Saturday, February 12, 2011

Song of the week: Sœur Sourire - Dominique

Jeanine Deckers (1933-1985) AKA Sœur Sourire ("Sister Smile") AKA The Singing Nun was a Belgian nun and member of a Dominican convent in Waterloo, Belgium. In 1963 she recorded "Dominique", the only Belgian song ever to become a number one hit in the United States. She also appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

Sœur Sourire. (Source)

Deckers left the monastery in 1967 to pursue her musical career, but was never able to repeat the success of "Dominique". In addition, all the money earned by the hit song had gone to the record company and the convent she had been a member of.

In the late 1970s the Belgian government laid down a claim for $63,000 USD in back taxes. Because she could not provide evidence that she had donated her earnings to the convent, she got into heavy financial problems. In 1985, at the age of 51, Jeanine Deckers committed suicide together with her companion of ten years, Anna Pécher.

There have been several films based on the story of The Singing Nun, the most recent in 2009. This was a Franco-Belgian biopic titled Soeur Sourire. Joski has a great post about the film and some more details of the back story at his blog (only in Dutch). You can watch the trailer for the film below.


  1. Thanks for blogging about this, baby!

    My dad has mentioned this sometimes, it's a really sad story...

  2. No problem :) Yeah it is - another reason why there's a red 'A' in my sidebar.