Much of what makes The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns so watchable is that it never lets you forget that these young women are just that: young women. They are different from you and I in that they are wholly devoted to the Lord, to the extent that they’re willing to give up everything else, but they also regularly slip into their pre-convent selves. Christie, 27, admits to being a huge flirt and says that becoming a nun is pretty much the only thing that will keep her single. One of the most enthusiastic girls, upon spotting her new uniform, remarks that it’s got a “dope” cross.
There aren’t any men around for the women (or the series) to objectify, so the romantic attention turns toward Jesus (a memorable segment involves one of the potential sisters waxing poetic about her dreams in which Jesus is flirting with her, and their upcoming nuptials). As 26-year-old Stacey stands up her framed photo of Jesus, she says it’s her favorite picture because it’s “handsome surfer Jesus handing out his heart.” She doesn’t mind giving everything up for “this really gorgeous man.” (The Sisterhood‘s “This season on…” preview also includes the girls calling Jesus “the best boyfriend ever” and “the ultimate lover,” while Eseni asks a nun, “What do you think of twerking?” because she learned how to twerk before entering the convent and that’s one of her primary concerns.)
The Sisterhood doesn’t make a mockery of, well, the sisterhood — which is especially surprising considering that the network it’s on, Lifetime, is known for making a mockery of just about everything. But The Sisterhood respects both the girls and the Sisters in the convent, and is judgement free. The Sisters come off as friendly but stern, occasionally frustrated — “Get a grip. It’s not all about you,” one nun says in her interview segment — but overall patient and understanding. (“They are products of their environment,” the latter Sister eventually concludes.) They are supportive because they’re well aware that this one of the toughest decisions these girls will ever have to make. After all, they have all gone through the same thing.
It’s an unfathomable sacrifice to most, this dedication of your entire life to the church, and that’s what makes The Sisterhood both a fascinating watch and an illuminating amateur sociology project. As a docuseries, it succeeds because it wants to shed light on the subjects, not exploit them.