High-flying nuns denied final vows

Two women who gave up high-profile careers to join a convent have been told they can’t make their final vows.

Their congregation has “grown too small to meet the standards of governance required in the Catholic Church” – so their formation stopped.

Martina Purdy – a former BBC News political correspondent and former barrister Elaine Kelly made headlines in 2014 when they joined the Sisters of the Adoration convent in Belfast.

They had hoped to make their final vows in 2023. They would have then been fully professed nuns.

Given this, it isn’t possible for them to make their final vows as Sisters of the Adoration, so they left the convent. Two other sisters affected by the ruling also left the convent recently.

Purdy says it was not their choice to leave the convent.

Having done so, however, their religious vows have expired and they are no longer Sisters of Adoration.

She and Kelly are now taking time out to reflect and consider their futures.

Purdy says during her time in the convent she “had the time of her life” and, despite, the outcome she would “do it all again.”

“This news – that the temporary professed sisters cannot continue in vows – is extremely challenging for us all and for me personally.

“I continue to follow Jesus as best I can as a lay Catholic and have now entered a period of discernment.”

Kelly says when she entered the convent she believed it was for life.

Nonetheless, she says she understands “why it is not possible to continue in formation”.

Her experience in the convent was “very challenging, very exciting and very rewarding. It has taken me to the heights of love and trust of God.”

Although joining another religious order could be an option for the women, it they would need to apply to join it and probably restart their training if accepted.


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