Viewers were treated – or subjected – to two episodes of Lifetime’s “The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns” last night. (Related, for some, is Brandon Ambrosino’s explanation of “hate-watching” over at Vox.)

Episode 3: “Navy Seals for Christ”

In “Navy Seals for Christ,” the young women move out to a convent in Chicago, where they distribute bagged lunches to homeless people, solicit donations from markets, engage in Eucharistic adoration, and engage in plenty of drama to give the series its reality-show cred.

Sr. Beth Ann, the vocations director for The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in Chicago, meets the girls at the airport and explains the experience will be a bit different from their time in Germantown, New York.

“This is urban Chicago. The kind of mission we have is often seen as kind of tough,” she said.

This makes some of the girls nervous.

“I’ve never worked with the homeless, a totally new experience,” said Francesca.

Stacey said she’s “nervous about being in too close contact with homeless people,” describing herself as a “germaphobe.”

Sr. Beth Ann won’t have any of it.

As they prepare to spend a day distributing bagged lunches to homeless people near Chicago’s Loop, she says, “No divas here, today.”

The girls are initially frightened when Francesca approaches a man who says, “Leave me alone, bitch, leave me alone.” But they are heartened when another man approaches Sr. Beth Ann, thanks the girls for their work, and calls them, “the Navy Seals of Christ,” the episode’s title. The girls are impressed by how some people respond to Sr. Beth Ann’s habit.

“This protects you,” Sr. Beth Ann said, pointing to her gray habit. “When you dress yourself every day, you have to be aware that you’re putting on the armor of Christ.”

Later in the episode, the girls learn where some of the food they’ve distributed comes from.

They head to Chicago’s South Side – a “rough and tumble” section, according to Sr. Beth Ann – to ask the wholesale markets for donations. After overcoming some language barriers, the girls are shocked at how much food the vendors are willing to donate. It’s a high point for the girls, until a very staged scene threatens their good feelings.

It’s not all charity work. After all, this is a religious discernment process.

Sr. Beth Ann wants the girls to “spend time with Jesus” and they head over to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church for Eucharistic adoration, prayer in front of a consecrated host. Even there, drama abounds.

Eseni, who’s been struggling with being away from her boyfriend Darnell, snuck in a late-night phone call to him, against the convent’s rules. Sr. Beth Ann knows about it, but hasn’t confronted her. Eseni struggles at first to pray. But, eventually she said, “I felt God for the first time in a very long time.”

Christie is also moved by the experience, lying prostrate in the aisle, prompting Claire to stand by her claims from a previous episode that Christie is a “drama queen.”

“I find it hard to respect that,” she said.

But the most drama in this episode is with Francesca, who’s been struggling with being away from her mom.

“Sometimes the extra stuff—the gold, the statues, the overwhelming presence of the church—it’s too much. It’s an overwhelming feeling of anxiety,” she said of the adoration. She described feeling “trapped” and tells Sr. Beth Ann she is having an anxiety attack, leading to a teary phone call home to her mom.

Sr. Beth Ann is not impressed, saying the calls demonstrate a lack of maturity.

“In times like these, it’s Christ we turn to,” not our parents, she said. Though she admits, “to be quiet and silent is scary, because you never know what you’re going to hear.

Aside from Francesca, the character most suited for reality television is Eseni, and she doesn’t disappoint.

Darnell, her boyfriend, wants to know if Eseni is choosing religious life, or him.

“If she’s serious about this nun s—, she’s got to tell me right to my face,” he said.

So he flies to Chicago, happens to appear at the market just as the girls are celebrating their successful donation drive, and embraces Eseni passionately. Sr. Beth Ann looked on disapprovingly, and the episode ends.

Episode 4: “The Road Not Taken”

In “The Road Not Taken,” the fourth of six episodes, the girls get out of their heads a bit, and engage in service work, both at a soup kitchen the sisters run and dropping by a home for mentally handicapped women.

Before then, the arc with Darnell wraps up. Sr. Beth Ann tells the girls being in love with a man is a prerequisite for entering religious life. Still, discernment demands their full attention.

“This is a special time, and I don’t want anybody depriving you of it,” Sr. Beth Ann said, explaining why uninvited guests, including Darnell, aren’t welcome during the process.

Frustrated with the drama Darnell’s visit prompts, Sr. Beth Ann knows a way out of it.

“The best way to get ourselves centered is to get right back into the work,” Sr. Beth Ann tells the girls, reminding them again that there can be “no divas.”

Christie felt at home dancing and singing with the handicapped women, and she thinks she might have found her calling.

She said she had been discerning on and off for nine years, and feels “like some of those questions have been answered.” She wants to enter the Chicago convent, she tells Stacey.

“I see Christie there, so excited and so at peace, and I want that,” Stacey said. “I’m really, really happy for her, but I also don’t understand, because I haven’t felt that peace yet.”

“You’re getting engaged!” Stacey said to Christie.

“It’s so much more real saying it out loud,” Christie said, though she said she won’t tell others yet because she’s “still on a journey.”

Sr. Beth Ann wants to show the girls that sisters have fun, too, so she takes them to a pool to swim. This gets the girls in bathing suits, leading to talk about chastity and modesty.

“Our bathing suits kind of reflect where we are in our discernment process in a way,” Stacey said, laughing. “It’s hilarious.”

While some are in two-piece suits, Claire is covered in what one of the girls described as “scuba gear.”

“I look over at Claire, and she’s wearing a bathing suit that looks like, to me, something out of the 1890s,” Sr. Beth Ann said. “It covered everything. It was overkill.”

“It’s all about modesty,” she said. “Chastity is all about saving our heart for God. Chastity isn’t about sex, it’s about intimacy.”

Christie agreed: “We are worth more than our boobs.”

That discussion continued at dinner, when the girls are away from the convent en route to Kentucky, their next location. Francesca and Eseni change into heels and role up their skirts, leading to cringes and condemnation from some of the other girls.

“We’re representing the Church and sisters and this is disrespectful,” Christie said.

The girls are off to visit their final convent and spend time with the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker in Walton, Kentucky. But Sr. Beth Ann hopes this isn’t the last time she sees some of them in Chicago.

“It’s sad to see them go. It’s a heartache in a way,” she said. “But if God calls them to come back and be with us forever, great!”