The Order of Perpetual Indulgence is more than just a bunch of people in holy drag. Sisters and Brothers do get to enjoy themselves and are undeniably Glamorous, but we take our mission to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt seriously. The order is active year round. We raise funds for and take part in events, pack and distribute safe sex packs, collect for HIV/AIDS organisations and LGBTIQ rights campaigns, and raise awareness of issues in both those fields.
Okay, already. How do I get involved?
That depends on how much you want to do and whether or not you feel the call of the Habit. Below are the ranks of the Order and they ways in which people are involved. If you make a decision about supporting its work and spreading it’s message.
Then please contact: Mistress of Novices at firstname.lastname@example.org
Henchpeople are our valued lay people who, while they do not feel the call of the Habit right now, give their time and effort to help the Order’s work. They help pack safer sex packs, act as the Sisters’ pack ponies and as the Order’s guards (though this is, thankfully, hardly necessary). Henchpeople do not have to give the same level of commitment as the Sisters, Brothers and Novices (but some do), and you can hench on an ad hoc basis. As well as a fascinating insight into the life and work of the Order, henchpeople also get to hear some of the best gossip in town. Henchpeople do not necessarily adopt a special name, but will often find one bestowed upon them.
There are those who are recruited into special service on a regular basis and continually champion the Order’s work. They are dubbed our Knights Indulgar, and dress accordingly at ceremonial events. Knights Indulgar all have names starting Sir, such as Sir Cum Ference. The outfit could be described as something like the Swiss Guard’s Sash and often has the ceremonial vestments of the Red Ribbon, Pink Heart and Rainbow Flag.
An Aspirant is someone who wishes to become a Sister or Brother, but who has yet to enter the Novitiate. If you feel the call of the Habit, please contact us. We will invite you to meet with us and have a chat. This is so we can get to know each other better and we will want to hear why you want to join the Order—we’re nosy that way. If you are not sure, we recommend that you hench for us a couple of times before adopting the Habit and becoming a Novice.
If you see a Sister or Brother with the title ‘Postulant’ on their badge, it means they’re thinking of adopting the Habit, but is trying it a couple of times first before making the commitment of entering the Novitiate. This stage is optional.
Novices are Sisters and Brothers in training and wear the Habit with a white veil or hood. It is traditional in the Order for men to manifest as Sisters, and for women to manifest as Brothers, but women may now be Sisters if they wish. Novices are supposed to make their own Habits, although other members of the Order will gladly help out. The Novice’s Habit should be fairly plain and traditional with a red ribbon as the only decoration, and maybe a Saltire on the scapular. The Novice’s Habit used to be all white, though this is falling out of use, mostly because male Novices tended to look more like bad Victorian druids than nuns. We will be delighted if you wish to serve your Novitiate all in white and it does increase your chances of getting in the papers or on the telly, especially at night-time events. A Novice may choose to wear a white face, but this is entirely optional in the Australian Order. Novices adopt a special name, usually an excruciating pun, which they may change from time to time until their true Sister/Brother name is revealed to them. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything at first – Pastor Best will come up with something, for sure! We expect a lot of commitment from Novices. The period of Novitiate lasts around two years and Novices must manifest at least four times a year in that period, as well as doing the same ‘behind the scenes’ work that Sisters and Brothers do. In this time you will also be expected to take on one project per year which is your own. This normally involves organising a fundraiser for an HIV/AIDS project or LGBT rights campaign, writing one of our safer sex leaflets, or arranging for us to have a stall or other presence at an event. This web site was originally a Novice project. The other members of the Order will support you, but it’s your baby. At least one member of your Convent will act as your Mother, providing additional support and advice. As you progress, you will take a fuller role in the Order and, eventually, you will be ready to become a…
Fully Professed Sister or Brother
Once they have been given the go-ahead, the final thing a Novice has to organise is their own vows where they take the black veil or hood and become a full member of the Order with all the rights and responsibilities that entails. You will have to sort out the venue and time, and it must be public. The Novice also writes the ritual, though copies of previous ones are available for cribbing purposes.
For those who have devoted their whole lives to the service of the LGBT community there is a special blessing offered by the Order. The Sainthood of Perpetual Indulgence recognises extraordinary contributions of those who have passed or who have achieved great things for the community without seeking personal gain.