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(Yawn) I’ve just finished staying up all night reading Sr. Serena Scatterpin’s autobiography (with candid Polaroids, frank diary entries, diagrammed venial and carnal sins of friends, prelates, and pets, plus friendly high-fashion tips on living).
It’s titled “Running With Sisters” (Recovering Catholics, Ltd., 2006). Hot off the press it’s been banned in Boston and Colorado Springs but sells like a church-a-fire in Ann Arbor, Ferndale, Royal Oak, citadels of sister’s rainbow fan clubs.
Chapters that kept me zombie-eyed are: “From Roller Derby to Convent”; “Why I’m an RC Who Goes for Gusto”; “Boys Night Out with Three Priests and a Flashlight”; “Where’s Cardinal ‘Fran’ Spellman Now That We Need Her?” And: “Would You Name Your Schnauzer Ratzinger?
The 350-page “true confessional” is subtitled,”We All Have Our Cross to Bear, So, For Heaven’s Sake, Grin and Bear It with Style.” The 15-page Index, a veritable name-dropper’s compendium, is worth the $9.95 purchase price. (See entries: Cher at Lourdes; Halstead in Venice — The Bridge of Sighs; Stewart, Martha — The Renovated Baths of Caracalla; Gibson, Mel — A Quickly Recovering Catholic at The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem.)
For those who like celebrity snaps with bedside devotional reading, “Running With Sisters” has close-ups to please ecumenical tastes: Scatterpin Graces Graceland; Sister’s Blesses Barbra’s Fourth Last Farewell Concert; Scatterpin with Madonna Number Two; On Cloud 9 with George Michael, and (my favorite): Sister Reads Ann Coulter’s Beads, with Karl Rove in penitent’s habit.
“I got the idea of writing a nonfictional/fictional autobiography from Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood,” said Sr. Scatterpin recently on NPR’s Knee-Deep the Press. “I know it’s not the sort of book most mother superiors, nuns, or novitiates would even bother to read for R&R. Priests? Well, that’s another kettle of deboned fish. (St. Augustine’s Confessions it’s not, but close enough.)
“As a Renegade Sister of Mary, I take my creative inspiration where I can grab on to it. Speaking candidly: the long, long road of recovery often begins with ‘other voices, other rooms’. (If you listen, ear pressed discretely to the bedroom wall.)
“Anyhow, Tru had impeccable taste. (Especially when discoing with model Twiggy at Studio 54.) Next to purity of soul, lost virginity fashionably reclaimed, redesigned (and marketed), plus 90 days retroactive indulgence for Lent, what more could one ask? Well, maybe same sex marriage — at a side altar — with lots of flowers — in designer white — with a bishop or two.”
For BTL readers too tight to purchase Sister’s magnum opus, here’s a random sampling. On being an RC: “I disagree with the Bishop’s Conference. They say it’s no sin to be a Recovering Catholic, as long as you don’t practice (and get some therapy). I’ve got news for those spiritual drag queens. Practice makes perfect. Besides, most shrinks are RCs themselves.”
On Saints: “My favorite’s St. Ursula (with her 10,000 skinny virgins) but they got rid of her same-sex fuddy-duddy self. Yes, I believe in saints. Several live on my block. One cares day in and day out for her mom with Alzheimer’s. Two others are parents with a Down Syndrome child. And! Lest we forget. The thousands of ‘saints’ who loved, cared for, and looked after AIDS patients when nobody else would dare to. Name one Regeanite archbishop who did as much.”
“I’m often asked if I had to do it all over again, would I be a dedicated Recovering Catholic? Well, let’s put it this way. Is the pope infallible?”