Ex-BBC reporter Martina Purdy receives her veil in rite
Former BBC broadcaster turned nun Martina Purdy and one-time family barrister Elaine Kelly have taken a big step forward on their spiritual journeys.
The former political correspondent and her friend received their veils yesterday in a ceremony at the Adoration Convent on Belfast's Falls Road.
Her decision last year to swap a high-flying media career for the contemplative life sparked surprise and much comment.
Ms Purdy had been a journalist for over 25 years, working at the Belfast Telegraph before she joined the BBC, while Elaine was a barrister for 23 years before joining the Adoration Sisters last year.
Their new lives stand in stark contrast to those they used to lead.
Ms Purdy's distinctive blonde bob has been replaced by an undyed crop and she now sports a studious pair of glasses.
Assuming the veil marks the transition in religious life from a postulant to a novice - an important rite of passage in the women's new religious lives.
Both women smiled and looked delighted as they received their veils yesterday.
The Adoration Sisters' main source of income comes from the baking of altar bread, and all their work is carried out in silence.
Recently, Ms Purdy said: "Those who know me will know that I am not one for silence. I am a bit of a chatterbox, so when I came to the congregation seeking to join them, and they told me they ate in silence and their work was in silence, I kind of thought they were joking.
"Only the Lord could call a chatterbox to a life of silence, but He does love irony."
Although she had been raised and educated a Catholic, faith was not always the driving force in her life, Ms Purdy said.
But gradually her passion for journalism ebbed because her love for God left no room for the material world.
The Adoration Sisters were founded in Paris in 1848 by Théodelindé Dubouche, who is known now as Mother Marie Thérèse.