What does Perpetual Indulgence mean?
There’s no official definition that I’m aware of. The Toronto Order’s handbook defines Perpetual Indulgence as “A way of life, not a lifestyle.”
The founders of the San Francisco order weren’t big on rules and structure; the Order was a reaction to excessive, indeed oppressive, strictures. The Mother House not only mirrors the best aspects of Catholicism- Nuns serving the gathered faithful, and fabulous rituals- they mock hypocrisy and other failings. The founding mission statement was “to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt,” (see TheSisters.org). There are no extant Minutes of the meeting in the winter of 1979-80 (no agreement even on which month the event occurred) when the name and mission statement were formalized.
The oral history captured in ‘Queer Nuns’ by Melissa Wilcox* sums up the founders’ various memories of the naming discussion focused on word play, with an awareness of Catholic terminology and a nearby convent of Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. Perpetual Indulgence was a “double entendre referencing both self-indulgent pleasure and the Roman Catholic concept of indulgence as release from punishment for sins that have been forgiven,” (page 38)
It is up to each individual member to define the term within their vows and their personal faith.
Sister Flirt takes into account, but is not beholden to, the definition of Indulgence within the Catholic Corporation:
“a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church,” (source: www.Vatican.va).
They also look at the well-known long history of agents of the Catholic Corporation selling Indulgences- often for personal gain, but also in support of secular government programmes.
To continue their Ministry within the confines of a consumption-based capitalist society, Sister Flirt has decided to offer their Blessings to anyone who wants to feel the relief of a genuine Sister Flirtatious Romanovsky of Middlesex, TOPI, Plenary Indulgence, in the form of a Quite Official Certificate – in exchange for a US$10.00 donation.
Please let me know how you’d like your name to appear on the certificate, along with your mailing address. Certificates will be mailed via USPS First Class Mail without tracking.
* Important Notes:
# The link to Prof. Wilcox’s book is an affiliate link; I will earn a small commission should you follow it and make a purchase;
# The Toronto Order of Perpetual Indulgence no longer exists as a formal organization; Sister Flirt is not soliciting funds on behalf of a registered non-profit;
# All opinions and statements not directly credited to someone else are the personal opinion of Sister Flirt.