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Top 5 Most Badass Nuns Of All Time

by Jamie Frater
fact checked by dickensgirl

Nuns used to be pure virgin ladies that gave their lives up for God. With this responsibility came long robes, rosary beads, and straps (for smacking non-nuns). These women terrorized many a child with their rules and regulations and an amazing ability to tell whether you had sinned or not. Luckily most of them used their power wisely.

Nun Ruler

What you probably don’t know, is that five nuns in particular were total badasses. This list is dedicated to Sister Rosein… the bane of my childhood.

5. Sister Caterina de Erazu – Hitman in a Habit


Caterina de Erazu was a run-away Spanish nun turned hitwoman in the early 1600s. She ended her career as an almost respectable Mexican mule train driver, after being personally pardoned by the Pope (Clerics and religious were tried by clerical courts, and no one could figure out what to do with a badass nun, so they just kept kicking the case to a higher court. The Pope just found the whole thing fascinating and pardoned her). Being a hitman in a habit is sufficiently badass to put Sister Caterina on this list, but wait… there’s more…

Caterina died following a duel with the husband of a lady she was hot for! It appears that Sister Caterina was America’s first bulldyke independent teamster. Apparently her life story was written in 1641 – unfortunately we can’t find the name of the book or its author!

4. Ani Pachen – Warrior Nun

Dolma Ling Older Ani Web Size

Ani Pachen was born in 1933 in Tibet. When she was 17 her parents decided to marry her off – but she had other plans! She ran away and moved in to a Buddhist Monastery (3 weeks journey away) and became a Buddhist nun. In 1958 when her father died, she became the leader of her family clan. She took up arms and became a warrior nun – fighting to keep the commies from China out of her homeland. She led her people in guerilla warfare for a year. The Chinese caught her and threw her in jail because she refused to renounce the Dalai Lama. She was beaten and hung by her wrists for a week, spent a year in leg irons and was flung for nine months into solitary confinement in an unlit cell. The last 11 years of her sentence were spent in the infamous Drapchi prison in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

As soon as she was released from Prison 21 years later, she went right back to her warrior ways, leading protests and demonstrations. She found out she was going to be put in jail again so she ran away to the border of Tibet. She walked for 25 days in the deep snow to escape to Nepal. She died in 2002.

3. Hildegard of Bingen – Genius


Hildegard of Bingen was born in 1098 to a wealthy family and dedicated to the Church as a nun. When she was 8 she was sent to study with a famous abbess called Jutta (who was, herself, a badass: she lived in a tiny room with no doors and had to be fed through the window!) Hildegard became the abbess of the nunnery when Jutta died. Hildegard turned out to be a genius – she wrote music (the first opera in fact), she wrote letters to Popes giving them advice (when Popes were pretty much the bosses of the whole world), and she was the first woman to write about female sexuality:

When a woman is making love with a man, a sense of heat in her brain, which brings with it sensual delight, communicates the taste of that delight during the act and summons forth the emission of the man’s seed. And when the seed has fallen into its place, that vehement heat descending from her brain draws the seed to itself and holds it, and soon the woman’s sexual organs contract, and all the parts that are ready to open up during the time of menstruation now close, in the same way as a strong man can hold something enclosed in his fist.

She also invented her own version of Latin and a new alphabet and had visions throughout her whole life which she wrote about in her journals. She is considered a Saint and her feast day is on September 17th.

2. Sister Luc Gabriel – better than Elvis


Sister Luc Gabriel (Jeanine Deckers) was best known as the Singing Nun. This nun was so badass that her song Dominque became such a hit that it knocked Elvis Presley off the charts! Overnight, the Dominican nun was an international celebrity with the stage name of Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile). She gave concerts and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. Her fame went to her head and she eventually left the convent to spend more time on her musical career.

At the same time she shacked up with her lesbian lover and released a song “Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill” singing the praises of the contraceptive pill. After her first album none of her music was very successful. In 1982, she and her girlfriend committed suicide together by taking sleeping tablets with alcohol.

You can see her hit song Dominque on youtube.

1. Christina The Astonishing

Christina Fit2

Christina the Astonishing was born in 1150 in Belgium. When she was 21 she had a massive seizure and died. Half way through her funeral she jumped out of her coffin and flew to the ceiling! This caused everyone to run from the church screaming. When the priest ordered her down she said that she had seen Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. She also said she could smell the sin on people. Because the smell of sin made her sick, she would often fly (yes really – fly) away from people and sit on the top branches of tall trees. She also hid herself in ovens and on roofs. She lived in a way that was considered poverty even in the 13th century, sleeping on rocks, wearing rags, begging, and eating what came to hand. She would roll in fire or handle it without harm, stand in freezing water in the winter for hours, spend long periods in tombs, or allow herself to be dragged under water by a mill wheel, though she never sustained injury. Despite this incredibly odd (and yet badass) behavior, she was highly regarded in her time and many people asked her for advice. [Image courtesy of Cynthia Large – a brilliant artist who work I strongly recommend you see.]

fact checked by dickensgirl
Jamie Frater

Jamie is the founder of Listverse. When he’s not doing research for new lists or collecting historical oddities, he can be found in the comments or on Facebook where he approves all friends requests!

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