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This article focuses on the Storybrooke group of characters. For the Season Five episode, see "Sisters".
Are the nuns still nuns? Or can they, you know, date?
Dr. Whale to David Nolan src

The Sisters of Saint Meissa,[1] better known as Storybrooke Nuns, are several characters featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They début in the fourteenth episode of the first season.

History

During First Curse

During Storybrooke's annual Miner's Day celebration, the nuns sell candles to raise money for their convent. Mary Margaret, in atonement for having an affair with a married man, signs up to be a volunteer recruiter, however, the townspeople are unable to forget what she did. She tries to interest Leroy in signing up, but he coldly asserts she's become the most hated woman in town. As one nun, Astrid, sets up decorations, she clumsily spills glitter on Leroy. Although known for his grumpy demeanor, Leroy becomes smitten with Astrid. Developing a good rapport, they discuss his dream to sail out to sea on a boat and Astrid encourages him to believe in himself. Deciding to become a volunteer for Astrid's sake, Leroy goes to the school where the nuns are working on fundraising. He and Mary Margaret overhear Astrid being reprimanded by Mother Superior after she accidentally spent their rent money on an excessive amount of helium. Appalled, Mother Superior sternly tells the nun to fix the issue or their landlord, Mr. Gold, will evict them. Leroy promises to help Astrid by selling all the candles, however, combined with his and Mary Margaret's reputations, they receive no business. He lies to Astrid about selling out, and she later delivers a baked pie as thanks. There, she sees the unsold candles and leaves disappointed. After causing a power outage, Leroy earns enough money from selling candles and gives it to Astrid, whose faith in him is restored. ("Dreamy")

August, arriving to Storybrooke, sees his father, Marco, although he's been out of contact with him for years. To muster the courage to approach him, August consults with Mother Superior at the convent. From a distance, Mr. Gold suspiciously regards the exchange, and after August is gone, he approaches Mother Superior for answers. Fueled by his threat to shut down the convent, she decidedly tells him August spoke to her about a desire to reconnect with his father, who he parted from on bad terms. Shocked, Mr. Gold takes this to mean August is his long lost son. ("The Return")

After biting into a poisoned apple turnover, Henry falls into a coma. While Emma and Regina try to obtain a potion to heal him, Mr. Gold steals it from them just before Henry's heart begins flat lining. Returning to the hospital, Emma tearfully says goodbye to Henry with a kiss on his temple, which magically revives him. In the same instance, this breaks the curse and everyone's lost Enchanted Forest memories are restored. Startled by Emma's magic, Mother Superior enters and inquiries if that was true love's kiss. Regina, within earshot of the conversation, bursts in and refuses to accept Emma broke the curse, which means she no longer has control over the town. Curtly, Mother Superior advises Regina, referring to her as "Your Majesty", that she should run before the angry townspeople find her. ("A Land Without Magic")



After First Curse

With the curse shattered, Mother Superior meets with a still wooden August, whose affliction remains since the original enchantment that kept him human only worked if he stayed brave, truthful and unselfish. He asks her to revert him to normal, but she cannot. Later, Mother Superior regroups with David, Emma, Granny, Henry, Mary Margaret, Ruby and the dwarves. Henry recalls, from reading his storybook, her prior name was the Blue Fairy. He asks to see her powers, but she cannot since the potion Mr. Gold released into Storybrooke cannot be used as magic. Thus, her own magic use is not possible without a wand. ("Broken", "Selfless, Brave and True")

In the aftermath of the Wraith attack, Ruby and Mother Superior assist in redirecting townspeople who are displaced or in search of missing loved ones. Desperate to rescue Emma and Mary Margaret since they were sucked into a realm portal, David asks Mother Superior if another magic wardrobe capable of crossing worlds exists in this land. She thinks it's probable, but without a wand or magic to guide them, they have no chance of finding it. Suddenly, Leroy and the other dwarves report back from investigating the town line, in which Mr. Clark went across the border and lost his Enchanted Forest memories. This causes immediate panic among the residents, though David steps in as temporary sheriff and mobilizes everyone to meet him in two hours at town hall where he will unveil a plan to solve this issue. However, David never shows up, and instead, Regina terrorizes people with her regained magic until Henry agrees to go home with her. Fearing Regina more than losing their memories, Mother Superior and many others pile into cars and attempt to drive out of town. Blocking the border with his truck, David steps out to profess they should accept both their Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke selves by drawing strengths from their weaknesses. Moved, they all return to town. Later, the dwarves grab their pick axes to mine diamonds, which is just the ingredient needed to make fairy dust and activate a portal-jumping hat. ("We Are Both")

When the dwarves discover diamonds in the mines, David, Henry and Mother Superior are alerted to the find. Mother Superior provides instructions for grinding the diamonds into dust, and she also cautions David to keep the hat safe. Celebrating their success, she and the others have drinks at the diner. ("Child of the Moon")

After Archie dies under mysterious circumstances, Emma is convinced of Regina's guilt by viewing Pongo's memories of the murder incident. Recalling Regina's weakness against fairy magic, they enlist Mother Superior, on signal, to throw some of the dust on her, which will have a paralyzing effect. Nonetheless, Regina quickly catches the dust first and disposes of it. ("The Cricket Game")

At Archie's funeral, Mother Superior attends to pay her respects as Mary Margaret eulogies him. She and various residents later go to a wake at Mary Margaret's loft where Leroy, on behalf of all the dwarves, expresses interest in returning to the Enchanted Forest. Emma believes they are safe from outsiders, even with the curse is lifted so anyone can enter town, although Leroy is certain trouble will come to them sooner or later. ("The Outsider")

Mother Superior, sensing dark magic, hurries down the convent steps just as David and Mary Margaret approach to notify her Cora and Regina want to steal the dagger and force Mr. Gold to kill everyone. Realizing they must find the dagger first, Mother Superior attempts to harness her wand to break a magic barrier on the pawnshop, but it fails. Not wanting to waste time, Mary Margaret suggests using dark magic. Mother Superior is shocked by the idea while Mary Margaret reminds her of a time she, as Blue Fairy, had done such a thing. The head nun, however, does not remember. Only later, Mary Margaret finds out it was Cora, disguised as the Blue Fairy, who tried to lure her into using dark magic. ("The Queen Is Dead")

Outside the convent, Emma, Marco and Mary Margaret talk to Mother Superior about August's current condition. Mother Superior admits knowing since the breaking of the curse about his wooden state, but if there is a path of redemption for him, he must travel on his own terms. In a rare display of unselfishness, August attempts to warn Emma about Tamara, who kills him before he can. As he dies in Marco's arms, Mother Superior rushes over to restore him with her wand. Since his actions today were indeed selfless, brave and true, August gains a second chance at life as a seven-year-old Pinocchio. Overjoyed, Marco reunites with his son. Emma attempts to ask Pinocchio what August was trying to tell her before, but he can't remember. Happily, Pinocchio walks off with his father and Mother Superior. ("Selfless, Brave and True")

With the last known beanstalk, the giant Anton helps grow fields of magic beans in Storybrooke. To keep outsiders from wandering in, Mother Superior magically cloaks the area. ("Lacey")

In an attempt to foil David and Mary Margaret's plans of returning to the Enchanted Forest, Regina destroys all the rows of magic beans and steals one of the bean plants to grow for herself. When David, Emma, Henry and Mary Margaret break into Regina's office to confront her actions, she is nowhere to be seen. Eventually, Mary Margaret and David rescue Regina from the clutches of Greg. They call on Mother Superior to heal Regina, who has suffered immense physical strain under Greg's electrocution torture. Using her wand, Mother Superior revives her to full health. ("Second Star to the Right")

Greg and his partner in crime, Tamara, activate a trigger that forces the town to begin reverting into a forest and wiping out everyone who originated from the Enchanted Forest. Coincidentally, Mother Superior finishes making a memory potion to restore Mr. Clark's Enchanted Forest memories. She gives it to Leroy, and in turn, he gives another dose of the potion to Mr. Gold for restoring Lacey's memories. ("And Straight On 'Til Morning")

With the trigger catalyst evaded due to Emma, David, Hook and Mary Margaret's efforts, the group, along with Mr. Gold, then take off to Neverland to rescue Henry from Greg and Tamara. Left behind, Belle mourns Mr. Gold's leaving as a cluster of townspeople, including Mother Superior, run over to her at the dock. After she shows them the cloaking spell Mr. Gold left for her to enact to keep outsiders away, they all go down to the mines to complete the task. Since they need fairy dust for the spell to work, Mother Superior suggests opening up a vein in the mines so all the magic in the dust will be carried throughout town. The dwarves quarry a crack in a rock, and before Belle dumps the potion in, she asks Mother Superior to do it instead. Mother Superior refuses as Mr. Gold entrusted her, so Belle follows through with enacting the spell. From the rock, a stream of magic shoots out and raises a barrier over Storybrooke. ("Dark Hollow")

Peter Pan, having switched bodies with Henry, secretly releases his shadow to wreck havoc on town. The next morning, Mother Superior flees on foot towards the convent while being pursued by the Shadow. David, Emma, Hook and Tinker Bell hear Mother Superior's cries for help, but are unable to reach her in time, as the Shadow rips away her shadow. The head nun's body falls to the ground lifelessly, and the others make it their mission to figure out what happened. Although they all know only Pan can control the Shadow, the villain himself is sealed away inside a box, or so it's believed, as no one is yet aware of Pan and Henry's body switching. ("The New Neverland")

In his ultimate end-game, Pan enacts another curse to take over Storybrooke as the new Neverland. While the sisters of the convent hold an open casket church vigil for Mother Superior, David, Hook, Neal and Tinker Bell arrive asking for the Black Fairy's wand, which they need for returning Henry and Pan to their rightful bodies. The nuns are hesitant to speak of the accursed wand, but Tinker Bell hurries them along as there is no time to waste. Suddenly, the Shadow swoops down from the sky and glides into the church. On David's urging, the nuns flee the area while everyone else attempts to destroy the Shadow for good. Tinker Bell, using pixie dust, flies into the air and entraps the Shadow before tossing it into a burning fire. With the creature gone, Mother Superior's shadow is restored, and she regains consciousness. Impressed by Tinker Bell's capabilities, the head nun agrees to return her fairy wings. Then, Mother Superior hands over the Black Fairy wand and asks them to do whatever is necessary to save the town. Later on, Mr. Gold kills Pan, however, the curse cannot be stopped. Instead, Regina can only reverse it at the cost of everyone who was once cursed returning to the Enchanted Forest. With Tinker Bell, Mother Superior stands by as Regina says goodbye to Henry, who can't come with them since he was never cursed. Rather than let him be alone, Regina grants Emma permission take the boy and live a normal life outside of Storybrooke. Once the pair leave the town border, the curse is undone and everyone returns to the Enchanted Forest. ("Going Home")

During Second Curse

Brought back to Storybrooke by a second curse, Mother Superior and the nuns regain their old lives in the convent, although their and everyone else's memories of the last year spent in the Enchanted Forest are wiped out. ("Witch Hunt")

In an outpouring of support, Mother Superior and many of the residents show up to Neal's funeral. ("It's Not Easy Being Green")

Regina, after bestowing Henry with a kiss of true love, breaks the second curse. Like everyone else, the nuns regains their lost memories of the missing year in the Enchanted Forest. ("A Curious Thing")

After Second Curse

In a diner celebration welcoming David and Mary Margaret's newborn son, Mother Superior joins the crowd of party goers. She listens with rapt attention as the couple announce they are naming their son after a true hero—Neal. ("There's No Place Like Home")

As Ingrid's spell threatens to overtake the town, Mother Superior and the other nuns are enlisted by Belle to make a counter spell. However, to create it, they need a hair strand from a person who survived Ingrid's spell; Elsa's sister Anna. Though Emma and Elsa track Anna via her necklace with locator magic, but reach a blocked path. The nuns then discover they can use Ingrid's mirror shard in the necklace to ward off her imminent spell. At Mr. Gold's arrival to the diner, Mother Superior deters him from taking away Belle, whose help the nuns need. He decides to stay until Belle's business with them is finished, and even remarks his dark magic could be a contribution, which makes Mother Superior uneasy. David, Emma, Mary Margaret and Regina bring the necklace in a pouch, but Mother Superior discovers it's full of pebbles. Realizing Elsa is still using the pendant to track Anna, Emma rushes off to find her. After reaching word that the two women located Anna, Belle leaves the remaining work to the nuns and departs with Mr. Gold. While Mother Superior is working in the diner backroom, she hears a commotion at the storefront. On further investigation, she hides behind the counter and sees her fellow sisters being attacked by someone. As Mother Superior crawls to escape, Hook corners her. He, forced to act on Mr. Gold's orders, apologizes and absorbs her into the sorcerer's hat. ("Fall")

Six weeks later, Belle and Hook research ancient texts for a way to free the nuns. Consulting with outside sources, Belle eventually receives an email response from an "Oxford professor" with a spell translation. With the dagger, Regina performs a ceremony on the hat to release the nuns from captivity. Visibly shaken, Mother Superior begins talking about something she and the other nuns faced inside the hat, but without finishing her sentence, she trails off. As the sisters join together in a circle to comfort each other, no one notices the Chernabog unleashed from the hat. While the nuns hang out at the diner, Mother Superior sits alone at a nearby table nursing a drink. On Henry's encouragement, Regina approaches to show her one of the blank books found in sorcerer's mansion. She explains her desire to find the storybook author, presumably the sorcerer, and have him rewrite her a happy ending. However, the head nun confirms the sorcerer and author are two different people, and although the author could help, he has since long disappeared. Mother Superior has no idea why the author left, but she has heard he might have left clues in his works. When Emma inquiries if Henry's book is one of those works, before Mother Superior can respond, the diner shakes, with everyone hearing the Chernabog's monstrous roar coming from outside. ("Darkness on the Edge of Town")

Before Third Curse
When Isaac changes reality with the Enchanted Quill in the book Heroes and Villains, the sisters are transformed back into fairies in Isaac's fictional depiction of the Enchanted Forest. When Henry returns everyone to Storybrooke, the sisters are present at Granny's Diner to celebrate the defeat of the Author. ("Operation Mongoose Part 1", "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Third Curse

While Emma and several other townspeople journey to the Underworld to rescue Hook, the nuns are left to care for Roland, Neal and Robin. ("Swan Song")

Disguised as Mother Superior, Zelena enters the convent's nursery room to take away her daughter, but instead, she finds Belle delivering formula bottles to the babies. She is exposed by the real Mother Superior, who then tries to stop Zelena from leaving with Baby Hood. When a portal suddenly opens in the ground, Mother Superior manages to keep herself from being sucked in, while Belle falls in with Baby Hood and Zelena jumps in to follow them. ("Our Decay")

Known Nuns

Known Nuns
Broom
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Astrid

Astrid is a Storybrooke character. She appears in the fourteenth episode of the first season, and is portrayed by guest star Amy Acker.[2]
114HowDidYou
History:
Main article: Astrid

Mother Superior

Mother Superior is a Storybrooke character. She first appears in the fourteenth episode of the first season, and is portrayed by guest star Keegan Connor Tracy. She is currently alive.
119DifficultParting
History:
Main article: Mother Superior

Novice Fairy

The Novice Fairy is a Storybrooke character. She appears in the ninth episode of the sixth season, and is portrayed by co-stars Jacky Lai and Edwina Shuster. She is currently alive.
609AwayWithIt
History:
In order to send a message to Belle, Mr. Gold takes the Novice Fairy prisoner and uses an ageing powder on her. Then, the nun is sent back at the convent, and warns the Mother Superior about Gold and the Evil Queen. Eventually, Regina is able to give back her real appearance to the Novice Fairy.

Nun 1

Nun 1 is a Storybrooke character. She appears in the eleventh episode of the third season. She is portrayed by co-star Evans Johnson. Her status is currently unknown.[2]
311RunRunCropped
History:
She is one of the Sisters of Saint Meissa who attends Mother Superior's funeral to pay her respects. Tinker Bell arrives with David, Neal and Hook asking for the Black Fairy's wand, but before they can get it, the Shadow attacks the convent. David urges all the nuns to run for safety, which they do.

Unseen Nuns


Trivia

On-Screen Notes

  • The nun convent logo on the "Miner's Day" banner[5] (briefly seen in the background as Leroy makes the lights turn on and Astrid is heard saying, "Oh!") is a Budded Cross, which is characterized by three scalloped shapes at the end of each arm, which symbolize the Holy Trinity.[6] It reads as "Sisters of Saint Meissa Dona Nobis Pacem MMDCXLVIII". ("Dreamy")
    • Dona nobis pacem is Latin for "Grant us peace", and is a phrase in the Agnus Dei section of the Roman Catholic mass.
    • Roman numerals MMDCXLVIII=2648.
    • Meissa is the name of a star in the constellation Orion. "Meissa" derives from the Arabic "Al-Maisan" which means "The Shining One".
      • Fairies, the nuns' counterparts in the Enchanted Forest, are closely related to stars. The Blue Fairy can be summoned by wishing upon a blue star and is also known by the name Reul Ghorm, which means "blue star" in Scots Gaelic and is also the real name of Mother Superior, the Blue Fairy's Storybrooke counterpart. The Black Fairy can similarly be summoned by an incantation that calls for the "dark star" to fall. While other fairies have not been given corresponding stars, Nova's name refers to "supernovas", an exploding star.
  • The Sisters of Saint Meissa seem to be similar to Roman Catholic Religious Sisters, which is evident such as: doing community service, referring by others and themselves as "Sister" and also having a Mother Superior who is in charge of them. ("Dreamy")

Production Notes

Appearances

Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.

References

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