We are so honoured and delighted to welcome into our circle Sister Roma of The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence, the world’s most photographed nun, also the world’s most glamorous, beautiful, intelligent, world-changing, benevolent and inspiring nun.
If you're not familiar with The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence, check out this episode on their history first:
Roma says, "The Sisters saved my life." And we spend this conversation discussing the myriad ways that her troupe of Drag Nuns has saved not only Roma's life, but countless others.
We cover all the topics we've been told not to discuss: Sex, Religion, Politics and beyond.
LISTEN NOW, TRANSCRIPT BELOW
For more than three decades Sister Roma has been one of the most outspoken and globally recognized members of San Francisco's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. From fighting on the front lines in the war against HIV/AIDS to creating the Sisters’ Stop The Violence campaign to taking on social media giant Facebook as the creator of the #MyNameIs movement, Roma has dedicated more than half her life to community service, activism and fundraising. But don't get it twisted, this Sister is no Saint! Her colorful wit and sharp tongue have made Roma one of San Francisco’s favorite entertainers and emcees. Today Roma is blessed to travel the globe as an LGBTQ ambassador and event host, striving to uphold her Sisterly vows to expiate stigmatic guilt and promulgate universal joy.
Witches are real. Witches bring so much beauty and joy and positivity and good to the world. How boring would the world be without witches?
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AMY: If you want to keep the Missing Witches Project alive, join our coven. Buy our books, New Moon Magic, 13 Anti Capitalist Tools of Resistance and Re Enchantment, and Missing Witches, where we're covering true histories of feminist magic. Or just spread love, plant a seed, be a witch. You aren't being
AMY: a proper woman, therefore you must be a witch.
AMY: Be a witch! Be a witch! Be a witch! Be a witch! Be a witch! Be a witch! You must be a witch. Yeah, well, I live in downtown San Francisco, so I've had several sirens and things in the background, too. It's always interesting. I don't
AMY: mind the background noise of my guest because that's just part of the immersive experience.
AMY: But like. I don't need to hear somebody's toilet flushing, or unless it's yours. And I'm gonna leave that in, I think.
AMY: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Missing Witches podcast. I'm Amy, and I'm so honoured, thrilled, beyond belief, to welcome into our circle today's sister. Roma, the world's most photographed nun, also the world's most glamorous, beautiful, intelligent, world changing, benevolent, and inspiring nun.
ROMA: Oh my god! Really? Are you sure? I don't know about all that.
AMY: Maybe not of all time, but certainly... in, in our current landscape. I, I will, I will put all of my money that no one can find me a more inspiring nun in the world right now. Not since the death of Mother Teresa, who was hella problematic anyway.
ROMA: Yeah. I heard she was a real bitch after all. Right. I mean, kind of, I don't know, but yeah, now that she is gone, I can pretty confidently say I am the most photographed nun in the world. It's trademarked. And if you Google it. There I am. So it's, it's, if it's, if it's online, it's true, right? Well,
AMY: obviously. So who is Sister Roma today?
AMY: Can you tell our listeners a little bit about who you are, what you do and like who you are today?
ROMA: Well, I just came from the gym. I tried to go today. I'm sweaty and I'm trying to add 10 minutes to my life by doing, you know, 30 minutes of cardio. Um, I I am in a really good place to be honest with you. I'm 60 years old and I feel fantastic.
ROMA: Like I have made some real important changes in my life. Uh, like the last 10 years, like I went, got sober, which I think was a huge life changing decision for me. It was really turned out to be one of the best things that I've ever decided to do. Um, I take very, try to take good care of myself. Like I try to eat well and exercise and I, I, um, I have a lot of fun.
ROMA: I just, I feel really, really, really lucky. I, I have to
AMY: ask, I think a lot of our listeners sort of struggle with their own sobriety or lack thereof. Do you have any advice for how you've, how you've made
ROMA: it? Well, I always, you know, I wish I had some kind of like secret or magic, magic phrase or potion that I could give everyone.
ROMA: But, um, I've just learned that you really just have to be done. And everybody seems to have a different rock bottom. And I think that when you hit it, you'll know. And, um, because like a doctor can't tell you, look. You need to quit this because, you know, your liver or blah, blah, blah, or whatever. I mean, I did speed for like 15 years.
ROMA: Like, I loved crystal meth. Like, I was really a big fan of that drug. And, um, I started out doing just a little bump before going to the club, like on Saturday nights. My friends and I could make a quarter of that stuff last for like the whole weekend. And then you sort of start to do more and then like, Oh, let's get an eight ball, you know, and the next thing you know, somebody is like, do you know you can smoke it?
ROMA: And I'm all like, what? And so someone showed me first, the first time I ever smoked meth was out of a light bulb. You break the end. And then you put it in a light bulb and you light it and you take a straw to the end. So, uh, for a minute, that was sort of my party trick. And then stores just started popping up like plentiful in San Francisco, right in the Castro where you could actually buy glass pipes and crystal meth became a huge drug of choice in the community.
ROMA: And, um, Very lucky that I made it out with my teeth and my sanity, and I never lost a job because of it. And I, I am, uh, I only did it because I like, it was fun. Like I did it because I hung out with a group of people who did it. We had a great time with it. Um, sex was a big part of it, but when it started to take a really negative toll on my health and I was like, oh shit.
ROMA: Like this is not fun anymore. And I'm so fortunate that I was just able to put it down that was that was like almost 20 years ago. Like I just said, you know what, I was almost 300 pounds. I my skin was just broken out and psoriasis. It was horrible. I could barely walk up a hill. And I had to, I had to make that change and I just stopped because I never did it because I, I felt like I needed it to be social or that I needed it for any other reason.
ROMA: And then when it stopped being fun, I was done. So I realized that there are a lot of people who, who have a much harder time stopping that drug and there's CMA and other things that you can do to try and get the help that you need. I suggest that you talk to people about it and keep busy, find ways.
ROMA: Well, I decided that, um, I could keep drinking. So I did drink like vodka sodas and continued to party in that way. And I just cut out the crystal. And then after a while, after I had enough drinks, I'd be like, you know what? I think I'm going to get some Coke. Wouldn't that be fun? You know? So I was like, am I really better?
ROMA: You know what I mean? Like it was just like swapped one for the other. And so finally, like 10 years ago, like I said, I just gave everything up. I, uh, I
AMY: have given up hard drugs myself and a friend of mine asked me about it and I said the only thing I'm really addicted to is doing whatever the fuck I want.
AMY: So when I didn't want to do it anymore, I didn't.
ROMA: Yeah, I hear that. I love that. Right. And
AMY: I guess this leads into, like, this notion of perpetual indulgence, which you've kind of dialed back. But, like, can you tell our listeners who are meeting you for the first time through this podcast, like, what are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?
ROMA: Oh my god, I don't know. Those freaks, I mean, they're No, I, you know, I will say that honestly, one of the things about crystal meth and any kind of drug use or addiction is it's very easy to lose yourself in the addiction. And especially crystal can consume a person and it becomes your best friend and your lover.
ROMA: And the only thing that you think about all the time, I, I've been a sister for 36 years. So I was obviously using drugs and partying. for the majority of those years. And I think that the sisters saved my life because what the sisters do and what I always strive to do was to be of service to the community and to look outside myself and look outside and see others who need help.
ROMA: And you don't have to look very far to find somebody that you can volunteer for, that you can show up for. And that's what the sisters do. Honestly, we just sort of look around our community. We look around at other communities and see who, how we can be of service. We raise a load of money, like a shit ton of money, and we give it away.
ROMA: We have a grant cycle. It's actually open now. If anybody's listening who could use like a thousand to 2, 000 for your little grassroots underfunded organization, you can go to the sisters. org and apply for a grant right now. You know, we support LGBTQ arts and trans youth and women's health and, uh, HIV AIDS.
ROMA: Obviously, that's really where the sisters found their focus. Like they were with the sisters started in San Francisco in 1979. And it was really just sort of a, like a fuck you to the queer community. There was a group of guys who are very closely associated to the radical fairies. And everybody, not everybody, but a lot of the gay men in San Francisco were very like butch.
ROMA: There was a lot of leather jackets, a lot of flannel, a lot of handlebar mustaches. And one Easter weekend, this group of friends was like, you know what, this is boring. I have these old nuns habits that I borrowed quote unquote from from a convent in Iowa that was Ken Bunch, Sister Vicious Spire Hungry Bitch, and they put on their habits and just went out to fuck with people.
ROMA: Honestly, that's really what the sisters were. And Vish likes to say that everywhere they went, they created like psychological car crashes. Nobody had seen men dressed as nuns. It was, it hit people on so many levels. There's like, you know, women. It brought out all the misogyny and all kinds of crazy shit in people.
ROMA: And they sort of realized that they were onto something. So they. Called a few more friends in and they came up with the name and the logo that we still use today. It's all the original stuff and then around like 1982 HIV AIDS started to ravage the community and that's when the sisters really found their purpose.
ROMA: I have
AMY: a quote from Sister Unity of Los Angeles. Love her. Yes. Who said, The one thing that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have in common is that we feel what we call a calling. You see the Sisters, you see the flamboyant colour, but you also see the service and activism, and it inspires you to join in.
AMY: It lights a candle in your heart. So can you tell us about that calling, about that time in your life when the Sisterhood came together? lit a candle in your heart.
ROMA: I absolutely agree that it is a calling and I believe that sisters are born, not made. Um, I was, I was Catholic college educated. I actually, can I tell you something wild?
ROMA: I was adopted and I was left to the care of a Catholic adoption agency, so in my earliest like, before I was in my weeks and months old, I was cared for by nuns. And my mother and her husband, I can't call him my father, um, wanted to adopt, and my mother says that she, our eyes locked when I was in the crib, and she just knew.
ROMA: So, um, that is where, like, I guess where my affinity for nuns comes from, maybe? Um, I went to a private Catholic college and in four years, I honestly never did anything, um, civic minded or spiritual. I didn't volunteer for one thing. Like I, in high school, I was active, I was class president. I was very active in, in different activities, but like I never did anything for other people.
ROMA: Like when, to be honest, I was completely self centered. I was an only child, probably insufferable to a lot of people. And I moved to San Francisco and I was just like a gay kid in a gay candy store. Like I just lived this wild hedonistic, like I had all the sex I could get. I boozed it up. Like I had a blast.
ROMA: And one day I was in the, at the midnight sun on Castro street and it was happy hour. So we were all standing, this is like 1985. We were all standing around in our power ties and It's a video bar. So there's these giant screens and you're watching people are like looking up at the videos they're playing designing women and music videos and the bar door just flew open and this creature walked in and for the first time that that I can remember that evening.
ROMA: Everybody stopped talking and stop looking video and she had the attention of the whole bar, and she looked like this crazy. Like clown, drag queen, none. And she walked up and she knew the bartender by name. He gave her a drink and she was smiling and laughing. And she just seemed to know everybody. And she walked up and she said, hi, Michael, which is my birth name that I never used.
ROMA: And, um, I was like. Do I know you? And she said, it's me, Norman. And I go, what are you doing? Cause Norman and I have been friends. Like she was a bartender in the Fillmore and we were out of control together. Like we would take, so she had all this booze at home all the time. So we would take all the booze from like under her sink and just pour it into a trash can and take it out to the gay softball games and get everybody hammered.
ROMA: And we called ourselves the cheerleaders from hell. And then we would go out at night and maybe do some Coke and bring boys home. Like we were really. good friends, but she never told me that she was a sister. So when she walked into the bar that day, I was like, what the fuck are you doing? She goes, I'm sister luscious lashes.
ROMA: And that was my introduction to the sisters. And so I was, I was intrigued and she introduced me to a couple more and then I started to volunteer with them as it just. in my boy drag, um, selling pom poms, like at a basketball game, you know, whatever, whatever needed to be done basically. And one day we were going out to cheer for the softball, for the Eagle softball team.
ROMA: And she just sort of innocently said, why don't you just try the makeup? And I was like, I've never ever in my life thought about doing drag. Like I just was not. Me, I didn't think, and I, I totally, I was like, I don't have anything to wear, I don't know how to do it, blah, blah. So she showed me how to put on like the white face, and then she put me in front of the mirror and she said, just paint whatever comes out.
ROMA: And it was my very first face, and my face for a few years was very, uh, graphic. I was, I'm a graphic artist by trade, so it was very angular, very sharp triangles, um, Big, bold, like, hard blush and like, it looked like war paint, which was very fitting actually for the 80s because we were at war. We were all fighting for our fucking lives.
ROMA: We were fighting for medication and for education and for fairness and for our community's health, really. So, um That is when I realized, Oh my God, like, I, then I went over the history of the sisters and I met the other sisters and I had never met such an eclectic, crazy, passionate, smart, brave group of people.
ROMA: And I was like, my head exploded. And I was like, Oh my God, I care about every, I care about people. I care about my community. I. I want to get involved. I want, I care about my civil rights. I care about all of these things that I didn't know. It's like, I honestly, I just, I'm so emotional right now talking about it.
ROMA: I, I, I, it changed my life, you know? And I just, it really, I was, Roma was born in that moment. And that's sort of what I've strived to do. I've strived. Make the sisters that came before me proud and to be a good representative of the sisters worldwide and, uh, make the world a better place. If I can, you know, whatever I can do.
ROMA: I feel like I'm talking a lot. Am I talking too much? No, I want
AMY: you to, I want you to talk and talk and talk and I want you to... Ignore my questions and see whatever comes up for you. I want you to talk and talk and talk. Ideally, I would just sit here for the next half hour
ROMA: and listen. Well, that would be boring.
ROMA: It's like, it's not my fucking TED Talk. I'll, ask me something, ask me something else.
AMY: Oh, well, if you were going to do a TED Talk, then what would it be about? What would be the
ROMA: name of your TED Talk? So I, my best friend who's been my friend for like 30 years, uh, Michael Ewens, aka Chante Bouvier, um, has been on me to write a book for like probably 20 years.
ROMA: A lot of people come up to me, go, you know, you should write a book. And I'm like, Don't people say that to a lot of people like people, you know, girl, you should write a book, all these things that happened to you. And I'm kind of like, should I like, I, I, you know, does it have where's the beginning? What's the end?
ROMA: All these things start to flood my mind. And I'm like, I just can't. So, um, but I do have a name. And if I did write a book, it would be called Party of None. Is that cute? Is that good? I mean, I like that. Yeah. So, you know, maybe that would be my TED Talk. I don't know.
AMY: It's so funny because I actually have, like, in my list of questions, if you have ever thought about writing a book, I mean, I've been doing research on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for the podcast and for this interview.
AMY: And I kept thinking, like, I wish that Roma had written a book. That could just be, you know, like your own personal history, but also the history of the sisters. There's some stuff out there, academic focus, that kind of thing. And yeah, millions of articles and interviews, but I would buy it. I mean, you're guaranteed at least one royalty check if you do decide
ROMA: to do this.
ROMA: Well, that's the thing that I'm sort of trying to like, I'm like. You know, don't aim for the New York best, best sound like calm down, bitch. You know, if you wrote a book, it would be very personal. It wouldn't have a mass appeal. It doesn't even have to be that good. But then I but then the other side of me, that's very, you know, like I always want to be the best at everything if I can.
ROMA: So that's kind of where the conflict is, but I think I have to sort of write it from the heart, which is how I tend to do everything. I, that's how I try to approach everything, because I just think you have to be genuine and you just, you have to be honest. And people seem to relate to that because you people can smell bony bullshit a mile away.
ROMA: I know I can, but, um, So yeah, maybe I will, you know, I, then I have this like imagination, like, well, when I'm, um, can't move or I'm, you know, incapacitated or frail and old, I'll sit down and finally write it all down. Um, but then you can't really, I mean, what would I do with the money? If I, if it makes money, I mean, I want to be able to still have fun.
ROMA: I don't know. Can we change the subject? Yes. If
AMY: the book made money, you would give it away. I think we both know
ROMA: that. Oh yeah, definitely. Some of it. Oh my God. Wouldn't it be so fun to have a ton of money? Can you imagine like being a billionaire? I'd be, I'd just be walking down the street going, Hey. I hear you got a lot of kids here.
ROMA: I actually I've honestly done that before. Yeah, I was in the grocery store and my mother had sent me, this is like years ago, and my mother had sent me money for Christmas and I had a few crispy 100 bills in my pocket and I saw this woman in line next to me and she had three boys and she just looked hassled and hairy and it was the holidays and she, you know, she was trying to load the things out of the cart and the kids are running around screaming and I was like, I'm going to give this woman 100.
ROMA: I just, I just had to, like, I just had to. And I walked up to her and I'm like, I hope you don't mind, but I would just love to give you this for the holidays. And I handed her the hundred up. Oh no, no, no, no. She goes, I don't need it. We don't need it. And I was like, please just take it. And then I walked away and I was like, she probably has a lot more money than I do, but I, you know, I just had to do it.
ROMA: Like it really wasn't even about the money. I just, I don't know. I just, I really love, um, seeing. Parents like I live in the Tenderloin and you know, there's people are talking about the Tenderloin a lot lately and there's this whole talk about how it's a doom loop and it's so dangerous and I've walked through the Tenderloin in drag out of drag.
ROMA: a million times. And honestly, I've never felt in danger here, but there's a lot of unsavory behavior going on there. That's true. There are people who are in fentanyl, like comas, there's drug open air drug markets, and it's shocking to see. And it's I, the reason that it bothers, one of the reasons it bothers me the most is because there are families down here, like, and so when I would see parents walking their kids to school through the tenderloin, I, I, those are, those are like my heroes.
ROMA: I'm like, these people are really doing the Lord's work. Like this is really great stuff. You know, if there is such a thing as the Lord, but anyway, you know what I mean?
AMY: Whether or not there is a Lord, there is definitely the Lord's work. I use that phrase all the time, when I really feel like I'm doing the right thing.
AMY: I was raised in the church, too, so, you know, I still have the terminologies, and they're just the ones that kind of come out of my mouth, but I think there's no question in the world that you are doing the Lord's work. No question in my mind at
ROMA: all. I mean, if you take the, like, Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I think I'm doing good work.
ROMA: I do feel that I honestly feel that I'm very proud of it. It brings me great joy. Honestly, I think it's one of the secrets to happiness is to be of service to other people like it because every little bit that you give out, like, you know, I spend like three hours getting ready. I know it's ridiculous, but, um, God, I look good when I'm done.
ROMA: And that, but every, but the, the, I feed off the energy that that gets from, you know, you, the feedback that you get from people, the joy that people express. Um, and every little bit that you give out any kind of volunteer service that you do, it comes back to you like a thousand times. So when, when I'm out and people, you know, throw compliments around or offer, you know, scream hello or whatever.
ROMA: And I, I, that's what I'm there for. It makes me feel so. wonderful to see them be happy. And then when they come up and ask for a photo or a selfie, I literally will never say no. So that's where the my tagline like the most photographed none in the world comes with. If you can I tell you like the true backstory of that, please, please do.
ROMA: I um I was an emcee at the Folsom Street Fair for 15 years with Heglina. She and I were the two grandmasters of the Folsom Street Fair main stage. Yes, she would always bring her Taoiseach show and we had a fabulous time doing that together. And one year it was like unseasonably hot, like 89, 90 in the 90s and we had been working all day and I was finally done.
ROMA: I was off stage and I had on some heels and I wanted trying to walk to my friend Jay's house in the mission and my feet were killing me and it was just, I was over it, you know, and people were coming up asking for photos. And I would stop and as usual, my friends that I was walking with were like a mile ahead of me because they're now they're just like, they're like, over there like, fuck you, girl, we're not gonna wait while you do this.
ROMA: But, um, I got to my friend Jay's house and I threw myself in a chair and I went, uh, Oh, my God, if one more person asked me for a fucking photo, I'm so over it. And he just looked at me and he goes, Well, you better enjoy it because one day no one will. And I just went, literally, my face cracked. And I realized what an ungrateful, awful.
ROMA: I was just I was like, Oh, my God, you're so right. And I vowed honestly, from that day forward that I would never say no to a photo. And I don't. Like, why would you, right? Yeah.
AMY: Um, back to volunteering, there's this like... It's like capitalist myth that no one will work if not for money. So can you, you've already kind of answered this, but I want you to expand more, like, under the, the weight of individualism that I feel is like growing, like a, like a shadow.
AMY: Um, how, How does volunteering benefit not just your community, but like you? Can you tell our listeners like how volunteering makes your life better, not just the lives of the people in your community?
ROMA: Yeah. Well, if you, you know, how about you can go on Facebook and be like, I volunteered all day serving meals to so people can know how great you are.
ROMA: Um, but that's, that's, that would be a person who is in it for the wrong reasons, probably. Um, I but I do share when I do volunteer work because I want people to know that this opportunity is there. And the thing that the honestly the thing that I've learned because I have honestly volunteered during the holidays, there's a group called tenderloin Tessie's holiday dinners, and every Easter Thanksgiving and Christmas.
ROMA: They open the first Unitarian Church and they invite people from who live unhoused from the community in different situations, different levels of addiction and struggles to come in and have a holiday meal. Obviously, I don't do it at Easter. That's a big day for the sisters. Uh, we can talk more about that later, but, uh, thanks for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
ROMA: Honestly, that is like basically my holiday. Um, I love that event. I stand there in drag. We welcome everybody in. We seat them at tables of eight. So it's family style. There's entertainment going on and they are served like they're a guest at a restaurant like they people we bring them food. And then on the way out they can stop and they get care packages and then now we've recently in the last few years added huge tables of donated clothing that they can pass through on the way out.
ROMA: And honestly, some of those people. I obviously the volunteers, many of the volunteers that from the community and outside the community who work there have become like family friends, you know, they see every year, but also the guests like these people, you know, like, and then I'll see them outside of the, of the event.
ROMA: And now we have a connection. And I just, it just to make someone know that they're seen.
ROMA: And that they're cared for is so, it's so important, and it, it really is, it just fills you with joy when you see them light up and when you see them recognize the fact that they know someone cares, because in their day to day like people don't see them like people, you know, and when you hear, Somebody outside screaming on the street.
ROMA: It's very tempting to be like, Oh God. Okay. We got another one, you know, crazy, but they're, they're in pain and they're struggling. And, uh, one of the greatest joys is to reach out and make a connection with another living human being. And that can take a lot of different forms. You know, you don't, there's so many ways to volunteer.
ROMA: There's so many different great organizations.
AMY: I saw one video, um, I believe it was the San Francisco sisters who were just out in the street, you know, um, hugging people, um, hugging people that others might not want to hug, let's just say the unhoused. You know, and it was so fucking beautiful just to see this like drag nun being more of a nun than the nuns that we're used to and going and doing like, you know, to use another religious term, the laying of hands.
AMY: Like I really feel like that, that these hugs that I was watching on YouTube were like healing.
ROMA: Yes, absolutely. So what the, one of the main reasons that I knew I had to join the sisters is because when. Before it was even called HIV AIDS, people didn't know what was killing the community, and it would pop up in this horrible manifestation where your healthy, beautiful friend would be thriving one day, and the next week they would have lost, they'd be emaciated, they'd be covered in purple, cancerous, you know, the huge lesions.
ROMA: And people were freaked out because there was so much shame and stigma around it. They didn't know what it was, what caused it, how contagious it was. So these people lost their jobs. They quite often lost their homes. They doubt their friends were afraid to hang out with them or even touch them. And the sisters would walk into like a gay bar in the Castro and way in the back, darkest corner, you might find someone sitting there.
ROMA: Clearly, obviously stricken with HIV and AIDS and um, they, sisters would sit down and engage them in conversation. And quite often at the end of that talk, the person would just be like, can I have a hug? And the sisters always said yes. And that's when I knew that I was with the right group. Yeah,
AMY: and 36 years, you said, you've been a sister.
AMY: Yeah. So, how has, I mean, obviously, our perception of HIV and AIDS has changed, um, PrEP is a thing, which it wasn't 36 years ago, um, but how has the, how have you personally witnessed the political landscape? I mean, a lot of our listeners weren't even born 36 years ago, they have no, no frame of reference for.
AMY: What it was like it to be queer or, or to exist in the world at all. So how, how do you perceive the world having changed or the pendulum having swung
ROMA: back and forth? I love that you bring the pendulum because the pendulum swings both ways and it's swinging back right now, but it was, um, scary as fuck. I mean, like literally.
ROMA: Young people were just dying and nobody knew why and it felt like nobody cared and nobody was doing anything like we were like, um, there was a real sort of a feeling that it was killing all the right people. It was killing prostitutes, intravenous drug users and faggots like who cares? And that was that was real.
ROMA: So we really had to take drastic measures. The sisters were one of the first groups ever to produce a safer sex pamphlet called Playfair. Really, honestly, the first in the world to use like plain, plain language and humor. It is the illustrated pamphlet with nuns talking about how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
ROMA: And we still publish it today. Um, but it, it, it was. It was terrifying. And it felt, because when I, so I moved to San Francisco from Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is a lovely place to be from. And it's a much more, it's a bigger, more, I think, inclusive city then. But at the time, it was like, you can't be gay here.
ROMA: Like, really? Like, are you kidding me, Queen? And I could not not be gay, you know? So I did some student teaching. I was like, God, I'd love to be a teacher. But I'm like, I can't be a teacher here. So, um, That's one of the reasons that I moved to San Francisco, so I could be my authentic self. But, you know, the lovely, my lovely friends in Grand Rapids were like, Oh, you're moving to San Francisco, you're gonna get AIDS.
ROMA: And it turned out that I couldn't have moved to a better place because this is where, this was the epicenter of, of, of educating the community and fighting back. And I met the group that was, that were on the front lines of the war against HIV AIDS and I joined that group. So it would absolutely was the best place that I could have moved.
ROMA: I'm so fortunate that that was the path that that I came to me and I followed. Um, so it was it was very, very scary. And then we have fought hard for the progress we've made. And thankfully, the disease is no longer a death sentence. It's People live a very long, full, beautiful life with HIV AIDS. And now, like you said, we have PrEP.
ROMA: So that if you don't have HIV, you can take this pill. And, I'm not saying, you know, your, your, your girl go out and, you know, do whatever you want. Because there are still other sexually transmitted diseases, which are not fun. Which you can get. PrEP is only good for one thing. But, um. The sisters, in addition to the play fair, were very big with the condom ministry.
ROMA: We had to convince our community that safer sex was hot and it was the way to go. So we, oh my God, I have no idea how many condoms we gave out, like crazy, but none of that has happens anymore, really. I mean, we do still do some condom ministry. We still talk about safer sex practices, but it's definitely different.
AMY: On the subject of safer sex, I'm so glad that we've come around to this because, um, we had a very lively conversation in one of our Coven meetings recently about ethical pornography, and until today, I have never had the opportunity to speak to a pornographer slash nun, so I want to know about how, how those two roles play out.
AMY: Like intersect and, and impact each other. I haven't watched any of your work. I'm sorry. I'll, I'll get to it.
ROMA: I'll hook you up. I'll hook you up. I'll give you a little membership.
AMY: But like, uh, is safer sex, like a, a theme in, in what you produce.
ROMA: So I mentioned my best friend, Michael Ewens, uh, for 30 years, we've been friends.
ROMA: Well, The way that Chante came to San Francisco was they managed a gay bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona, and they booked, actually, Shishi LaRue, Chante booked Shishi LaRue on her first ever out of town gig, like, Shishi was huge in LA, but Chante booked her to come to To Phoenix, I think to perform and, um, they became fast friends.
ROMA: So she, she recommended Shantae to work for Falcon Studios, which is the world's number one leading most prolific, you know, porn studio ever gay porn. And, um, they moved her out to San Francisco and I was a host in the VIP room at Colossus, this big nightclubs out the market. And I was just walking through the VIP and there was this drag queen standing against the wall in like this.
ROMA: She looked, she was wearing these big gold cuffs and this red, white and blue light top. And she just, I, I just walked by and I go, get it, Wonder Woman. And the next thing you know, we find ourselves at the end up in the morning. And the next day, I think I brought burgers over to her place and we just have been like best friends ever since.
ROMA: And it was that chance encounter, but she's the one who introduced me to the adult industry. Um, I used to own a magazine called Hype and we needed images for the cover because we learned really quickly that nobody in the gay community picks up a magazine unless there's a hot dude on the cover. So we, I went to Steven Scarborough, who I'd met through Shishi and Shantae, who was the owner and director at Hot House Entertainment.
ROMA: To beg for images. He was more than happy to let us have whatever we wanted. And then I started doing some freelance graphic work for Stephen at Hot House, and he eventually hired me to work in the art department, and I worked my way up to art director there. And then Hothouse got bought by Falcon Naked Sword and now it's, we are like the world's largest conglomerate gay porn studios and brands.
ROMA: I'm the creative director now, so I've worked in the adult industry for over 25 years. And so, When I started in porn, all of the studios that I was associated with were condom only. Like, the people that worked in the gay porn industry, especially Shishi LaRue, Stephen Scarborough, um, were very conscious of the fact that we needed to show the community how to protect themselves and that it was still hot.
ROMA: Like, you know, you can still, you can put on a condom and you can still fuck like crazy. It can still be messy. It can be sloppy. You know, it can be fun. It can be raunchy. It can be whatever you want it to be. You just use a condom. And so for every studio that I worked for with condoms until just like a few years ago, we finally decided that we were at a place where it was safe to stop using condoms.
ROMA: And we, you know, we got our toe wet. We did like one condom feature with no condom. Because like, honestly, the... Was it, was it your toe
AMY: that you got wet though? Come on
ROMA: now. Just the tip. We just put the tip in. And um, people really, I mean, some of the hottest studios during that time, there were studios that did not use condoms.
ROMA: They were very controversial. They were facing all sorts of backlash. The performers were often criticized. And, but... Meanwhile, people were watching the fuck out of that content. Like people loved it. Um, so we knew that people would prefer to not see condoms and it's, um, proven to be true, like our movies now do not have condoms and, uh, it's, business is booming when business was especially booming during COVID girl, everybody was home and horny and it was like, Oh my God.
ROMA: So, um. But yeah, I think that it can be very ethical. We're very conscious of being inclusive and the diversity we cast. We're careful to make sure that our cast represents our audience. We want people to see themselves in our movies. We want to make sure that people of color are front and center. We have beautiful exclusive models from every race.
ROMA: Um, we've cast trans performers like it's, it's, uh, it's been a really great way to be a nun and to be. Uh, involved in porn because the two worlds actually meld really well. The fact that I worked for these condom only studios worked, was great for the sister's message about safer sex and the way to, to remain healthy, but without shame and without guilt.
ROMA: Um, And then it was also a great way to get money for the sisters and to get donations and prizes and hot models to come to our events. And it's just, it's been a very lovely marriage. It really has. It's been great. And then I got to do all these fabulous events in the adult industry. Like I've traveled all over the world, basically, um, hosting queer events.
ROMA: I'm the host of the grabbies in Europe, in Torremolinos, Spain. You know, just these incredible opportunities that have come up. And I'm just like, really? And then when they see the sister Roma up there, I of course have to talk about the sisters and talk about, I'm a political person by nature. So I talk about the importance of, because people can get comfortable.
ROMA: You know, I think that people have gotten comfortable. People who were, like you said, weren't born back when I was doing all that fighting for our rights. If people, people can get married now, you can serve in the military, like all those battles have been fought and won. But the important thing to know is that they can all be taken away with the strike of a pen.
ROMA: And if you don't believe that you can wake up tomorrow with less rights than you've had today, ask a woman. Yeah. You know what? Yeah. Ask Roe v. Wade. Yeah. So, um, That's the new mission is to get the newer generation, the younger queers out there like motivated. And to make them realize that it's, you know, yes, we have all, it's great to be gay, but it's, it's also, there's so much, as we've seen with the legislation, the 500 bills, the anti LGBTQ, anti drag legislation, and then the way that they're attacking the trans community.
ROMA: Absolutely horrific. It's, it's a, they're taking the page right out of like Nazi Germany. Um, it's, it's an attempt to, to eradicate and just eliminate and exterminate. Really, it is, you know, they don't, you can't say anything about it. You can't talk about it. You can't, now they don't, you can't hang flags.
ROMA: You can't have drag queens and it's all for the children. It's all to protect the children, which is such
AMY: bullshit. It's such bullshit. It is such bullshit. These are the same people who are kicking their kids, their 14 year old kids out onto the street. Like, how is that
ROMA: protecting children? And taking them to gun shows.
ROMA: And taking them to gun shows. And, you know, MAGA rallies and big truck rallies. And like, you think you're not grooming your kid? I don't, you know, you're welcome to raise your kid any way that you feel, see fit. That's your right as a parent. Um, but if you are a parent who decides that you want your child to know that there are people in the world who are queer and trans and you want your child to grow up in a world being, uh, coming from a place of love and acceptance and tolerance, maybe you want to bring your kid to a drag queen story hour to hear these great stories about these two same sex penguins who may, who were partners for life.
ROMA: Like, is that, you know, this is the hill you're going to die on right now while your kid's being shot up in school. Like get fucking serious. Yeah.
AMY: Um, I mean, we don't have to talk to talk about the Dodgers palava if you don't really want to. I'm sure you've talked about enough about it this year. But, um, it's, it's so interesting to me that it seems to me that the mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence should be the least controversial thing in the world.
AMY: It's like spread love, help people.
AMY: I don't even know what my question is because it's so baffling
ROMA: to me. Well, because you're confused by what people choose to be offended by. Yeah. And now, people, we live in this weird, like, fake world where people get offended by everything and they just think it's their right to come out and... point fingers and protest and scream about how their rights are being taken away and being abused and their freedom of religion is being assaulted.
ROMA: And it's like, I don't give a fuck what religion you are. I would never storm your church and tell you that you can't believe or worship. However, to be honest, I think that it's very important to find something to believe in and to brings you hope. And comfort. And if it's if it's a being an evangelical Christian, honey, have it like have a field day, lay the hands, the snakes, whatever it is you fucking do, do it.
ROMA: But, you know, don't in turn around and tell me what I can and can't do. And then take it and take it to the ballot and then vote away my civil rights because my I'm what I'm just my existence is not a threat to your rights. To believe whatever you want to believe to your religion. The sisters are not mocking nuns.
ROMA: We are nuns. We're, we're not mocking religion. We're, we're mocking organized religion the way. And we're actually, if you are somebody who decides to weaponize your religion and take the word, the gospel and use it as a way to oppress someone else to, uh, take away someone's rights to exercise your misogyny, your racism, your homophobia, your transphobia.
ROMA: I'm making fun of you, girl. To be honest, I'm making fun of you. I'm not making fun of your God, your religion, your nuns. I'm making fun of you. And you, you
AMY: grew up under Catholicism, so you know what you're talking about. And I have to read this quote and have you respond to this. You said this, so. Oh. It shouldn't be too shocking to hear.
AMY: God, what did I say? Let's face... Let's face it, religion is campy. It's pomp, it's circumstance, it's burning purses that smell like incense, it's candles, and stained glass windows, and robes, and brocade. Is there anything gayer than religion?
ROMA: True though, right? I mean, fine, the lie. Hello.
AMY: I think, and that, that to me is what is so beautiful and exciting and very much related to, um, you know, the label that I've chosen for myself being witch, um, is the, it's this intersection of reverence and irreverence, because being a sister is very, it's no fucking joke, like you've got to go through, um, you know, many steps.
AMY: I could list them all, but I'll save that for another time. Many steps to actually be like an official sister. It's very serious, and you have to do fundraising, and you have to do volunteering, but you also live on the other side of the coin of reverence and irreverence where like everything is available for delight, I guess, maybe.
AMY: It's a, can you talk about um, the intersection of reverence and irreverence and how that plays a role in your life or in your sisterhood.
ROMA: Yeah, you, you're so right on it. Some sisters, it takes, it can take anywhere from like eight months to two years or longer to fulfill the requirements, the process that we ask of people who aspire to be sisters.
ROMA: Um, And there are certain things you have to spend time in our archives, you have to have a novice project, which is usually a fundraiser, not necessarily, but, you know, we don't, we're, we're a group of very eclectic group, as you can imagine, gay, straight, every color, every race, every, every belief. But, um, we, so while on one hand, we're very eclectic and we are sort of rule breakers and rebels, we do also kind of have to have rules and we do take vows to never take ourselves so seriously that we forget to have fun.
ROMA: But we do have a very serious mission, like we do some very important, serious work. So I've always kind of thought of it as being like a double edged sword sometimes because um, And back to the Dodgers, like I understood the reason that the brass at Dodgers like freaked out and withdrew the invitation to the sisters.
ROMA: I honestly did because there was, because when I've worked with San Francisco Giants on Pride celebrations, so I know you work with like, there's a group who is made up of queer people, right? Sometimes some, a couple of queer people, there's queer, you know, we're everywhere. And um, they're like, Oh, we're going to plan the pride night for the, for the Dodgers.
ROMA: And they're like, well, let's honor these people. Oh, we have to honor those sisters. They've been in Los Angeles for 27 years and they do the great work and they sort of wrote it somewhere in an email and somebody went approved. And then fucking Marco Rubio sends a letter and all of these crazy Christians who decide to be offended by the sisters, like just lose their minds.
ROMA: And the people at the top levels of the Dodgers freaked out and they're like, Oh my God, what did we do? We made a mistake. We have to disinvite these people. And then our community came back and our supporters and people outside of our community, including religious people, and just all sorts of amazing support for the scissors came back.
ROMA: And all of the other organizations that were part of pride with the Dodgers pulled out. They're like, you're not, you can't have, you can't be selective. You can't have performative pride. You know, if it's all or none. The LGBT center pulled out that everybody, so they had no pride night, they kind of were forced to invite the sisters back.
ROMA: And that was lovely. And I believe that they really do believe that they made a mistake. I think they learned more about the sisters. But it's that double edged sword where just just to look at us walking down the street, if you have no idea, like who we are, you're like, Is it October 31st? You know, you're you don't know like it's people are going to have a myriad of reactions.
ROMA: I always say I can walk down the street from one corner to the next and down here. I'm a faggot. I'm a freak. You know, what do you then you move along and it's like, Oh, what are you supposed to be? Or, you know, is it Halloween or, you know, and then I can be like, Oh, you look great. I love your costume. I love your costume.
ROMA: Thanks. You know, and then it's like, Oh, your makeup. And then it can get, you can be like, Hey, sister Roma. Oh my God. I love you. Or Hey sister, you guys are great. You know, or it's the whole block long of reactions. I haven't changed. Like it's been me the whole time. What's changed is people's reactions to me.
ROMA: So the thing that I've learned probably the most in 36 years is that. People's reactions to me say more about them than they do about me. So the double edged sword thing is like, you don't know what reaction you're going to get from people because when they see us, it can go a lot of ways, especially with dogs.
ROMA: But, um, so, you know, I, but I think that once people take the time to get to know us and learn about who we are and what we do, Um, Then they're like, oh, okay. You know what? I kind of get it. Like these, we want you to, um, to realize that if we can run around looking like this, you're free to express yourself and be authentic and celebrate life and bring joy in whatever way that you feel that you are compelled, you know, like that's really what it is.
AMY: already gone over the time that we said. Do you have a few more minutes?
ROMA: Oh, God. How long is this supposed to be?
AMY: Yeah. We said 45 minutes and we're at 50 now. So I just want to honor your,
ROMA: honor your time. Okay. We'll do a few more minutes. Very, very busy girl. I know. Well, like
AMY: literally you are. And until you told me that you did speed, I was like, where does Roma get the energy?
AMY: And now I'm like, okay, now, now I know where Roma got the energy for all of this. I want to ask in our email exchange leading up to this conversation, you Let's fly like the witches we are. So obviously that filled my personal heart. And I'm just curious, like, what do you, what do you think of the word
ROMA: Oh my god, I love it. Are you kidding? Witches are real. Witches bring so much beauty and joy and positivity and good to the world. How boring would the world be without witches? So there are some sisters who are very witchy. Like they're super witchy. Like they have the. Medallions and the they know the different they know the Tentations and they call the spirits of the east of the and those I'd love to have those sisters.
ROMA: I'm all like girl. This is all you come on step up. I need one of your witchy blessings. I need some of your witchy magic, but quite often when those sisters are doing that thing. They'll be like we need Roma and they'll call me up. So they recognized in me that there is definitely some like witchy energy going on and I get off on it and I agree like I Honestly, I think I can't even explain like how, uh, magical my life has been the opportunities that the people I've met, the things that I've seen, the places I've gone to be invited to do a podcast like this.
ROMA: Like who am I like, this is just, it's so beautiful and magical. And there's just this beautiful witchy energy that just flies around and it's beautiful.
AMY: It is. Yeah, I, I feel like there's definitely like a connection between the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and, and those people who consider themselves witches.
AMY: I mean, we talk about witchcraft as like that point where our spirituality, our politics, and our creativity meet. And I think that that's true for the Sisters as well. Politics, spirituality, and creativity. It's sort of, it's all, it's all in
ROMA: there. And it's, to me, it's also just sort of this... Inner peace and knowing, like if you know your intentions, if you know your own intentions and you can dial in to like all of the energy out there, it's, that's truly magic.
ROMA: It really is. How can our
AMY: listeners promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic
ROMA: guilt? Well, you have to join the sisters. I mean, that's just, that's what we do. You know, just honestly. It's just, it's all about being grateful and looking around and finding joy in the little things. Every day is not going to be, you know, halftime at the Super Bowl.
ROMA: Like every day is not going to be a birthday party. There's not going to be confetti every time you walk into a room. But sometimes when you're in a hurry and you catch every green light, like that is a reason to be happy. Like that, that is your witchy energy. That is your spirit guides looking out for you.
ROMA: There are miracles around us every day. And just trying to feel that joy and to, to let other people know that you're happy to see them and to let people know that you're happy. If something good happens to you, share that with people. If something unfortunate or sad happens to a friend, call them up, let them know you're there.
ROMA: Like, honestly, just show up and be, be supportive and keep your sense of humor. That's really the only way to do it. You have to, because if you, if we don't laugh, we're going to cry. There are a lot of things to laugh about. If you look hard enough, you can laugh at just about everything. And
AMY: when you become a member of a community, then it sort of, it's like a shield against that, that jadedness that comes.
AMY: I mean, you and I both have, have spent our entire lives in, in activism and trying to make the world a better place or a more loving place. I guess this may be a better, it's a better phrase, a more loving place. But we, we still have to sort of. watch that pendulum swing back and forth. But when you, when you surround yourself with love, it's like, it's a shield from when the pendulum swings the wrong
ROMA: Right. There you go. Yeah. And
AMY: that's like how volunteerism pays
ROMA: us. I love it. Yeah.
AMY: I'll open, um, to the coven for questions. If you have a question loves, um, if you could raise your hand with the little. I've done it. I'll lower it and raise it again so you can see. Raise your hand if you have a compliment for the world's most inspiring.
AMY: None. We'll take that to you. If not, I will, I will return to you. Um, again, I want to thank you for the Stop the Violence campaign. I want to thank you for your hand in, in the Safer Sex Movement. I actually, I heard in an interview that Nurses in San Francisco at the time were using that pamphlet because the government, because American healthcare systems weren't producing any of their own literature on
ROMA: the subject.
AMY: So, like, I think you said in one interview, like, these four queers. You know, talking about the original sisters on the Easter. Oh, we didn't, we didn't talk about, we'll talk about Easter. Um, how they, these four queers, these four queer nuns changed the world. And I think you have also done that. Do you feel that?
AMY: Do you feel like I, Sister Roma, have changed the world?
ROMA: Um, I feel like I've made an impact in my community and that a lot of people that I, have had considered friends or people that I've met or conversations I've had have, have had an impact for sure. Yeah. And people will tell me that. I mean, we all do.
ROMA: I think people, most of us have no idea the effect that we're having on others. Cause you know, we sort of think, well, I'm just living and doing my life. Like, you know, what. There's nothing special here, but everybody does. Every person who knows somebody else who goes out and, and touches someone who talks to a stranger, like you're impacting someone's life.
ROMA: We're all doing it. It's a collective, a collective. It really is. We
AMY: are. We do have one question. Will you take it?
ROMA: Yeah, of course.
AMY: Great. Hi, Roma.
HOPE: Hi. Um, my name's Hope. Um, I'm, I'm in Colorado. So, you know, we're kind of a cool state at times, but we're also a really freaking red state at times. And the LGBTQ community has You know, definitely had a lot of ups and downs, especially in the springs that I live, you know, I live in the springs and, uh, I've got, um, several, um, gay, lesbian, queer friends up in Denver.
HOPE: Denver is, you know, the safe zone. Um, my son, 18 years old, just came out this year. Um, so, yeah. Um, and we're still not. We're not really talking about it with the entire family yet, and that's something he's got he wants to take the time to address on his own. It's his story to tell. But a comment that you made Rama was that the youth today.
HOPE: Needs to understand what was fought for them, so they have these rights that they didn't have, you know, even 10 years ago. God, we couldn't, you couldn't go and get married. I I'm 50 years old, so back in the 80s, um, you know, several of my friends were starting to come out and what we had to fight for, for them to even feel safe in this community was insane.
HOPE: So I am still trying to get an 18 year old son to understand truly what you have been given and what you need to continue to fight for so that those that fought ahead of you didn't fight in vain and that you understand just as you mentioned the comment. About women's rights. Again, another hot topic for me, but we're not going to go there right now is how quickly those rights can just be bashed.
HOPE: You know, you have the wrong fucking person in the White House that can stack all of what was supposed to keep us safe, and it can just be wiped away,
ROMA: right? You know? Yeah, it's it can feel Kind of scary. It can feel like you sometimes I think I think that most of us are like going what is Happening like it's something we'll see something in the news.
ROMA: We're like, is this real like what in the hell? But first of all, let me say Congratulations and having a good time. And thank you. Thank you for being you know, somebody that he felt safe enough to come to And it tell you that and that you're respecting his boundaries and it sounds like supporting him and loving him.
ROMA: And that is really what's going to save his life. And that's, that's a gift and that is a beautiful thing to see. And you know, the rest of the family, but some will come right along and some won't and you'll, you know, you'll all figure that out together. But I, you know, I don't want, I don't want, um, your son to, to feel like, um, to be afraid or to live in trepidation or feel like.
ROMA: You know, am I going to be okay? I want everybody to feel like they're going to be okay. So I, I think, but that's the thing that one of the battles that we're fighting now is they're trying to squelch all the black history and LGBTQ history and even saying the word gay and education, right? And that's why it's so important.
ROMA: So if you are inclined, like there's some great, I don't know what the bookstores are like in Colorado, but in San Francisco, there's this book called fabulosa books. It's on the Castro. And I'm doing a fundraiser with them. They're sending banned books to schools, like in red states. So we're raising money for that, which I think is fabulous.
ROMA: But if you
HOPE: lead people to where we can donate, cause I want to donate to that. That's badass.
ROMA: Yeah. You could totally donate to that, but you could also get some books for your kid, right? Like reading is so important and there's so many great books and stories for, uh, your son to read and to see other people like him and to learn all kinds of beautiful things.
ROMA: I mean, how exciting to be 18 and to have this, the whole, your whole life ahead of you. I hope that his life is just gorgeous. Me too.
HOPE: And he's a gorgeous soul. So, thank you. I just had to say what you said about that, um, you know, just really, I've been waiting for my chance to speak on it. So, thank you for, you know, saying what you did, because that was really important to me as a parent and, and of a child that, you know, well, a young man.
HOPE: That is just spreading his, his roots and learning about himself more.
ROMA: So thank you. Yeah, absolutely. Nice to meet you, Hope.
AMY: And of course, we will get a copy of Party of None as soon as Roma writes and publishes it. And we'll get a copy of that for your son. That'll be, that'll be my gift to him as soon as it comes
HOPE: I would love that. But if you can tell me how to donate to that bookstore in San Fran is like my favorite place in the world. So. I'm kind of jealous there.
ROMA: said, Romi, you said Fabulosa, F A B U L O S A books. com and that you can go to the website and you can see all the fabulous books and you can learn about the fundraiser and all that stuff.
ROMA: The front page has books, not bands. That's the link.
AMY: Thank you. For those of you who are listening, we'll put that link in the show notes as well. And what about Roma people who want to support and donate to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? How can they do
ROMA: that? Oh, yes, please visit the sisters. org. The sisters.
ROMA: That is our website. We have all the events that are happening that we have a meet the sisters section where you can learn more of the sisters and read the hilarious names. My name is like the most boring. Sorry. It's just my full name is sister. There's no place like Rome. Listen, I, I was in a hurry. Like they, they, they elevated me so quickly.
ROMA: It was a different time in 1985. I was a novice for like a week. And so I, I have a love for the wizard of Oz. So that's kind of like where my name comes from. But, um, As you can see the read a little bit of the history, a lot of the more elaborate about some of the things that I've talked about. It's a really, it's a good website and you can also apply for grants there and donate.
ROMA: Yes, and
AMY: volunteer, even if you're not an official sister, they, they still accept volunteer help, correct?
ROMA: Oh, yeah, of course.
AMY: Yeah, that's especially, I mean, you don't have to be in the San Francisco area. I believe the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are in a dozen countries, four continents, something
ROMA: like that.
ROMA: Yeah, we're all over the United States, that's for sure. And we're in a lot of Europe, we're in Sydney, we're, yeah, it's insane. We're like Starbucks. Thanks. Coming to a, coming to a corner near you.
AMY: Do you have any, like, closing benediction for our listeners, a blessing that you can lay upon us from the great and wonderful benevolent Sister Roma?
ROMA: I will quote Drake, moment for life, Nicki Minaj, and I will say that everybody dies but not everybody lives. So get out there and live.
AMY: I honestly, I cannot thank you enough, of course, for sitting down with me today, but also for just being this beam of light. I think my first Exposure to the sisters was maybe Sister Indica, something to do with James St.
AMY: James's YouTube channel or something like that, and it was, it was in a, it was the lighting of a candle in my heart, just like Sister Unity said, like, who are these people? What are they doing? And how can I learn more? And, you know, that was 10, 12, maybe more years, more than that years ago, and to sit here with you is like, there are no words.
AMY: Your benevolence simply emanates from you, and they say never meet your heroes, and yet here we are. Here I am, more in love with you than I thought I could ever possibly be having read about you and your work. I just want to say, keep up the great work. Like you've been a sister for 36 years. You're not slowing down.
AMY: You've raised millions of dollars. You've saved countless lives. You've improved millions of lives and, and. Including my own. I, I wrote, I wrote in the script for the episode that comes before this, like, one of the greatest things about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is knowing that they exist. All the volunteer work is wonderful.
AMY: Everything that you do is wonderful. But just knowing that I live in a universe with queer drag nuns who are not mocking nuns, but who are nuns, it makes me feel like it's going to be okay. Oh, I love that. It's all going to be okay. It is.
ROMA: It is. It is. And it is.
AMY: It is. Thank you again so much, Roma. And I'm sure our listeners will be heading to your website in droves.
AMY: And in the meantime,
ROMA: Thank you so much. Thanks to everybody for listening too. You
AMY: must be a witch. If you want to support the Missing Witches project, find out how at missingwitches. com