by Sister Ophelia Onassis -
Special to the SGN
On July 14, 1996 (Bastille Day), the founding members of the Sisters of Perpetual IndulgenceTM, The Abbey of St. Joan, baptized themselves in Lake Washington, dedicating themselves to the promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt. On July 12, 2014, the Sisters of Perpetual IndulgenceTM, The Abbey of St. Joan, gathered at The Cuff Complex with community members to celebrate our 18th anniversary!
It is our custom to give away money raised throughout the year to community service organizations that are in need of funding through our granting process. To qualify for a grant, organizations must be a registered 501(c)(3) charity, and have organizational values that align with the Sisters' mission. This year, we were able to put $16,000 back out into the community - funding (in whole or in part) programs for Seattle Area Support Groups and Community Center (SASGCC) ($500), Camp Ten Trees ($1,000), Peoples Harm Reduction Alliance ($1,500), Lifelong POZ Youth Speakers Bureau ($1,500), QCard ($1,500), BABES Network ($1,500), Jake Talks ($500), POZ Seattle ($500), Hepatitis Education Project ($1,500), Gay City ($1,500), Navos/POW ($1,500), Nova Action Faction ($1,500), and Rainbow Center of Tacoma ($1,500). These organizations, and many others, are dedicated to helping to make the world a better place by working to provide services and assistance to those members of the community who are marginalized. We work an entire year (coat checks, events, and donation can rattling) to collect donations to our granting fund, and would not be able to provide this much needed assistance without the support of the community. We are deeply grateful for every contribution to this very important project.
We have a long-standing tradition of recognizing and celebrating community members whose work very closely aligns with our mission. These often selfless people are Saints. We take great joy in identifying these very special people and surprising them with our Sainthood ritual. This year, we recognized the hard work and dedication of Shiloh Murphy. Shiloh is the Director of Peoples Harm Reduction Alliance. Shiloh was created Saint Shiloh, Of and For The People, Reducer of Harm. We are very happy to usher Shiloh into the company of our Saints.
One of our more moving traditions is taking our vows in public. In this ritual, Sisters who have gone through our process (see www.theabbey.org for details) and have become Fully Professed during the previous year are asked to kneel before their community and take their vows in public. Other Fully Professed Sisters often take the opportunity to reaffirm their vows at this time. While we 'work hard to not take ourselves too seriously that we forget to have fun,' we take our vows very seriously. As a group, we are composed of people from all walks of life, of all sexualities, of many representations of spirituality. Our vow and a deep sense of commitment to our communities bind us together in ways not generally anticipated when someone first joins our Order. Welcome, new Sisters! I'm so very happy to be walking alongside you!
Our anniversary weekend ended on Sunday, July 13 with Saints Brunch at R Place. Saints Brunch is an opportunity for Sisters to continue to celebrate our amazing Saints - many of whom personally inspire the work of some Sisters.
Happy Anniversary, Sisters!
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