Four nuns and two friars walk onto a college campus…to play some sweet jams.

Four religious sisters of the Michigan-based Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, along with a Dominican brother and a Franciscan brother, have formed a band at The Catholic University of America, aptly named ‘Force of Habit’. (The sisters used to have a singing group called ‘Nun of the Above’.)

Brother Brad Elliott, a Dominican friar, plays the drums. Sister Miriam Holzman is on piano, while Sister Peter Grace Weber plays bass guitar (she was taught by another sister). Sister Louis Marie Zogg plays the saxophone, and Sister Mary André Thelen is on the trumpet.  Father Jude DeAngelo, the university chaplain and director of campus ministry at CUA, rounds out the band as lead vocalist.


But they’re not a worship band. They play covers of jazz and rock songs, with music arranged by one of the sisters’ moms.

They do it for fun, as a chance to play music together. But it’s also a way to reach out to their (fellow) students, to show them that they want to be a part of their community, and that they didn’t lose their humanity when they took the vows and the habit. The four sisters are pursuing master’s degrees at CUA, either in philosophy or education, and live, pray and study on campus with the other students.

“It shows that we have completely natural, normal, human personalities,” Brother Brad told the Washington Post. “And we don’t really cease being human beings when we put on the habit. We don’t cease to be normal and lovers of fun and music when we put on the habit. The habit is just a different aspect of who we are.”

And it’s working. The band already has some major groupies.

“I am like, one of Force of Habit’s biggest fans. I love Force of Habit,” Amanda Martin, a freshman, told the Washington Post. “There is something incredibly funny about four religious sisters in a blues band. They’re really good.”

They are not the only musically-inclined sisters of their order, either. In 2013, the sisters at the Motherhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan released an album of Marian devotional music, called ‘Mater Eucharistiae’, available on iTunes.


To read more about ‘Force of Habit’, check out the band’s profile on The Washington Post.