The Singing Nun

Posted by Censor Librorum on Dec 18, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

Whenever I used to hear “Dominique” on the radio, I wondered what became of “the singing nun.” A drawing of her in last Sunday’s newspaper prompted some investigation via Google. “Soeur Sourire” had a sad ending.

This 30ish, Belgian, Dominican nun became an international star in 1964 with her #1 hit record “Dominique.” However, Sister Luc-Gabrielle-now billed as “Sister Smile”-felt uncomfortable with her new-found celebrity and quit performing in 1965.

Sister Luc-Gabrielle, who gave all residuals to her convent, soon left the religious life and fell in love with another woman (also an ex-nun). Twenty years later, they were found dead, apparently a double suicide caused by an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol.

What’s the song about? It eulogizes St. Dominic, founder of the Dominicans. Sr. Luc-Gabrielle’s Mother Superior, a little cranky, said the song “treated St. Dominic ‘with familiarity and a touch of impertinence.'”

In 1965, two years after her hit single, she left the convent to pursue a new life as a singer and artist (her watercolor-paintings adorned her album covers and were displayed annually by the Dominican order).

Together with her friend and lover, Anne Pescher, Jeanne Deckers embarked on a celebrity trail which openly criticized the church, supported birth-control and ultimately led to her demise into obscurity.

In the 1980s Jeanne and Annie purchased and operated a school for special-needs children. But it was ultimately ruined by financial troubles (she supposedly owed over $47,000 in back taxes from her “singing nun” days)

Destitute and depressed Jeanne and Annie committed suicide together in 1985.

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