One of the primary similarities of all houses within the realm of “orders of Perpetual Indulgence” are vows to “promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt while serving our community“. Although much of the ritual and terminology of OPI stem from the Catholic Corporation (or rather, ancient belief systems co-opted by that group) in this case ‘stigmatic guilt’ does not refer to a feeling of shame at having (or in not having) ‘stigmata’. For those who don’t know the term, it refers to bodily marks, sores, or sensations of pain in locations corresponding to the mythological* crucifixion wounds of Jesus, such as the hands and feet. A detailed analysis of the overlaps between many fundamentalist kristian practises and the world of consensual S/m is beyond this blog.
Rather, in the realm of OPI it refers to the guilt or shame many people have over being (or being thought of as) gay or lesbian (or queer). It has also been referred to as ‘STG’ (Sexually-Transmitted Guilt). Often caused by parents (or other adults) and religious institutions and their staff and followers, it is often repressed. Such repression is soul-killing; often leading to self-destructive behaviour such as abuse of alcohol or other chemicals, being enmeshed in those religious institutions, or even attacking other queer folk. There are many ways to remove such guilt from ourselves and the world; from counseling with a therapist to a more direct, sisterly approach.
One approach favoured by the Toronto Chapter was the use of the ‘Guilt Disposal Bag‘. Under the direct supervision of a highly-skilled Sister, this device is capable of removing and destroying years of pent-up stigmatic guilt. It is not known whether the formula for this miracle device has been shared with other Chapters of OPI.
* In scientific study, a myth is a sacred narrative explaining how the world and humankind came to be in their present form; not a judgment as to the accuracy or even possibility of such events.
* Artwork for Chapter events was done by various Sisters or Friends of the Chapter who may still hold copyright in their work.