The self-described ‘most photographed nun in the world,’ San Francisco’s own Sister Roma is entering her sixth decade on this mortal coil today.
Do you have someone special in your life that you fall into uncontrollable — gut-busting fits of laughter? On many occasions, I’ve walked away from a particular person… because I was laughing so hard I was going to piss my panties. That person, for me, is the self-proclaimed”most photographed nun in the world,” the astonishing Sister Roma!
This week we celebrate her birth – as she turns the big 6-0! She is an activist, fundraiser, Master of Ceremonies, a glamorous clown (I lifted that off of her Wikipedia), and has been a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence since 1987. An organization that has not only brought smiles to our faces but has helped to raise millions of dollars to help our community thrive.
Roma and I have been friends and have run around San Francisco streets for over 30 years. Together we have been involved in events that have run the gamut from nonprofit galas to porn awards. We have stood at podiums, spoken about our community’s importance, mourned, and celebrated our triumphs. But I’ve always let Miss Thing take control of the mic; I’ve never felt confident speaking in public. And she’s been applauded for being one of the most spontaneously funny emcees in our queer history. I believe her ability to handle the microphone — comes from all the years she has spent in the adult film industry as an art director. Simply put, she is in high demand to host community and charity events throughout the city — contact her directly for bookings. She is getting old and could use the gigs.
Now, I don’t know what it’s like to turn 60, so I reached out to friends to hear their thoughts about that milestone. First, I wanted to understand its importance fully. Right off the top, most envisioned a little old lady with a gray bun on their head. Fortunately, that’s not Sister Roma. At least not yet. But, on the other hand, the overwhelming consensus was that turning 60 isn’t “getting old.” It is old.
She has been a constant friend, cat lover, turkey feather collector, and do-gooder with no turn-off valve. We are neighbors and have sometimes had to tell each other when to take a break as true sister confidants should. I’ve also learned that if I was to cook her dinner — the dish must include peanut butter and or mayonnaise.
Ultimately, I know she won’t stop, can’t cease or desist, and will continue to do great things for our community. She will keep moving forward; San Francisco is lucky to have her.
But remember…. older people need more care and loads of love.
Happy Birthday, Roma!
Loads of love,
Juanita MORE! is a denizen of the limelight. For almost three decades, the laudable hostess has blitzed San Francisco with high glamour, drag irreverence, and danceable beats that have illuminated the entire city. MORE! continues to be a heaping dollop of generosity and a sprinkle of nerve. She inspires those around her to make positive differences in their lives and communities — and doing it all with timeless elegance and an innovative spirit. Most recently, after her reign, Miss MORE! holds the title of Absolute Empress 56 of the Imperial Council of San Francisco –– one of the oldest non-profit organizations globally.
To date, MORE! has helped raise over 1 million dollars for local charities — among them GBLT Historical Society & Archives, Our Trans Youth, Q Foundation, Queer Lifespace, Transgender Law Center, and more. In addition, MORE! tirelessly fundraises for organizations in San Francisco that are adamant about helping communities in the seven-by-seven thrive, all while shining light and offering support to those who’ve been overlooked for far too long.
MORE! embodies what it means to be a conduit of connection. MORE!’ brings the people together to fundraise, celebrate community, and demand social change around San Francisco and elsewhere. Her culinary expressions are an extension of what mothers have been doing in their kitchens for generations — which, simply states, is sharing “loads of love.”