TNB Night Owl – Meowing Nuns

Sister Cristina Scuccia on Battle Rounds. Photo by Dane Alegana.

After Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act movies and the performance of Sister
Cristina Scuccia
in 2014 (go hit that link if you don’t remember the 2018 Owl), people have become comfortable with the notion of singing nuns.

The same cannot be said of meowing nuns. Or at least, it couldn’t be said in 14th century France. It is one of the most famous cases of mass hysteria, in part because it is one of the earliest recorded cases. The sourcing of the event stems from an 1844 research text, which in tun cited an unspecified medical casebook regarding the incident. The lack of specificity isn’t as questionable as it would be today; many older books were known to lack title pages or any distinction on the binding, and in many cases “medical text” might be as complete a description as would be available.

Details of the meowing were provided. At a large convent in northern France, a nun began to make meowing noises at irregular intervals. Nuns in those days were often women who’d been forced into church service because of social issues… poverty, moral concerns and the simple lack of desire for parents to care for an older child were as likely to push someone into a convent as was devotion to faith. With that in mind, it was likely that the meowing would be taken as a sign of rebellion.

The problem was that the nun insisted that she couldn’t control it… and then another nun started meowing. And another.

Cats were seen as agents of Satan by many churchgoers; any strange noise would have been suspect, but meowing by nuns was seen as a direct attack by the forces of evil. The meows continued, and soon (as the report goes) the majority of the convent was meowing. The sisters were adamant that they were unable to control themselves.

A solution was eventually found. The king sent soldiers in to club the nuns with sticks until they stopped meowing. It was unjust… but it worked. The meowing stopped, as if Satan had been sated by arranging to have a bunch of nuns bludgeoned.

If they’d only had a French version of The Voice, maybe the violence could have been avoided.

Question of the night: What’s a song you enjoy that has a female singer?

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.

About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.