“If there’s a nun in it, I’m laughing,” is something I’ve said more than you’d probably expect. I’ve felt this way since a young age, and have left this feeling mostly unprobed until I started putting together this list. What I’ve learned is that nuns feel habitually out of place, and unless you’re in an abbey, seeing one always comes as a surprise. Nuns in film and television often come with barely a passing nod to religion, instead performing tasks like rearing children, finding holy grails, flying, or singing. So much singing.
Plus, there’s the outfit. We’re not usually accustomed to seeing anyone in Western culture dressed like a nun, except, well, a nun. It’s a dramatic look, whether it’s played for laughs like The Flying Nun or not. When I was a child, I definitely thought nuns just had long, blue hair, a Marge Simpson blowout that blurred the line between real person and non-human entity. I suppose that’s the function they’re supposed to serve: a connection between the earthly and the divine, between wacky joy and strict discipline. The following nuns that I have selected exemplify those traits and everything in between, and for that, I am a big fan.