Sister Cristina Scuccia, the Ursuline religious who won The Voice Italy earlier this year, greeted Pope Francis on Wednesday and gave him a copy of her new album, "Sister Cristina." The encounter took place at the conclusion of the Holy Father's General Audience in St. Peter's Square on Dec. 10. Interviewed by DPA in November, the 26 year-old nun had said she hoped to meet Francis and give him "the first copy" of her album. "It is a dream for me to meet him to give him the first copy of my album and receive his blessing," Sister Cristina said. The album went on sale Nov. 11 on the Universal record label. Sister Cristina won the Italian edition of The Voice in June. Immediately after the results were announced, she asked the entire studio audience to join her in praying the Our Father. With more than 66 million visits, Sister Cristina's audition video for the program in which she sang Alicia Keys' "No One," is among the most viewed YouTube videos of the year. The Italian religious renewed her vows on July 29 of this year. The first single from her album is a cover of Madonna's “Like a Virgin.”Catholic cultural commentator and Hollywood screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi suggested to CNA in an October interview that the nun's decision to cover the song, while well intentioned, shows “radical impropriety” which wrongly ignores the original song’s intent to undermine the Virgin Mary and Catholic morals. Nicolosi added that the choice of Madonna’s risqué song “reflects the lack of thought, seriousness and decorum that is predictable of so much of our societal and ecclesial life today.” She noted the original song’s music video and its use of Catholic imagery was “widely condemned” among Catholics. “It was clear that Madonna was ridiculing the Church’s reverence for the Blessed Virgin and so many lay people and clergy came out to speak against Madonna and the piece.” “That's another reason why this is a weird piece for a Catholic nun to try and re-purpose,” Nicolosi stated. Sister Cristina told L'Avvenire that while she knew she would be criticized, she does not intend to “provoke or scandalize anyone.” "If you read the lyrics and avoid any influence from the original, you discover that it is song about the capacity to love, about making people new, about rescuing them from their past,” Sr. Cristina claimed. “And that's how I wanted to interpret it. For this reason we transformed it from a pop song into a romantic ballad (...) to something more like a lay prayer than a pop song.” Sister Cristina said she “sometimes” regrets going on The Voice because of “the almost morbid curiosity of the media. Some photographers have chased me everywhere. I have even taken ‘mortal leaps’ to get to Mass without them seeing me.” She explained that in response to the media coverage, “I closed myself in here in the community. I have kept silent and prayed a lot. I have concentrated because I had to renew my temporary vows. I have cared for the most important part of me: my spiritual life.” In accord with her vow of poverty, Sister Cristina said, the funds from the sale of her record “will be used to finance the charitable projects of the congregation, for our home in Brazil but also for a project in my own land of Sicily, where there is no lack of poverty. I would also like to help other associations.”
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