If you haven’t seen the video of the Singing Nun in Italy on “The Voice of Italy,” you really must join the 36 million who have. “Glee”fully, I watched on youtube the 25 year old Sister Christina’s performance of Alicia Keys, “No One.” As the song unfolded I was swept along with the audience’s excitement as she drew us up and up, into her charismatic crescendo, and never let us down.
At first I thought having a nun perform on The Voice of Italy was a gimmicky move. I mean really, what could be more outrageous than hearing a nun, in full conventional nun garb, singing Alicia Keys on popular TV on the Vatican’s home turf. It seems almost irreverent.
But in reality, the Catholic church is getting way more relevant and approachable these days, as seen in the popularity of the new Pope Francis. Even the Vatican’s Minister of Culture applauded her efforts by quoting the scriptures when asked about her performance saying, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others (1 Peter 4:10).” Sister Christina went viral with her performance and her hash tag #suorcristina set the twittersphere on fire.
“I have a gift and I am giving it to you,” Sister Cristina said, according to the English captions on YouTube (to get the captions, click on the ‘cc’ icon on the bottom right). “Shouldn’t things be this way?”
So why do we love the Singing Nun? Why does this singing nun strike a chord in so many of us?
She’s doing the unexpected and frankly it feels taboo for a nun to be singing on an extremely commercial program such as The Voice. A nun on The Voice is a juxtaposition that is just not supposed to happen and that in and of itself feels outrageous and gets us revved up. What makes this performance outrageously delightful is the glaring contrast of the glam aura of the The Voice, which is diametrically opposed to the asceticism of a nun’s life. The contrast of commercial and spiritual merge seamlessly in Sister Christina’s performance.
We also love the nun because we love discovering superstars. Sister Christina blows away the religious barriers and stereotypes with just one powerful song. The Voice has created a fantastic venue for discovering new raw talent. Over the years of watching The Voice, we’ve heard profiles of small town hard luck kids and watched them come on the stage, defying their past, and creating a brighter future for themselves in front of our eyes.
So now we watch in awe as the Singing Nun finds her unique voice and takes over the stage with passion and soul and we begin to stand up and cheer with the audience as we realize that she is not only good, she is a gift to us all. Her joyous fresh spirit, and her soulful voice win us over.
And it makes us believe that anything is possible. Even in the guise of the most humble of all, a nun, we hear what people are capable of.
Make no mistake; Sister Christina is on the job so to speak. When asked what the Vatican thought of her audition. “I really don’t know, I am waiting for Pope Francis to call me on the phone. He always says we should go out and evangelize, telling us God doesn’t take anything away from us, but will give us more. I am here for this.”
A Singing Nun rockin’ out on The Voice — it appears there is no Hollywood style trickery here. Sister Christina is a reminder that there is power within each of us and given the right opportunity, the right stage, we too can find our own voice.