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Catholic Priest in Italy to Hold a Beauty Contest for Nuns

If you thought the Roman Catholic church was so last century, there is a priest in Italy who’d like to change your mind. And he’s got a creative (I’d call it very outside-the-box) scheme to try to attract new followers. He’s calling it the “Sister Italy” contest, and it’s a beauty contest for nuns.

Yes, you read that right – a beauty contest for nuns.

Father Antonio Rungi says he feels like nuns get a bad rap for being thought of as “straitlaced and funereal.” It’s an unfortunate image, he thinks, given that “there are nuns from Africa and Latin America who are really very, very lovely. The Brazilians, particularly,” according to Rungi. He came up with the idea while chatting with some nuns on a beach outside Naples – they were assisting him with his task for that day, where he was trying to get sun-worshipping Italian vacationers to perform a different kind of worship and say the rosary with him – and Rungi says it was the nuns themselves who came up with the idea.

The first “Sister Italy” contest will be held online on Rungi’s website, on which he’ll post photos of nuns who enter themselves and send in their own pictures. But it’s not just about looks, because each photograph will be next to something each contestant can write about herself (such as what order she belongs to and the duties she performs). And according to the Guardian article, “Aspirants to the title of Sister Italy will also be expected to reveal something of their ‘lives and miracles.'”

I have to admit that I find myself chuckling at the fact that Father Rungi is a member of the Passionist Order. Somehow, the name is altogether too fitting.

>> For more about the Sister Italy contest, see the Guardian article, and Father Rungi’s online noticeboard (his site seems to be having some loading issues, perhaps because of all the attention about the “Sister Italia” contest, so if you have trouble with it – know you’re not alone!).