Monday, July 14, 2008

Post-modern Vignette #1

When Ed Sullivan heard there was a nun who had gained some popularity singing in Brussels, he was on the next plane over. He brought back Janine Deckers, an actual Dominican nun known as Sœur Sourire (“Sister Smile”) who played folk guitar, sang in French, and got about Brussels on a motor-scooter. After appearing on the Sullivan Show, Sister Sourire’s “Dominique” became a hit-record, peaking on the pop charts at #1 during Christmas week of 1963. That year she won a Grammy award for “Best Gospel or Religious Recording” and later Debbie Reynolds portrayed her in a film biography.

But the same year the film was made, Deckers become disenchanted with religious life, leaving the Fichermont Convent (before having taken final vows) in October of 1966. Though she claimed to have donated all of her royalties to her convent, the Belgian government nonetheless held her liable for as much as $63,000- in back taxes. Now recording under her own name, Deckers tried vainly to duplicate her earlier success, producing such oddities as “Glory Be To God For The Golden Pill” and an updated electronic version of “Dominique” twenty years after the original.

Having faded into obscurity, Sister Sourire made headlines once again in March of 1985, when she was found dead of a massive overdose of barbiturates and alcohol in her modest apartment in Wavre, Belgium.

Anne Pecher, for twenty years the lesbian lover of Janine Deckers, was found with her.

Also dead from an immense quantity of goof-balls washed down with booze.

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