Sister Cristina first came to prominence when she won the television talent show The Voice of Italy eight years agoItaly’s singing nun kicks the habit for new career as a waitress
A young nun who shot to fame after winning the Italian version of The Voice with her remarkable singing voice has announced that she is renouncing her religious vows, swapping her demure appearance for makeup and glamorous outfits.
Cristina Scuccia, who as Sister Cristina became a household name in Italy, said the strictures of convent life had become too much, particularly after the death of her father when she longed to spend more time with her family.
Her surprise announcement made headlines in Italy on Monday, where she had become a huge but unlikely celebrity.
She first came to prominence in 2014 when as a 25-year-old nun she won the television talent show The Voice of Italy, belting out the Alicia Keys hit No One.
The power of her voice stunned the celebrity judges on the show, who asked her if she was really a nun, to which she replied that she was.
Appearing on stage in a plain habit and clunky black shoes with a crucifix round her neck, she became an internet phenomenon, with her performance watched millions of times on YouTube and other platforms.
She went on to perform duets with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Ricky Martin and presented Pope Francis with a copy of her debut album, which included a cover of Madonna’s Like a Virgin, which had scandalised the Catholic Church in its original outing.
But on Sunday she announced an abrupt change of direction, telling a television chat show that she had given up her life as a nun.
Appearing on the entertainment programme Verissimo in a red trouser suit and high heels, she said now works in Spain as a waitress and hopes to continue her singing career.
The 34-year-old told the show: “Change is a sign of evolution, and I’m always afraid of it because it is easier to anchor oneself to one’s certainties rather than call oneself into question. But I felt I had to do what I’ve done.”
She said that while she still retained her Catholic faith, she had been shaken by the death of her father.
She had chafed against the rules and regulations of convent life and rebelled against the other nuns’ efforts to protect her from the media glare.
“I’ve never doubted God, God is life. But I could no longer grow while remaining within the rules. My dad died and I decided to take a sabbatical year, a year of silence and travel.”
She has no regrets about having been a nun for nearly 15 years, she said. “Sister Cristina is within me. I have had a marvellous journey but also a complex and difficult one. They were the most beautiful years of my life.”