b. Jeanine Deckers, 17 October 1933, Belgium, d. 31 March 1985, Wavre, Belgium. Better known as Sister Luc Gabrielle of the Fichermont convent in Waterloo, Belgium, this guitar-playing vocalist came to prominence after signing to Philips Records in 1961. Their Belgium branch issued her album Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile), which sold well on the continent. One of the songs, the French sung ‘Dominique’, a breezy tribute to the founder of the Dominican order, captured the imagination of the international record-buying public and became a worldwide hit, reaching number 1 in the USA during Christmas 1963. Her album also reached the top of the US charts in the same month and she received the Grammy Award for ‘Best Gospel Or Religious Recording’ of 1963. Revenue for the sales of her work was contributed to foreign missions. Although the Singing Nun appeared on the prestigious Ed Sullivan Show, she failed to secure a hit follow-up. However, Debbie Reynolds starred in a biopic of the nun’s life and the movie was advertised with a shot of Soeur Sourire riding a scooter and playing an acoustic guitar. Worldly trappings eventually enticed Deckers from the convent in October 1966. She changed her name to Luc Dominique and recorded the controversial ‘Glory Be To God For The Golden Pill’. She later set up a school for autistic children with her friend Annie Pescher, but in March 1985 the pair took a fatal overdose of alcohol and barbiturates. At the time they owed $63, 000 in back taxes for money earned during Deckers’ singing career, despite the fact that all proceeds had gone to the convent.
Share this page