The Three Sisters is a humorous, adult satire about three former nuns who just want to have fun, but when they get in trouble with the law, they become nuns on the run. The three nuns in the novel are Coito Gott, the rebel, Theodora Suora, the intellectual, and Regina Grant, who loves mirth, movies and music. For this guest blog, rather than providing advice for the millionth time on how to write and get published, I have asked one of them to talk about one of their favorite nuns of the past. Your turn, Coito.
One of my favorite nuns was Doña Catalina de Erauso. She was a rebel’s rebel who would have stood up to d’Artagnan. I’m not aware of any graphic novels based upon her life, but one should certainly be written.
I read about Doña Catalina in Leslie Byrd Simpson’s Many Mexicos. Doña Catalina was born in Spain in the early 1600s. Her parents put her in the convent at the age of four and decided. She stayed there until she was 15 when she was beaten by one of the nuns. She probably hated being in the convent, so she escaped a few days later wearing men’s clothing. She continued to pass herself off as a man, calling herself Francisco de Loyola, to avoid being sent back to the convent. She quickly learned the skills she needed to survive, and became a swordswoman terrorizing men in Spain, Mexico, Peru, Chile and points in between.
She left Spain for Spanish America and became a soldier, fighting in both Peru and Chile. Even back in the 1600s, killing people would eventually got you in trouble with the law, and this is how Dona Catalina’s true identity was eventually discovered. After killing another man in a fight in which she thought herself mortally wounded, she confessed to her sex, her virginity, and having been a nun. She had fooled everyone on three levels. Not only was she a woman instead of a man, not only was she a virgin instead of a marauding rapist, as some of her colleagues doubtless were, but she was a former nun and not a soldier. She confessed her sex and past to Fray Agustin de Carvajal, and he persuaded her to go into a convent.
While Doña Catalina was in the convent, tales of the swashbuckling nun started to spread, and she soon became famous. She left the convent and went to Spain, arriving there in 1624. By that time, her reputation had achieved such a level that Juan Perez de Montalvan wrote a play about her entitled La Comedia Famosa de la Monja Alferez. From Spain, she went to Rome and toured Italy telling blood-curdling tales to entranced listeners. She was just as successful at telling stories as she had been at soldiering.
Pope Urban VIII was so fascinated by the tales of the cross-dressing, swashbuckling nun that he gave her special dispensation to wear male clothing, instead of a habit, for the rest of her life. Impressed with the way she could manipulate men in power, she went to King Philip IV of Spain and got him to grant her a pension of 500 pesos per annum, which was easy to for the King to do since he was broke.
Since she couldn’t depend upon a non-existent pension, she returned to Mexico in 1645, and became a muleteer and the terror of the Mexico City-Veracruz road. While in Mexico, she fell in love with the wife of a young hidalgo. The husband, being quite backward, even for the 1600s, told her to get lost and leave his wife alone. Doña Catalina challenged him to a duel, which never occurred, but I’m sure Catalina would have won. She died in 1650, though surely not of a broken heart. Let’s face it, they just don’t make nuns like they used to.
by Bryan Taylor
About The Author
Bryan Taylor is a double PK, a preacher’s kid of a preacher’s kid. With that legacy he faced two destinies, being an unhappy triple PK (Jubilees 17:23, “He that is born unto the son of a preacher and himself preaches shall be miserable until his dying day and suffer eternal damnation.”), or being sacrilegious and happy.
He decided to forsake the Southern Baptists for Catholicism, but when he applied to join a convent, he was rejected (sex discrimination!), so he decided to do the next best thing: write a novel about the three nuns he would most like to meet.
Bryan Taylor was born in Louisiana, grew up in Michigan and Texas, went to school in Tennessee, South Carolina and California, taught in Switzerland for a year, and has traveled to 50 countries, more than any Pope except Saint John Paul II. He now lives in California, which is one of the few places with people crazier than him.
About The Book
Genre: Humor, Satire
Publisher: Dragon Tree Books
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Driving back to Washington D.C. where they work at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Parts, the three sisters are arrested in Tennessee. After defeating the local deputy in strip poker, they escape from jail, and are pursued by the zealous Detective Schmuck Hole, who has personally offered a $10,000 reward for their capture on the 700 Club. Little do they know that when the three sisters visit the Washington Monument, their lives will change forever.
Set in 1979, The Three Sisters is a sacrilegious satire that skewers not only organized religion, but the government, the media, intellectuals, corporate greed and every other part of the establishment. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but possibly the funniest.
“Blessed are they who read The Three Sisters, for they shall inherit eternal laughter.” — Matthew 5:66
“The most pestilential book ever vomited out of the jaws of Hell.” — Billy Sunday
“Les trois soeurs valent bien une messe.” – Henry IV
“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi che leggete Le Tre Sorelle.” – Dante Alighieri
Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that reading The Three Sisters may lead to Eternal Damnation. Side effects may include a renewed sense of humor and a better sex life.
One of our goals in Catholic School was to save the Pagan Babies. For only five dollars, which seemed like a pretty good deal to me, we could get a Pagan Baby baptized and sent to heaven. They even showed us short movies of Catholic missionaries in Africa baptizing the Pagan babies to spur us on. We could buy a saint stamp for ten cents to paste in a book, and when the book was full, we could redeem the book for a Pagan Baby, whom we could name on our Pagan Baby Adoption Certificate. When we were first told about this opportunity, I rushed home to my parents and said, “Guess what, I’m going to have a baby, and she’s black,” which would have given my dad multiple heart attacks were it not for the biological impossibility of my statement at that tender age.
These Catholic equivalents to S&H Green Stamps prepared us for the future because they taught us how to buy on the installment plan. I asked our teacher if our book were half full, if we could we redeem it for half a Pagan Baby, but she said no, so there was always a rush to fill the book before the Pagan Baby Awards Day ceremony. There was a poster with Jesus in a pastoral scene at the front of the classroom and every time someone adopted a Pagan Baby, we got to add a child to the poster. By the end of the school year, Jesus had become the most prolific father in history.
In a way I thought the pagans were lucky. They automatically went to limbo and didn’t risk going to Hell until the missionaries baptized them. I could just imagine tribes fleeing the missionaries to make sure they kept their spot reserved in limbo. When my mother told me that our dog had gone to “Doggie Heaven,” I wondered whether unbaptized pagan dogs went to “Doggie Limbo.”
After realizing that once the Pagan Babies were baptized, they too would need a Catechism to guide them along the straight and narrow path, I wrote K’s Catechism for Cannibals in perfect Palmer Method penmanship, providing dozens of important questions and answers as well as prayers written just for the pagan cannibals.
Q: Is it better to cook a Virgin Martyr or a Heretic?
A: It is better to cook a Virgin Martyr than a Heretic because the Virgin Martyr is sweeter to the palate and the meat is softer to cook than that of a Heretic.
Q: Should a converted Cannibal woman continue to walk around topless?
A: A converted Cannibal should continue to walk around topless because Priests are celibate and will not be tempted.
I even provided the cannibals with a prayer to say before each meal.
Our Martyr, who hath been cooked, blessed be thy meat. Thy flesh be done, so thy sweet taste will fill us when we eat.
I sold my literary creation to my fellow students for a dime and then contributed all my earnings to converting the Pagan Babies in Africa. Despite my altruistic intentions, when the sisters got a copy of my addition to the canon, they imposed an excessive number of penances on me. The nun who imposed the greatest guilt and fear in us was Sister Mary Margaret whom we referred to as Attilla the Nun because she behaved more like a four-foot, ten-inch tall Auschwitz prison matron than a Sister of Mercy. Some students were convinced that not only did she have eyes in the back of her head, but that the Blessed Virgin Mary had endowed her with the ability to see through walls and read our minds. It was rumored that she made extra money in the summer by training Marine Drill Sergeants, and we had no doubt that she gave every penny she made to the church. We joked that Satan would rather do battle with the Archangel Gabriel than Sister Mary Margaret because at least Satan had a chance with Gabriel. Even K watched her step around Attila the Nun.