When I least expected, the Pope called me. It was a call a little too late, and the conversation was clipped partly because we the Poor Clares are not supposed to have cell phones and partly because the wing where my dingy cell is cell phone network is weak. All other Clares had been asked out either by Cardinals or high ranking priests. The previous night I had realized that I was the Cinderella of Santa Chiara nunnery of San Severino and that I wasn’t going to get my joints oiled by one of the rich and famous priests we always gossiped about in hushed tones when Mother Superior was praying her incessant rosaries in her refurbished cell. So, when I heard the Pope’s Chamberlain’s distorted voice telling me that I was wanted at the Vatican my heart somersaulted and landed in the pit of my stomach in anticipation.
After the three hours ride, the chauffeured limo bearing Vatican diplomatic plates glided down Via di Porta Angelica and connected with Largo del Colonnato but veered to the right to a network of streets and lanes that led to the Passetto, the secret passage between Vatican City and Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. The limo parked outside the church and an aide guided me through the secret tunnel from the tomb of the Roman Emperor Hadrian to the papal apartments where there was a party going on.
It was a day of ‘consistory’ when the pope promoted some cardinals. The newly elevated cardinals hold a private party after the formal celebrations at St. Peter’s Square. Selected nuns, commonly known as ‘visitator di calore’ (visitors of warmth), are invited to warm the church elders’ beds through the night. Anything goes this night, from binge drinking and strip dancing to unprotected sex. Now you know why that nun gave birth and didn’t know she was pregnant until she was taken to hospital after a stomach cramps attack.
I did not know I was the one to warm Pope John XII Young’s bed. After the meals which were served on a naked nun lying in front of each crème de la crème of the Roman Curia officials like an offering, the Pope gave an awkward short speech with his hand around my waist then pulled me to follow him through the adjoining doors after telling the guests that they could leave at their own pleasure. For the rest of the night, I was the high-class call girl nun I was supposed to be, the warmth of the Holy Father’s bed.
Growing up in the capital of Kenya, my parents tried to raise us in the best way they knew: baptism immediately the umbilical cord was cut, Sunday school, catechism and first Holy Communion at the age of eight, Church schools, confession every Sunday, the rosary, and the Crucifix which hung over our beds like a talisman. They did not see the contradictions in Catholicism. The priests were celibate but were caught in bed with married women, impregnated school girls, sodomized altar boys, or had secret families. The nuns dressed like the Virgin Mary, yet they ran bordellos in the name of convents. Adultery was a crime punishable by stoning to death, but my mother visited her toy boy every Wednesday afternoon. And then there was the confession; you hadn’t sinned unless you had committed a mortal sin of which, many a time, I had to fabricate sins when I went for confession so that when I recited the Hail Marys and Our Fathers I was told to for the absolution, I really felt God had forgiven me.
I who was touted to be the Great Prostitute of Babylon right from Sunday school, became a nun, while my sister, whom everyone knew was to bring salvation to our family when she became a nun, surprised everyone when her photos butt-naked surfaced on the internet. Within no time she pumped her boobs and ass with silicon and with all her LLMs, she became the perfect definition of a socialite according to the Nairobi urban dictionary – a young beautiful woman with tantalizing titties (anterior), big ass (posterior) and no brains.
I was counselled out of it during my candidacy and novitiate because there was still time not to take the bold step. Still, when I took my temporary vows against my confessor’s advice, whom I was dating, even the Mother Superior was convinced that I was indeed called and chosen to be a nun. Then I took perpetual vows, and instead of giving myself to God, I offered myself like a burnt offering to the lusty ordained men of the Roman Catholic Church.
I did not know what the Church in Kenya saw in me that I was chosen to join Santa Chiara nunnery in San Severino, Italy. I knew I would serve the church in the Order of the Poor Clares, like Saint Clare of Assisi, the founder, only to be initiated into closely guarded secret church escort service.
This night, Pope John XII the Young shagged me rhythmically as if having sex with an African was a mystical ecstasy. When he looked into my eyes, I wondered what it really felt to listen to people’s sins, and no one listened to yours. When he emptied his holy seed in me, he rolled onto his side panting. I almost called his personal doctor, afraid his heart was attacking him.
In the silence that followed, when he was beginning to breathe heavily, I asked him, “Why John XII the Young?”
After a long silence, he said, “Story goes that Pope John XII, who ruled from 937–964 AD, gave church land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife,” the Holy Father said. “He was not pretentious, hypocritical. He was just human. No one in the world lives without sin.”