Two women who swapped successful professional careers to embark on
religious life will take another major step towards their calling
this weekend, the Irish News reports. Former television journalist
Martina Purdy and ex-barrister Elaine Kelly will take their vows on
Saturday to become temporary professed sisters, more than three
years after joining the Adoration Sisters. Speaking ahead of the
ceremony, which will be held at St Peter's Cathedral in west
Belfast, Sister Martina and Sister Elaine have described their joy
that they will become "brides of Christ".
The two women joined the Adoration Sisters, an order of nuns based
in the Falls Road within weeks of each other in 2014, both wanting
to embark on a life dedicated to their faith. At the time, Sr
Martina was a political correspondent with the BBC who had spent
more than 20 years covering pivotal political events during the
peace process, while Sr Kelly
was a renowned barrister. Both spoke at the time of how they had
completely changed their career paths to fulfil acalling to God.
After serving as postulant and novice nuns, the women will this
weekend take their biggest step so far by making their first
profession of vows. Large crowds of family, friends and members of
the local community are expected to attend the ceremony where Mother
Mary Josephine Caldwell, the superior general of the Sisters of
Adoration, will receive and accept the vows of Sr Elaine and Sr
Martina. The main celebrant at the service will be Bishop of Down
and Connor, Noel Treanor, with Fr Robert Sloan, Fr John Murray, Fr
John Nevin and Fr Martin Graham also con-celebrating. During the
ceremony, the women will each receive the brown veil, as well as the
ring and brown scapular (robe) of the congregation, which will
"signify their spiritual union with God". In six years time, the two
women will make their perpetual vows.
Speaking to the Irish News yesterday ahead of entering a period of
reflection, Sr Martina said it was a "big step" on a wonderful
journey. "We see it like a great adventure into the heart of God,"
she said. "We think it's mind-blowing that a barrister and a
journalist have been called to receive God's life and commit to him.
We were surprised as anyone else was when it happened. "It's a big
step, we will be making our vows before God." Sr Elaine said the
ceremony would be a "celebration" for everyone. "We will have our
families with us and our friends, Martina's friends from the BBC and
my friends from the Bar will be there as well as
people from the local community," she said. "We see it as a
celebration and the fact that it will be held in our own parish, at
St Peter's, is wonderful.
"We want people from no matter where, no matter who to come and join
us on Saturday." Sr Elaine also said the ceremony will see them
become "brides of Christ" and will mark how "God is in our hearts
forever". "Three and a half years ago I received the call and when I
first entered, people couldn't believe it would be nine years of a
journey," she said. "But you live it every day and here we are, so
far along the journey already.
"We are servants of God, we are called to be holy and humble. He
takes the gifts he has given us and he makes the best of them. "We
want it to be a joyful occasion, there is a real tangible excitement
in the community, you can feel it. "The joy of the day is for