The Singing Nun Story: The Life and Death of Soeur Sourire

Book Cover


1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s

D.A. Chadwick

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In 1963 a shy Belgian nun took the #1 slot on the hit parade with her song, "Dominique", gathering fans around the world and inspiring many women to enter religious orders. In 1985 she would commit suicide with her life time companion after years of substance abuse, sexual denial and financial woes.


Action, Adventure,

Short Summary

A shy young novitiate, Sister Luc Gabriel, records her songs at Philips studio in Brussels in 1961. The song, "Dominique", hits the top of the Billboard charts introducing the world to "Sister Smile"

In 1985, after years of failure, drug addition, struggling with her sexuality and threats from tax collectors, Jeannine Deckers commits suicide along with her long time companion, Annie Pecher.



Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

,Rags to Riches,Other

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message

Mature Audience Themes

Information not completed

Main Character Details

Name: Jeannine Deckers (The Singing Nun)

Age: 35

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Complex, Flexible, Adventurous, Desperate, Educated, Funny, Perseverance, Underdog, Unapologetic,Visionary,Insecure,Strong Moral Code,Engaging,Religious,Desperate,Aspiring,Modest,Empathetic,Underdog

Additional Character Details

Name: Annie Pecher

Age: 30

Gender: Female

Role: Emotional

Key Traits: Underdog,Faithful,Educated,Visionary,Honorable,Selfless,Charming,Aspiring,Modest,Obedient,Empathetic,Skillful

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Additional Character Details

The author has not yet written this

Development Pitch

In 1959 Jeannine Deckers entered the Dominican order at Fishermont Convent in Belgium and became Sister Luc Gabriel. A few years later in 1964 she topped the music charts with her hit song, "Dominique" under the moniker, “Soeur Sourire”. Known in the United States as the Singing Nun, Deckers soon tired of the restrictions of convent life and left the convent to get an apartment with her friend, Annie Pécher. Far from being the beginning of a new exciting life, the reality of ditching the habit starts when Philips cancels her contract in July 1966 leaving her with no income and owing back taxes on the bestselling record. The world did not know who Jeannine Deckers was as the convent superiors had insisted that the nun on the Ed Sullivan show remain anonymous and no more special than any other-nobodies do not sell records once they lose the charm of the religious habit. Tormented by her dreary childhood, frustrated with the Catholic Church and taken advantage of by the superiors at Fishermont and the Philips executives, Deckers begins a downward spiral of alcohol and drug addiction in an effort to sort out her purpose in life and fend off the Belgian tax collector. Her long suffering loyal companion endures Jeannine's tirades and battles with her sexuality for two decades. When nothing they do, including Annie's school for autistic children, eases their financial troubles; the two women commit suicide in their Wavre, Belgium apartment in March 1985.

About The Author

D.A. Chadwick is a professional translator of French, German and Dutch and the author of fiction and nonfiction books.

Target Audiences

Age: 35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal,LGBT Leaning

Group Specific

Information not completed

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: D.A. Chadwick

Year Published: 2011

Hard Copy Available