12 Steps to Becoming a Nun (Satire)

Sister takes a cue from The Onion in a satirical turn

The Eye of the Tiber is hands down the best place to go for Catholic satire.

But the writers at The Onion also manage to come out with some pretty funny pieces on the faith, (when they are not going over the line and racking up points for a long stint in purgatory).

Father Damian Ference is convinced that The Onion has a practicing Catholic working for them.

I think it’s a formerly home-schooled Catholic-turned-atheist writer whose feelings about the Church are ambivalent, but he or she just can’t help spinning out satire pieces with words like “chasuble” in them.

The latest Onion piece with a Catholic theme is “How to Join the Priesthood,” in which the steps to become a priest are delineated, including:

“Step 2: Decide whether to follow the path of the priesthood or pursue other key roles within the Church, such as catechist, deacon, or archangel.”


“Step 5: Take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if your body type really works with a chasuble.”

Before The Onion decides to come out with their own parallel list for nuns, I decided to create my own. So here it is, the 12 steps needed to pursue the illustrious path to becoming a nun:

Step 1: Start talking about Jesus like he is real, and brag about how you spend a lot of time with him. Then, in between episodes of Downton Abbey and browsing Imagine Sisters, try actually hanging out with him. Exchange friendship bracelets and become besties. Make everyone around you uncomfortable when you talk about it.

 Step 2: Spend time in prayer, preferably in a hermitage or fasting in a cave. Be sure to wring your hands and cry often, for dramatic effect. Compare yourself to Catherine of Siena, Rose of Lima or any other woman saint whose life is completely unrelatable or involves wacky penances, multiple visions and miraculous occurrences.

Step 3: Tell all your friends that you are discerning. Broadcast the news as widely as possible, especially to single, attractive male friends who look like Liam Hemsworth (Hey — a girl needs to hedge her bets!).

Step 4: Try the “towel veil” trick. Wrap a towel or shirt of the appropriate color around your head. Reassure yourself that you look just like Ingrid Bergman from The Bells of St. Mary’s. If God is calling you to religious life, then you will look like Ingrid Bergman in a veil. Trust in him.

Step 5: Decide whether you want to be an oddball in the world (apostolic) or an oddball in a monastery and never come out (cloistered). If you are not already an oddball, and definitely do not want to become one, then you probably should not become a nun.

Step 6: Dress in a gorilla suit and hold a sign that says “Jesus loves you.” Go to the store. These are the looks* you will most likely get if you become a nun and wear a habit. Can you handle it? (*Looks may vary depending on geographic location.)

Step 7: Visit convents and get to know the sisters. Bring a checklist that includes vital questions like: “Am I able to pick an awesome My Little Pony-sounding name when I make vows? Has Sr. Twilight Sparkle of the Guardian Angel been taken?”

Step 8: If “Sr. Twilight Sparkle of the Guardian Angel” has not been taken, take that as a sign from God that he is calling you to be espoused to him. Or pick straws with your friends. Or pray some more in that cave. Or wait for surfer Jesus to descend on a fluffy cloud of cotton candy. Your call.

 Step 9: Tell all your friends that you are dying your hair purple, marrying a sea lion and sailing around the world in a teacup. Then tell them you are kidding and that you are actually entering the convent. Their reactions will most likely be similar.

Step 10: After joining the convent, fall apart several times, question your sanity and basically wonder if everyone else knew this was a crazy idea but you. Then ask God if he really thinks this is a good idea. Over and over. Question whether you are actually talking to God or if this whole thing is the product of your imagination — a brilliant, complex psychological world that rivals Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Stir. Repeat.

Step 11: As your vow day draws near, ask God for signs that you should move forward. Don’t shoot low. A lifetime of celibacy warrants a little moving of mountains, (e.g., snow falling in the middle of the summer, a call from Pope Francis or an exemption to your vow of poverty that allows you to have a green Rolls-Royce and personal driver).

Step 12: On vow day, when you make your vows of poverty, chastity and obedience FOR. THE. REST. OF. YOUR. LIFE. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “This will all be worth it for the unlimited holy water, no more bad hair days and pitying looks from friends.”

Do any of you have any more suggested steps?

Especially my nun friends?

Please share!


Sister Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, is the author of The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church. She recently pronounced her first vows with the Daughters of Saint Paul. She blogs at Pursued by Truth.