Lauper tickets for two. There was also a Fetish Interaction hosted by The Woodshed. All proceeds benefiting The Orlando Sisters Pride Fund.
This event was inspired by our dear Sisters in San Francisco. After watching clips from their event, Sister Majyna Burns could not help but start sewing. She wondered if the San Francisco girls would let her take their event as Far to the East and Deep into the South and reproduce it. With Guidance from Sr. Barbara Ganesh and Sr. Pat N Leather, she built a committee and forged on. On Oct 7, 2011, Sisters of Orlando, Tampa , Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco came together for Orlando’s First Sister Fashion show. The event was a great success raising money for the Hope and Help food pantry.
Disco Divas Carwash
Disco Divas Car Wash benefited The Center and The Orlando Sisters working fund. It took place on October 15, 2011 and was Novice Sister Koochie Koo’s novice project. DJ Dada was the guest DJ spinning hot music mixed with disco tracks, coffee was provided for car wash customers, and baked goodies were available as well.
Christmas Caroling II
The 2nd Christmas Caroling was Saturday December 3, 2011, All Proceeds will go to the Zebra Coalition.
February 1, 2012 Sister T’keela Mockingburd and Sister Isadora Knocking create the Sister Online Magazine “ONE VEIL” An Online Magazine – Made for Sisters by Sisters ONE VEIL showcases news and features about issues that SPI Houses are working on around the world, with regard to human rights, crime and fund raising issues. The magazine creates a focal point where these issues can converge. Written by Sisters, with occasional editorials and features from SPI leaders, including UNPC members, diplomats and others, ONE VEIL will provide a fascinating forum in which to learn about, and take action on the most compelling legal and human rights issues of our times. Some other features of ONE VEIL would be:
ONE VEIL feature a Fully Professed House each month, various interviews, hot topics, best practices, nun recipes, makeup tips, music, art, etc.
1st Granting Ceremony, Miss P Sainting, and First Sacred Space
On Sunday March 18th 2012 The Orlando Sister host their first Granting Ceremony donating $3,250. Also, that day “Miss P” became the First Saint of the Orlando Sisters ” Queen of The Trails” and The Parliament House becomes the first Sacred Space.
A Night of Perpetual Comedy II
On Thursday, May 31, 2012 The Orlando Sisters host the 2nd Night of Perpetual Comedy Featuring the talents of improv comedians formerly of the Comedy Warehouse and with other special guest from Disney’s Pleasure Island. Raised money for The Sister Claire Annette Blowood Memorial Granting Fund.
June 2012 continued as The Sisters make their first appearance at Disney's RIPTIDE GAYDAYS 2013 SPI HOUSES ORLANDO, and FT LAUDERDALE TURNING IT OUT!
The Rainbow Connection II
The Rainbow Connection II by Sister Raven Nevamore, from clowns to unicorns crying glitter all rainbow themed art show. The reception, held on June 9, 2012 This event raised money for The Orlando Youth Alliance.
The Senior Connection
The Senior Connection by Novice Sister Robin da Kradle, The speakers were Michael Morman, Center HIV Coordinator, Michael Stone from The Prime Timers and Randy Stephens from The Center. This project was held on July 14, 2012.
Christmas in July II
On July 22nd of 2012, the Orlando Sisters and several guest performers took to the stage of the Footlight Theater in Parliament House to inspire that “Spirit of Giving”. All proceeds were benefiting Miracle of Love.
Bedtime Stories Black-light Pajama Party
Bedtime Stories Blacklight Pajama Party was a birthday celebration party for Ray, the owner of the club BarCodes on Saturday, July 28th of 2012 .It was a sexy PJ wear night, with jello shots , Drag performance by Kiana Thoms, raffle tickets for prizes all nite by the Sisters; with the grand prize being 2 tickets to the Madonna concert, also a stay at the Flamingo and Parliament House resorts. Hope and Help did HIV testing in the parking lot, and the beneficiary was Paws Care. This Project was by Novice Sister Desira Fection.
Bubbles, Buns, & Babes Carwash
The Orlando Sisters raise funds for our “Claire Annette Blowwod Granting Fund” hosting “Bubbles, Buns & Babes Carwash” at The Center in Saturday, August 4th 2012 in addition to the carwash, the Sisters sold hot dogs and burgers. This was Novice Guard Omen’s Project.
Joe McGill Wings
On August of 2012 Joe McGill became the first Angel of The Orlando Sisters, “Prince of All Things Hyperlinked.” Joe’s countless hours of hard work and dedication of rebuilding our website were key in us sharing our message of joy with the community we serve and aided in our fundraising efforts for local charities in need.
The Good & Evil Carwash
Saturday. August 18th 2012 The Good & Evil Carwash Project by Novice Sister Stryka Pose benefiting Hope & Help Food Bank. Location was Parliament House. Venue included The Hope & Help’s Mobile Testing Unit and Music by Parliament House DJ Brianna Lee.
Fall In to Giving Back
Sunday September 2nd 2012 Fall in to Giving Back Project by Novice Sister Itza Cameltoe, Fall into Giving back was a volunteer/ charity fair that allowed the community to come out and learn about different charities and organizations that serve the Orlando Community. The event featured 4 charities, a food truck and a member of the community that made crafts with participants. The event was held at Orlando Brewing Company.
Come Out with Pride 2012
The Sisters celebrate Pride with our incredible community.
Christmas Caroling III
The 3rd Christmas Caroling was Saturday December 22, 2012.
AIDS Walk Orlando 2013
The Sisters Continue to raise awareness for Hope and Help of Central Florida and the Spirit of Our Community.
Sisters Second Anniversary Weekend
Sainting of Darcel Stevens
Saturday March 16th of 2013 Miss Darcel Stevens became The Orlando Sisters 2nd Saint. “Our Lady of Grey Goose and Cranberry."
Saturday March 16th 2013 Sister Sideshow Project by Novice Sister Edith Myah Pitts. This event was part of the Orlando Sisters 3-day anniversary weekend celebration to spread joy, love, happiness, educate the community about our organization and what we are here for, and to just let loose and have fun.
2nd Granting Ceremony
On Sunday March 17, 2013 The Orlando Sister Host the 2nd Granting Ceremony at the Parliament House Donating $2,600.
A Night of Perpetual Comedy III
On May 30, 2013 A Night of Perpetual Comedy III by Sister Fresnel Lenz, Featuring the talents improve comedians formally of the Comedy Warehouse and with other special guests from Disney’s Pleasure Island, This event raise money for The Sister Claire Annette Blowood Memorial Granting Fund.
Orlando Red Dress Party
On May 31th of 2013, Orlando Red Dress Party led by Sister Fresnel Lenz took place at The Double Tree By Hilton, the Orlando Sisters joined GayDays and the Talent of some of Rupaul’s Drag Race Stars, Dance Diva Katrina Mena and Dj Harmonix (aka Sister Spinna Devinyl), This event raise money for The Sister Claire Annette Blowood Memorial Granting Fund.
The Orlando SISTERS also joined forces with the Ft. Lauderdale Sisters and The Atlanta Sisters to welcome visitors to GayDays from all over the world at RIPTIDE 2013.
June 27, 2013 The Orlando Sisters join our Community and our Country as DOMA is Struck Down.
The Sister Luau
On June 22, 2013, The Sister Luau by Sister Devina Schnitzel. The Orlando Sisters in association with BarCodes raised money and supplies for The Zebra Coalition.
Pooling for Pride
On August 25, 2013 the Sisters joined The Parliament House for a Come Out with Pride Orlando fundraiser. There was raffles, pool games and splashing with Gidget Galore and Eureka Fish. ... And Miss Poolside 2013 Sister Ambrosia Discordia.
For even more Sistory and photos of events be sure to check out The Sisters Facebook Page. Special thank you to Sister Isadora Knocking for her Sistory Blog.