What it takes to be a Nun or Guard
To be a fully professed Sister of Perpetual Indulgence is not a short and simple process. By the time a Sister recites her final vows, she is ready to represent the order to her community and has earned the community’s trust and respect. Although each house of the Sisters has different criteria for progression, it, generally takes almost 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 managed to seal your eye shut). The Abbey has four phases to learning what you need to know to becoming a nun, 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 all meetings (of course we have meetings, how else would we plan our outfits?). This is intended to give an idea of the level of time, energy, and emotional commitment. If you feel that you can handle it, you would ask to become a Postulant.
A Postulant is where the fun starts. For a minimum of four months your task is to learn about the Sisters and the Abbey. You get to wear the oh-so-flattering shapeless gray attire, a short white veil, and you begin to experiment with the white face makeup. As a Postulant, you may not paint your eyes, nor your mouth. Symbolically this shows that you are learning through observation (the eyes), and are not qualified to represent the Order (no mouth). On a practical side, this give you an opportunity to practice your make up skills, since everyone looks at your eyes first, you’ll need it. When you have met the requirements, you would be evaluated, and voted to Novice.
A Novice Sister is now a step away from her final vows. For the next six months, just having learned about the Sisters, you now learn HOW to be a Sister. There is a visible change as well. Your head is now placed with a crisp head piece of the Abbey and longer white veil. You are also given a starched bib and white-trimmed scapular (the fabric that hangs from under the bib). And, not to forget, you now have a mouth, and you will need it, ‘cause you’re gonna put on a SHOW! Actually, maybe not a show, but each Novice Sister is required to produce a Novice Project. This is an event, fundraiser,whatever, 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. At the end of 6 months, it is time for the big vote, to be a Fully Professed Sister.
A Fully Professed, FP, or “black veil” is a full member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Gone now is the white veil. It has been traded for black (or any other color). You then take your final vows of community service. This promotion also means that you are qualified to represent every other member of the order and are able to support your community to the best of your abilities and talents. Once you are a Fully Professed sister, you are a Sister for life.