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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 12, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 28
The Sisters turn seventeen, throw kegger!
Section One
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The Sisters turn seventeen, throw kegger!

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

For 17 years, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Abbey of St. Joan has been supporting Seattle, and indeed all of Washington's LGBT community in a highly visible and celebratory way. From preaching safer sex and dispersing 'condom saviors' to staging events in small towns throughout the state, the Sisters' dedication to service has been evident from the very beginning.

'We're very excited,' said Sister Ophelia Onassis. '17 years of doing what we do, lovingly serving our community.'

The Sisters aim to celebrate this birthday like any responsible 17-year-old - with a keg party - to be held at R Place on Saturday, July 13.

'Nearly every active Sister and Guard at all levels of progression will be in attendance, ready to play beer pong with you,' Sister Ophelia told SGN.

The Abbey of St. Joan's anniversary actually falls on Bastille Day, July 14. On that day, 17 years ago, five sisters baptized themselves in the waters of Madison Beach and estab-lished the order. This is where the Abbey's name comes from; the patron saint of the order is, Joan of Arc.

'We always do the anniversary party on a Saturday,' Sister Ophelia told SGN.

The anniversary festivities go all weekend. On Friday, the Sisters do a 'bar tour,' where they will be 'out in force, spreading love and joy and expiating guilt.' On Sunday, they hold their 'Saint's Brunch,' an event that is open only to Sisters and those they've sainted.

Saints are people in the community that the Sisters have recognized as exemplary in their giving back. Some saints are well-known advocates that have served Seattle's LGBT community though nonprofits, others are simply bar staff that have gone above and beyond to create safe, happy places for LGBT patrons.

Over the course of 17 years, the Sisters have given out tens of thousands of dollars to LGBT organizations around Washington from their charity grant fund, the money they collect throughout the year, which is donated back to the community every anniversary. This year, the Sisters will be giving out almost $9,000.

'Our granting process this year was very competitive,' Sister Ophelia told SGN. 'We had to make some very difficult choices.'

The Sisters will also be adding five more saints, who will be announced and 'canonized at the kegger.'

In addition to sainting members of the community, the Sisters also designate certain places as 'sacred spaces.' This is why the kegger is being held at R Place and why many Sister events are held there or at The Cuff.

'The way [R Place and The Cuff] give back to the community and the level to which they ensure their clientele are safe - and always have - there's a long history. And along with that, they have long histories of partnering with Sisters on large scale events such as Halloween or Mardi Gras,' said Sister Ophelia.

Even after all they've done to give back, one of the most important things the Sisters have always done is simply be themselves. Anyone who's spent nights in one of Seattle's Gay bars can attest, when a Sister walks through the door in habit, the mood changes - smiles form, any shame is forgotten.

The Abbey of St. Joan's anniversary party, 'The Ultimate Kegger!' will be held Saturday, July 13 at R Place (619 E. Pine St.). The kegger begins at 6 p.m. A $10 donation buys your cup; each subsequent refill is $1. All money raised form the kegger goes right back into the Abbey's charity grant fund.

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