By Guard Ambrosio de Membro Sancto, Sister of the Mother House of Washington and SPI Motherhouse of Heidelberg, Germany, 2009-12-06, revised on 2016-12-07
As you may know, the Guard originated in Paris with Krypton, a spiritual, almost shamanic person from Colombia. From there it spread to Germany with me, and I when I came to Seattle, I introduced the Sisters to this relatively unknown concept.
I do not know the official view of a Guard's duties, but maybe by explaining to you how I became a Guard, you will understand.
The German Sisters were founded in Heidelberg on Belthane 1994 by Mother Johanna Tyranna (edit per Sister Dimont Dimores the order was originally founded in 1991). Unlike the Mother House of San Francisco where SPI was seeded from and grew around a few people, the German Sisters pre-existed as a rather large group prior to becoming SPI. We were a circle of spiritual gay men who held Pink Masses and performed Energy Circles at sacred Celtic locations in our neighbourhood. We did a little healing and a lot of chanting. But we also had immense fun going out. We named ourselves GAYA, an amalgam of Gay and Gaia, the Greek goddess personifying Earth.
We were loosely associated with the Radical Faeries and held healing workshops. During the GAYA years I became friends with Andrew Ramer who was then a spiritual writer (Two Flutes Playing) and who introduced me into meditation and spiritual healing.
When Johanna found out and read a lot about SPI, GAYA morphed into the Sisters. There was not much of a difference because we already worked for a community to which AIDS became increasingly important. What changed, it seemed, was the appearance: the habit and the coronet. We modeled our order largely on the San Francisco one and followed their lead.
But not all of GAYA became SPI. Because I did not.
While I was always with my Sisters, I never became one. I did drive them to manifestations, held their purses, scared away eventual evildoers, and, as a non-Sister, I was able to solve disputes between them. I was one of them but at the same time I was not.
Then, on a Summer night in 1994, I met Krypton in Paris and we went to the banks of the river Seine. He took my face between the palm of his hands, looked into my eyes and he told me who I was. While other couples around us were making out on the most famous romanic strip in Paris, the two of us became connected on a very different level. This is when I became a Guard of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
To serve and protect the Sisters.
To solve disputes.
From then on, whenever we, the German Sisters, manifested, I did not say much, mostly nothing at all. I drove the dame accelerator (car), held the banner, guarded the purses, checked out the restrooms before we took them over, gave a eventual over-eager pursuer the evil stare, and I stayed mostly sober throughout the evening. You could call it a spiritual body guard.
I also took over the little organizational details that Sisters don't seem to want to be bothered with. Such as: Did anybody check if we really booked that venue for that night? Did anybody write down the address of that person who wanted to donate money? And, being the only one with a steady income and a functioning bank account, I also became the keeper of the treasury.
In one sentence:
A Sister serves the community, a Guard serves the Sisters.
When I came to Seattle in March of 1995, I joined the local Sisters and became fully professed in October 1995. And I brought with me the Guard duties I learned in Germany: Like a professional waiter, I was always present but only to be seen when needed. I was responsible for the SPI Seattle web presence and later, after the schism, took charge of the finances of the Sisters of the Mother House.
I am currently off-duty as a Guard of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence but I express my hope that this small tradition may prevail and flourish.