Is 'The Sisterhood's Francesca DiPaola a Nun Now? She Might Not Be Ready to Take the Vow Just Yet
Though they seem like diametrically opposed ideas, reality TV and religion often come together to make some great entertainment for viewers at home. We've seen young people leave their traditional Amish upbringing on Breaking Amish, a polygamist family on Sister Wives, and what it's like when your dad's a member of the clergy on Preacher's Daughters. But there hasn't been anything quite like Lifetime's The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns before.
This new Lifetime docuseries premiering Nov. 25 at 10 p.m. chronicles the process of discernment for five young women as they live and work in convents for six weeks. During this time, the ladies experience what living devoted to the sacred vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience will be like. At the end of the six weeks, they must decide whether they wish to return to their normal lives or continue on the spiritual journey to become nuns. Think of it like a test drive, except instead of driving a car you're trying a habit on for size.
Upon starting discernment, these ladies soon learn it's not going to be easy. They're going to have to make many sacrifices, such as not seeing loved ones, not using their cell phones, and not wearing makeup. From the beginning, the cast member that looks like she's going to have the most difficult time in discernment is Francesca DiPaola, who almost immediately has a meltdown in the series premiere over not being allowed to wear makeup.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise to you that I think Francesca is the least likely cast member to continue on to become a nun at the end of discernment. Luckily, with the power of social media, we might not even have to wait until the season finale to find out if Francesca is sticking with the devotional life or not.
One of the first websites I stumbled upon when I searched for Francesca's name was her Backstage profile page, which shows Francesca is an actress. I thought this was interesting because Francesca doesn't mention anything about pursuing an acting career when we first meet her in the series premiere of The Sisterhood. However, Francesca's cast mate Stacey Jackson tells us from the beginning that she had been acting before she became interested in becoming a nun.
I'm always skeptical of the motivation of actors and actresses to be on reality shows, because it really does make it look like they just want exposure for their careers. I'm especially skeptical when they're not forthcoming with their show business past, which is not quelled by any means by the fact that Francesca's Backstage profile seems fairly up-to-date, including the listing of her appearance on The Sisterhood.
Francesca's Instagram profile doesn't make me any more confident that she's still hoping to become a nun. Her profile still lists her occupation as an actor, and many of her photos make it look like Francesca is living a normal 20-something's life in New York, not in a convent. She's wearing makeup, taking photos at bars, and taking a lot of selfies. On Twitter and LinkedIn, she also talks about working as a real estate broker this fall, which is after the show was filmed last summer. She also tweets about getting hit on by guys. None of that seems very nun-like to me.
But then there are tweets like these that make me wonder if maybe Francesca isn't on her way to becoming a nun, but is still in discernment. Maybe she hasn't decided to become a nun yet, but she hasn't not decided to become one either.
The Sisterhood follows the period of discernment for its cast for only six weeks, but apparently, discernment lasts for more than two years for most young women. How could we possibly expect Francesca to decide to take a vow to become a nun for the rest of her life in such a short period of time, especially when it's not even supposed to be like that in reality? You can't.
We're going to have to wait until this season of The Sisterhood ends to know whether or not she has actually decided to become a nun, but my guess is that Francesca, like most Millennials, is still trying to figure it all out.
Image: Scott Gries/Lifetime