CONVENTORY – Wednesday’s Wordapod

So, what would you call the detailed listing of nuns in a convent?

If you like “conventory”, pick up a copy of Wordapodia, Volume One: An Encyclopedia of Real Fake Words, where you will find more than 250 other creative, fun Wordapods.






Conventory (n) – a complete listing of the amount of nuns (formerly a list of the total number of monks, friars and nuns) living in a particular convent


Who Knew…?

The conventory is a fairly recent phenomenon that I just became aware of. I spoke with Hilda McLune, author of the illuminating new book, Nuns on the Run:  Creatures of Habit to find out more.

Matt:  Hilda, when were the first conventories utilized?

Hilda:  They appear to date back to the 1950’s, due to the exploits of Sister Marie Pellegrino.

Matt:  What can you tell our readers about her?

Hilda:  Sister Marie “Sweet Feet” Pellegrino allegedly became a nun after her father forced her to break up with her longtime boyfriend, a small-time Baltimore area hood named Swigs McAdams. Most of the time, she studied her new calling quite earnestly, but every now and then she got the urge to secretly visit Swigs, and see what he was up to.

It seemed as though every other Saturday between 1953 and 1955, Sister Marie would take a short walk, and then discreetly change into a pair of blue jeans and a black sweater before scaling the stone walls of St. Sadie Convent in Baltimore. After spending anywhere from a few hours to several days with Swigs, she would invariably return to St. Sadie’s, repent sincerely, and be accepted back into the fold.

Matt:  Did she go on these, um, excursions alone?

Hilda:  Not always. On some of these clandestine trips, Sister Marie would bring a group of the other nuns with her, comprising a gang that came to be known as either “The Traveling Swigs Sisters,” or “Pellegrino’s Posse.”  One of the other ladies, Bertie “Numbers” Culligan, never returned, deciding to pursue a career as a loan shark. Another, Domenica Rosenzsweig, was not accepted back; she received a pink slip to go with her black habit. Domenica became a very successful high school lacrosse coach.

Matt:  So, what became of “Sweet Feet?”

Hilda:  Sister Marie, with her sweet, beatific smile, was accepted back every time, but all the comings and goings had the powers-that-be at St. Sadie’s instituting a weekly conventory of their residents.

Eventually, Swigs had a heart-to-heart talk with Marie, and convinced her to continue to honor her calling as a nun.

Matt:  And what of Swigs?

Hilda:  In 1959, fed up with his life in crime and despondent that he could not see Sister Marie anymore, Swigs McAdams went into politics—eventually serving two terms in the Clinton Administration.


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