Did you know that Italy has it’s own version of the hit singing show “The Voice”? For that matter, did you know that there is a hit singing show called “The Voice”?
Both statements are true, and Italy’s show made international headlines back in March when 25-year-old Ursuline Sister Cristina Scuccia, complete in black nun’s habit and crucifix around her neck, stunned judges during the tryouts with her rendition of Alicia Keys’ song “No One.”
A little background info: The “gimmick” of The Voice is that judges, who have their backs to the stage during tryouts, must decide whether or not they want to keep a singer based on his or her voice alone, not appearance. As such, it turns out that this gimmick was the perfect avenue for a talented, energetic nun seeking to evangelize the world through pop culture.
“I have a gift,” she told the judges after her tryouts, “and I am giving it to you.”
Week after week in front of a national audience, Sister Cristina sang, danced and won the continued admiration of judges and fans as she worked her way up to the finale — all the while clad in her black habit and sensible nun’s shoes. Then, in early June, Sister Cristina was declared the winner of “The Voice.”
It’s worthwhile to note here that not everyone in Catholic circles has been pleased to see Sister Cristina performing on stage. Some critics have claimed that by being on stage she was “taking on the trappings of the world” and perhaps glorifying herself instead of God.
With that in mind, let’s fast-forward to the finale. Sister Cristina is crowned the winner of “The Voice” (with a fellow sister calmly applauding her in the audience), unloads her trophy to her coach and — as soon as she could get a word in edgewise — thanked God above all else.
“My presence here is not up to me, it’s thanks to the man upstairs,” she said. Pointing to the heavens, Sister Cristina declared that it was her dream to recite the Our Father with everyone present, right then. With the “Is this lady serious?” thought bubbles practically hanging over the heads of the others on stage, Sister Cristina — not about to let the moment pass her by — talked over the incessantly blaring host and began the “Padre Nostro.”
For 24 seconds, Sister Cristina prayed as the judges shuffled their feet, looking anywhere but at her. But there she was, praying the prayer that Jesus taught all of us smack in the middle of Italian prime-time TV. It was awesome.
When asked why she tried out for “The Voice,” Sister Cristina, who was in a band before entering the convent, said she was taking Pope Francis’ words to heart to go out to the peripheries to evangelize. The night she won, she backed that statement up.
“I’m not here to start a career, but because I want to impart a message,” she said,
There you go, folks: the New Evangelization at work.