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The Singing Nun Is Singing A New Song

Sr. Cristina Scucchia of the Sisters of the Holy Family rocked the house and wowed the judges on the Italian edition of "The Voice" with her cover of Alicia Keys' chart-topping 2007 hit, "No One".

(Check out the reactions of the judges, especially at 1:04.)


About the Author

Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 



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Good work! Which one did she choose as her mentor?

Some other religion-related music that's been in the news lately ... ... there's an article about it at New York Magazine ...

@George D - She went with J-Ax, the rapper who was the first judge to turn around.

Yes, yes--a singing nun. Nothing new there.

What is more interesting is the fact that Raffaella Carra is wearing a shirt with a portrait of herself on it.

My gut reaction was one of revulsion. The idea of a holy nun screaming and hunching around like a teenager in the clutches of some inchoate passion was hard to wrap my head around. My second reaction was to wonder if she was really a nun or if that was just a schtick.

I don't consider myself a good Catholic or a prude, so there's a lot to unpack in that response, I suppose. But I'm not sure how the Screaming Nun performance is reflective of a holy calling or might help point the way to heaven for anybody.

I have no opinion on whether it's right for a nun to do something like this, but I would point out that the typical response seems always to be one of infantilization: the cute (asexual) nun in bad shoes singing a pop song.

I think Sr. Hummel won the the award for infantilizing nuns some decades ago. 

 The incongruence is what causes the reaction (not unlike if the person was dressed as Amish, traditional Jewish garb, Buddhist, etc.)

I do not have a problem as long as it is not done for vainglory (although hard to see how it might not be given the show) and any proceeds go to the poor and needy.


My thoughts exactly. I was not impressed at all and I am beginning to have thoughts that we may be being duped.

I can remember Sister Sourire (Sr. Luc Gabrielle), "The Singing Nun" from Belgium who had a hit song, "Dominique" in the 1960s.  I think she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show like the Beatles.

Unfortunately, she left the convent and some years later she committed suicide.

I cannot connect to the video. It says "This video is private" when I click. (I want to see the lady wearing a picture of herself).


Those judges are absolutely creepy!

Those judges are absolutely creepy!


I do not have a problem as long as it is not done for vainglory (although hard to see how it might not be given the show) and any proceeds go to the poor and needy.

Hmmm. If Sister wants to help the poor and needy by making a spectacle of herself, she should have joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an organization in which nobody's going to mistake her for a real nun. I know they've offended people on here before, but they give away a lot of money to arts, health, and children's programs. See their grant list here:


Can you not consider that it might have an evangelical purpose. Afterall, the song selection was certainly appropriate.

I know some people search the world
To find something like what we have
I know people will try, try to divide, something so real
So till the end of time I'm telling you there ain't no one

No one, no one
Can get in the way of what I'm feeling
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you


There seems to be no reason to doubt that she is a religious sister.

Fr. Z is willing to cut her some slack:

This article from the Guardian claims that the Vatican's culture minister, the once papabile, Cdl Ravassi approves  It also notes that she believes she recevied her vocation playing a nun in a play.

She is probably reaching Italian youth, which the Church has not been abte to reach.  What is rthe harm?

George D., any silly love song, I suppose, when sung by a nun can refer to Jesus a la "Sister Act":

Alan, I don't know that there's any harm. I just find the performance off-putting and undignified. And, having been a teacher for 30 years, I can tell you that most students would find that peformance endless fodder for mocking and hilarity. If that's her attempt to "reach" them, well, I'll be real surprised if it works. 

Well, If Fr. Z is willing to cut Sister some slack, who am I to judge?

Jean, I taught high school students for 14 years (until recently) and I am pretty convinced that they would make a mockery of this sister's act. Although I must say, the chorus at the high school used to sing the "Salve Regina" from "Sister Act" with great enthusiasm.

Helen, the difference is that if the students are doing it together, it's cool, right? A good teacher facilitates their enthusiasm and encourages their teamwork. A bad teacher sucks the enthusiasm out of them by showing off. Sister's emoting struck me as an example of the latter. So that's why I don't buy the idea that she's going to reach a bunch of kids with this angle, if that's her aim.

Moreover, as Catholics, don't we promote the idea of proclamation, rather than performance, through our readings and singing? I'd argue that Sister is doing more entertainment (arguably speaking) than evangelization.

The fake nuns in "Sister Act" were more dignified and inspiring.

"Helen, the difference is that if the students are doing it together, it's cool, right?"


And the students in the audience at my high school would join the chorus singing a hymn to Our Lady.

I was in a big youth meeting last year where I saw some bishops awkwardly trying to move in sync with the music, to fit in with the electric atmosphere even though it went against their natural tendency. I thought it looked painfully ridiculous. The adults who were with the youth had been advised to also join in the choreographies, yelling, etc. I flatly refused and receded to the back whenever a choreography started. But the sister in this video is obviously enjoying herself, and I don't see why she shouldn't. As long as the rest of us are not pressured to do it against our will, I don't have any objection.

I once suggested, when I was teaching teenagers a hymn about dancing with joy, that we make the attitude match the words and enter the church dancing. They were absolutely aghast at the idea. There is a sense in which they want to fit in and refuse to consider any action that would make them stand out, be it reading from the lectionary, singing when people around them are feebly mumbling, or dancing. They're inhibited by conformism from doing things that some of them would enjoy.

Friends:  this kind of performance by a young obviously joyful nun will reach youngsters long before a host of pre-millennial curmudgeons will have the slightest  chance.

God bless her and her possible ministry.

It's what Sister's joyful about that I don't get. God? Singing on TV? Alicia Keyes? Making nuns seem hip and now? 

We've got a hip young priest priest in our diocese who puts pictures of himself with his many guns on Facebook. He certainly looks joyful as he's holding his favorite firearms in his clerical collar. I guess he'll bring in the Second Amendment crowd, but I find his gun love kind of weird.

I better stop now, though, before I say, "What's the world coming to?" Ooops. I guess I just did.

I supect that if David took his harp and sang and danced before the Tabernacle there would be people who would doubt his sincerity,  I bet that he too had some moves, as they say, and whooped it up:-)  Loud!

PSALM 98      



Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,

with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.

Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;

let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

Here is an interesting reflection on "Sorella" by Georgetown graduate, Andrew Staron, now a Theology professor at Wheeling Jesuit University in WV



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