I know others like it, and have linked to it. But something about it always felt "off" to me. After a while I developed a theory--the blog might be somehow being written by Maripat Donovan, the woman who created the Late Nite Catechism series of improv plays. There were certain things about the blog, the writing style, the sense I had that Catholic beliefs were subtly being mocked instead of being treated seriously, and most of all "Sister Martha's" insistence that anyone who wanted to help her could instead donate for the care of retired nuns, that made me suspect this (because some part of the proceeds from Late Nite Catechism and its companion plays is always donated to retired nuns).
About the Late Nite Catechism plays, the Catholic League wrote way back in 1996:
New York, NY - The off-Broadway play Late Night Catechism premiered at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. The play ridiculed virtually every aspect of Catholicism including Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Saints, the sacraments, Catholic schools, and Catholic customs. In particular, the sexual statements that the play made about Catholic beliefs and practices were unusually coarse.As it turns out, though, there's some evidence out there that suggests the blog may be written by a different woman, not Maripat Donovan; my suspicions of Ms. Donovan appear to be unfounded. However, if the "Ask Sister Mary Martha" blog is really being written by The Write Club blogger Jane Morris, as is being speculated, things are still rather interesting.
Why? Because like Maripat Donovan, Jane Morris is from Chicago. Like Maripat Donovan, Jane Morris has played "Sister" in the Late Nite Catechism plays; in fact, this article mentions that Donovan and Morris were alternating the role in a Los Angeles production of Late Nite Catechism in 2000. Jane Morris is listed here with Maripat Donovan and Marc Silvia in this current production of "Sister's Christmas Catechism," as well.
So while my guess that Maripat Donovan herself was responsible for the "Ask Sister Mary Martha" blog has apparently turned out to be incorrect, it would seem that I might not have been too far off, if indeed this particular Jane Morris is the one hiding behind the visage of arguably the most popular "nun" on the Internet. Of course, the "Jane Morris" on The Write Club blog might not be the same Jane Morris who has been involved with the Late Nite Catechism plays, or perhaps the claim that a person named Jane Morris is behind "Ask Sister Mary Martha" will turn out to be spurious. But given the similarities I tend to see between the style of Late Nite Catechism and the style of "Ask Sister Mary Martha," I wouldn't be surprised if the Jane Morris who has been involved with Late Nite Catechism has been humorously "impersonating" a nun on the Internet.
UPDATE: As of Saturday night, the link to "The Write Club" blog no longer displays the "Ask Sister Mary Martha" blog as one of the "Write Club's" member-written blogs. A Google cache of the page still shows (for now) "Ask Sister Mary Martha" under the heading "Write Club Writers' Blogs." It's interesting that this has been done, don't you think?