Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Soeur “SINGING NUN” Sourire)

Philips 40152

No. 1    December 7, 1963




In the spring of  1963, the bespeckled and rosy-faced Belgium nun Sister Luc-Gabrielle (b. Janine  Deckers,

1933) and a chorus of four other nuns from a convent in Fichermont, Belgium, recorded a dozen or so

original tunes at the Philips studios in Brussels.  Deckers’ songs had been winners at youth retreats held at

the monastery, and the order’s elders wanted Philips Records to record and press up several hundred

copies for the convent’s own  use.   Big-wigs at the label, delighted with the simple, uplifting creations the

good sister was offering, decided to test-market some of her recordings in Europe.   An album released as

by Soeur Sourire (“Sister Smile”) sold well, so thatThe Singing Nun  and a single, “Dominique”– Deckers’

tribute to the founder of the Dominican order–were issued in the States.


The response was unbelievable.  Both the album and single rocketed to the top of the charts and stayed

there for  weeks.   The  sister with the smile in her voice appeared on “The Ed   Sullivan Show” and more

singles were released–but interest in the Sister’s plaintive sound waned as  quickly as it had waxed.    The

Singing Nun, a 1966 Debby Reynolds flick bombed, but the sister’s waxing did gather $100,000 for her

Dominican order.


“I’m not a singer who happens to be a nun.  I am a nun who happens to sing,” said Deckers to McCall‘s.  

“My missionary work is my life.”


Abruptly in 19665, the singer stopped.  The doors of the Convent of Fichermont closed to the outside

world.  Photographs and interviews with the sister were prohibited.


The following year, sister Luc-Gabriel left the convent.  she attempted to continue her singing career, and,

to the dismay of many church brethen, she recorded a poorly received pro-birth control tune, “Glory Be To

God For The Golden Pill.”


Janine Deckers and her companion of ten years, Anne Pecher, committed suicide in Belguim in 1985.  The

two women reportedly downed a massive amount of barbiturates with alcohol.  Both had been in despair

after a center for autistic children that they had founded was closed due to lack of funds.  The Belgian

government had also been hounding Miss Deckers for a large sum of back taxes.