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Sister Act III

Sister Act III

Marisa Iallonardo (August 25, 2008)

An Italian priest launches a beauty contest exclusively for nuns.


There's a little known fact about me that I probably shouldn't be too keen on revealing, but, given my inability to be embarrassed by many things, will admit to here: I once almost participated in an Italian beauty pageant.

It was the summer of 2001 and my cousin Miriam, who is tall and beautiful and had done a handful of these contests all over Calabria, was appearing at a pageant in Marina di Gioiosa Ionica, the town we normally reserved for beach-going and bar-hopping. That afternoon, I went to simply check out the practice, more for lack of anything better to do than because I was interested in the inner-workings of the local pageant circuit. Somehow, (I swear, I actually don’t remember. Maybe I can blame this one on the language barrier?) I was roped into getting on stage—in a bathing suit, no less—and, practice walking and saying how I was from New York and would be starting college in the fall. In the end, though, I couldn’t go through with it (the laughing I did throughout the practice might have tipped the judges off to the fact that I wasn’t taking it very seriously) and clapped with the crowd instead.

But it seems these days, pageants in Italy are not only reserved for teens and semi-tourists. Nuns are getting in on the action, too.

Announced on Sunday, Father Antonio Rungi, from Mondragone, a town near Naples, will launch “Miss Sister 2008” an online beauty contest exclusively for nuns, this fall. The contest will appear on the blog, starting in September, and nuns aged 18-40 from around the world can send in their photos in hopes of being crowned the winner.

“Nuns are above all women and beauty is a gift from God," Father Rungi told Italy's Corriere della Sera, which was also quoted in a BBC article, citing that many of the nuns themselves had come up with the idea. He hopes that the contest will also disprove long-held ideas of what nuns look and seem like.

According to an Associated Press article, each nun will fill out a profile, telling about her vocation, and readers will have a month to vote on their favorite. It’s up to each nun whether she wants to pose wearing the traditional headpiece or not. Father Rungi, who is also a journalist and professor, told the AP, "Nuns are a bit excluded, they are a bit marginalized in ecclesiastical life. This will be an occasion to make their contribution more visible."

Lucky for them, the nuns won't have to wear bathing suits.


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Great story. It's easy to

Great story. It's easy to just view a nun as someone wearing a habit and not think more than that but this will allow them to show off who they really are to others.