Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,187 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Security Guards Had to Keep Mourners Apart at Bobbi Kristina Brown's Burial, Says Source
- The Best Photos from the Week of July 27- August 2, 2015
- Ken Jeong: I Want to Do a Community Movie
- Inside Kim Richards' Embarrassing Downfall: 'She Mismanaged Her Money and Is Wrecking Her Life,' Says Source
- Sandra Bland's Mother Concedes It's 'Possible' Daughter Killed Herself in Jail as Family Files Lawsuit
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- April 22, 1985
- Vol. 23
- No. 16
The Once Joyful Song of Belgium's Singing Nun Is Silenced by Despair—and Suicide
In 1966 Hollywood honored her with a fictionalized musical called The Singing Nun, starring Debbie Reynolds. That same year the real Soeur Sourire left the Fichermont Convent near Waterloo without taking her final vows, reportedly to pursue missionary and recording careers. She all but vanished until early this month when she and a woman companion were found dead in their modest apartment in Wavre, near Brussels. The tragedy was termed a double suicide through "massive doses of barbituates swallowed with alcohol."
Soeur Sourire was shy even at the height of her brief fame, and little was ever made public about her life. In her seven years at Fichermont, she was called Sister Luc-Gabrielle. She was said to have been born 51 years ago as Janine Deckers, but at her death her name was variously spelled as Jeanne or Jeanine.
In her last years she was overwhelmed by financial problems. She claimed she'd donated most of her song earnings to her convent, but the Belgian government nonetheless held her liable for back taxes of between $47,000 and $63,000. Nor was she ever able to duplicate her one big hit. Two years ago she issued an updated electronic version of Dominique, but it failed to attract sales.
At about that time, Deckers and her friend of 10 years, Annie Pecher, a physiotherapist and also an ex-nun, founded a center for autistic children, but their project soon withered for lack of funds. "We hope God will welcome us. He saw us suffer," the women wrote in their last letter. Belgium's Catholic authorities granted their wish to be buried in consecrated ground. Only a handful of friends and family members were on hand to mourn.
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!