by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
The Abbey of St. Joan, Seattle's chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, gathered at Piecora's Pizza on July 14 to celebrate the Abbey's 16th anniversary. For their super-sweet 16, the Sisters gave away more than $12,000 in grants to Washington charities supportive of the LGBT community from their yearly grant fund.
'It's an incredible honor to be in the position to hand out grant money,' said Sister Glo Euro N'Wei, the Abbey's Grants Chairnun. 'All year long we raise funds from our community and then give it back. It brings such joy to the organizations and the folks they serve!'
This year, the Abbey of St. Joan gave out 10 grants totaling $12,225. Local beneficiaries included Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, POZ Seattle, and the People's Harm Reduction Alliance.
'We adore the Sisters. They've actually been incredibly supportive of our organization throughout the years,' said Elizabeth List, development director of Rosehedge/Multifaith Works. 'With the help of the Sisters, we're able to support men and women living in isolation because of an illness.'
Rosehedge/Multifaith Works received a grant of $2,000 from the Abbey.
Our Sisters' grants don't just go to Seattle charities, however. Many of this year's beneficiaries are located in other cities, including the Rainbow Center (Tacoma), Vista Youth Center (Kennewick), Stonewall Youth (Olympia), SnoGLOBE Equality Alliance and the GLOBE youth program (Everett), and the BABES Network, a YWCA program that provides social and emotional support to women living with HIV throughout the Northwest.
'While our day-to-day work is fairly concentrated in Seattle, with occasional road trips ranging from Bellingham to Olympia to the Tri-Cities, our granting program provides an opportunity to support those organizations in places that don't have as much Queer infrastructure as Seattle,' said Sister Glo. 'It's important to show that the Sisters' love is not bound by the borders of the city, but extends beyond. I think it helps them to know that (a) they are not alone, and (b) that we in the big city are also watching out for them.'
Additionally, the Sisters donated a DVD/VCR, signed by all the sisters, to YouthCare's Isis House, a shelter for LGBT homeless youth.
'All our grant recipients are always very grateful for the support,' Sister Glo told SGN. 'I only wish we could have funded all of the projects that applied.'
Every year, the Abbey of St. Joan gives away the thousands of dollars they've raised throughout the year. The funds are released to the community on the anniversary of the Abbey's founding.
The Abbey was founded 16 years ago at Seattle's Madison Beach on Bastille Day, in honor of their Patron Saint, Joan of Arc. There, five sisters baptized themselves in the water and established the order. Today, the Abbey of St. Joan consists of more than 70 sisters.
'We've had an incredible growth in membership,' said Sister Glo. 'When I started almost a decade ago, there were about 12 [of us].'
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are an order of 21st-century nuns dedicated to the 'promulgation of universal joy and the expiation of stigmatic guilt.' They work to raise money for AIDS charities, fight for Queer rights and visibility, do safer-sex outreach, and strive diligently to never take themselves so seriously that they forget to have fun. The Sisters welcome all races, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations.
For more information on Seattle's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, visit www.theabbey.org.
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