As one of the last active Sisters of the Toronto Order of Perpetual Indulgence, which went inactive in 1986, I have never referred to, or thought of, myself as a former or ex- nun. While we ‘final five’ agreed that we would not wear our habits in public, nun of us, to my knowledge, felt we were renouncing our vows or our commitment to the holy guiding principles of Perpetual Indulgence. Certainly, Sister Sleazia continued her ministry to the faithful after the House went inactive until sadly she joined the Nuns Above.
Every Sister is special but I will always hold a place in my heart for Sleazia. From the first time we met, I knew that this quiet nun was anything but angelic. He had arranged his life so that she could do occasional temp jobs only as long as necessary; his calling was too important to be put on hold for very long. The song sheet for the Sisters’ 1983 Solstice Party has one piece entitled “Sleazia Is Coming In Town” which hints at the effort she put forth. The comment attributed to her in the House’s “Cum Clean” pamphlet (adapted, with permission, from Play Fair, a similar publication of the Mother House) may have been apocryphal but certainly reflects her spirit and sense of humour: “I used to have a Herpes Duplex back on the East Coast, but following the death of the late Earl I sold it and entered the Order“. Sleazia often explained her collection of “priceless” jewelry as the remnants of her life with “the late Earl”.
I don’t think she ever thanked ‘the Earl’ for the pink high-top Converse, which she kept clean by only wearing them indoors (something about not matching her knee pads, if I recall correctly). The Toronto House produced The Sisters’ Songbook which was launched at a Sunday Tea in September of 1984. While many songs may have been inspired by her, “You’re A Grand Old Fag” was specifically “dedicated with love to Sister Sleazia“. And while she might well have been the oldest one of us, she was certainly not last nor least at serving the community. Although she lived in a somewhat unclear open relationship with a long-term partner, she was always open to the possibility of finding himself a ‘sugar grand-daddy’.
The one aspect of Sisterhood that Sleazia did find a chore was memorizing one particular chant. It is referred to as The Goddess Chant in the House’s Sisters Handbook and consisted of the names of seven goddesses, ending with Inana. I don’t think I ever heard Sleazia say any of the first six names, but she always was full-voiced when chanting “Inana”.
I will always picture Sleazia with a twinkle in her eye that so often accompanied his stories; my favourite being the one that ended with him saying “I’m not a size queen but I can be impressed!” And I have no doubt that Sister Sleazia continues to share his stories with Isis, Istarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali and Inana.