July 2020: Sister Mona Key and her bad habits

New material for skirt
Watching Blue Peter for years has really paid off with Mona's arts and crafts skills. And shop lifting...

There are some Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who are loud, dramatic and utterly fabulous in the spotlight.

And then there are those who prefer to stay out of that light and spread our good word in a more quiet and laid back way.

Sister Mona is one of the latter, tucked away in the West Wing of the Manchester Convent, darning socks whilst humming ABBA tunes. Bless her.

Recently, she took up the needle again to create a new skirt. Armed with the House credit card and a twinkle in her eye, she bought vast swathes of material.

In this blog, Sister Mona talks about how she created her latest piece of art…

“I’ve been a Fully Professed sister for about 9 months, and one of the fun things about being Fully Professed, or a Black Veil after the Veil we receive for our Profession, is that we can personalise our habit.

For me, I always and outline of a modest nun. Think long skirts- nothing skimpy or unsavoury. I’m not an exhibitionist when I’m manifested. Normally, I’ve stayed quite plain, blacks and greys and whites, with a splash of colour from accessories or boots.

I’ve been wanting to incorporate the colours of the new Progress flag which is a version of the rainbow flag that adds the black and brown stripes for LBGTQIA+ POC; people of colour, and the blue, pink and white of the Trans flag in a new habit.

This would help signify that the Sisters serve all the LGBTQIA+ community, and not just the majority cis white members. 

I visited Abakhan, a fabric shop in Manchester, and hit gold . Well, a rainbow really! All the colours I needed, in polka dots! And not too expensive either. We’re not known for being expensive, us Sisters.

So the House credit card got a slight dent. It wasn’t bad, honest, and I got to work.

As I said before, my skirts are always long, so I made a pattern and got cutting. 22 panels, two for each colour. There was a lot of sewing! I even hand stitched the whole 6 metre hem!

I’m also a relative perfectionist, and if you see me in this habit, do feel free to fondle. My seams and hems, you dirty minded reader! I’m a highly virtuous nun I have you know!

After finishing the skirt, which I think looks wonderful if I do say so myself, I needed a new veil to match. 

Initially I thought I could piece together a matching veil, with the same set of colours, but after making the skirt, I realised a veil might be too difficult to piece, so I opted back to my roots of black and grey, and bought some matching grey polka dot fabric for the veil. 

After all, the skirt doesn’t need any competition. It will do all the talking.

And finally, in this time of covid19, I needed a matching facemask.

As I was planning to attend a trans rights protest in the not too distant future, I decided to make one in the trans flag colours, baby blue, pink and white. Polka dots from head to toe!

Manchester Sisters New Habit
Sister Mona in her new frock, at the Trans Rights Protest, Manchester July 2020