Diocesan News

Italy’s ‘Singing Nun’ Will Aid Futures in Education

Sister Cristina Scuccia, O.S.U., with Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello
Sister Cristina Scuccia, O.S.U., with Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello (Photo: Marie Elena Giossi)

New York Debut at Lincoln Center Christmas Concert

The winner of Italy’s version of “The Voice,” Sister Cristina Scuccia, O.S.U., will make her first stage appearance in the U.S. next month when she lends her singing talents to benefit Catholic education.

Sister Cristina will perform at Futures in Education’s The Spirit of Christmas Concert, also starring The New York Tenors, at Lincoln Center Dec. 12. The annual concert raises funds to provide tuition aid to children who attend Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens.

A member of the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family, who minister to the poor and needy in Milan, Sister Cristina was in New York Nov. 3 to promote the concert along with Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development.

Through a translator, the Italian native said she feels grateful to be part of the concert, knowing that she’s “helping children … learn more about our faith.”

Suor Cristina, as she’s known in Italy, rose to fame after her reality singing show win in 2014. Petite and bespectacled, the religious sister surprised viewers with her talent and renditions of popular and controversial hits by American music artists.

When judges asked why she chose to compete on the show, she told them, “I came here because I have a gift, and I want to share that gift. I am here to evangelize.”

Since then, the now 28-year-old has met Pope Francis, dropped her first album, gained millions of views on YouTube and performed “Blessed Be Your Name” at World Youth Day in Poland this past summer.

In this 2014 file photo, Pope Francis greets Sister Cristina during the weekly audience at the Vatican Dec. 10. (Photo: Catholic News Service/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
In this 2014 file photo, Pope Francis greets Sister Cristina during his weekly audience at the Vatican Dec. 10. (Photo: Catholic News Service/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

On her visit to Brooklyn, she said that for her, “singing is prayer, to communicate and spread the love of God.”

It was through her love of singing and performing that she rediscovered God’s love and His vocation for her.

Raised in a Catholic family, she was in her early teens when she distanced herself from the Church and her faith. But she said she found her way back by landing the lead role in a musical about Sister Rosa Roccuzzo, the founder of her religious order.

More than just a performance, she felt the “fire of faith” become so strong in her that she could not resist God’s call, and entered the novitiate.

‘Great Responsibility’

Sister Cristina said she feels a “great responsibility” to encourage younger generations to know “the love of God.” And she also hopes “to inspire vocations.”

“The religious life, being a nun, is not a bad thing. It’s not a gray thing, a sad thing, but it’s full of joy,” she said.

She looks forward to sharing that joy when she sings Christmas hymns and contemporary songs at Lincoln Center next month. She will have an hour on stage, prior to The New York Tenors – Andy Cooney, Danny Rodriguez and Christopher Macchio – and will join them on stage for the finale.

When he invited her to perform at the concert, Msgr. Gigantiello said she was enthusiastic about helping the children of the diocese. And he thinks New Yorkers will be equally enthusiastic about seeing this “real singing nun.”

“We hope that a lot of people will come see her,” he said.

Tickets range from $45 to $125 and group rates are available. For tickets, call the Lincoln Center Box Office at 212-721-6500 or click here.