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Former BBC political correspondent Martina Purdy humbled by public's support as she begins new life as nun

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 13/10/2014

Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, with Elaine Kelly, new Postulate, Novice Maura and Sister Kathleen from Adoration Convent on the Falls Road
Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral, Belfast, with Elaine Kelly, new Postulate, Novice Maura and Sister Kathleen from Adoration Convent on the Falls Road
Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Martina Purdy on her way to Mass yesterday at St Peter's Cathedral. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Familiar sight: Martina Purdy with BBC microphone in hand

Former BBC political correspondent Martina Purdy has said she is "truly overwhelmed" by public support after revealing she will be leaving journalism to start a new life as a nun.

One of the most high profile female journalists in Northern Ireland was yesterday photographed for the first time since her shock announcement as she made the journey from the Adoration Convent in west Belfast to Sunday Mass.

Smiling and looking relaxed, Ms Purdy – who just two days before said she made the decision "with love and great joy" – was accompanied by six nuns as she made her way to St Peter's Cathedral. The nuns – the Adoration Sisters–are what is known as a 'contemplative community' and also make altar bread.

While the six nuns were dressed in their traditional habits, Ms Purdy was wearing her usual day wear.

She had revealed on Friday that she was leaving her job for a "completely different way of life".

Yesterday Ms Purdy, who was born in Belfast but raised in Canada, took to her Twitter account to thank the public for the support she has received over the weekend.

In one post she wrote: "Thanks all for your generosity – from those of my faith, other faiths, those trying to find Him, those trying to ignore Him. God bless you".

Another said: "I'm not planning a running commentary – but I'm truly overwhelmed. x"

Ms Purdy left her career after nearly 25 years as a reporter.

She had become a regular in the halls of Stormont, reporting many historic and significant political developments.

In her statement issued on Friday she said she knew many people would not understand her decision – one she had not taken lightly.

She also said that the BBC had always been very supportive of her work.

"This is a very personal decision," she said. "I want to wish all my colleagues all the very best both here and at Stormont, especially my friends in the political unit.

"I shall miss them very much. I also want to wish the politicians well in their future endeavours."

Ms Purdy added that she is grateful for all the support she had from colleagues, family, contacts and friends over the years.

"I know many people will not understand this decision. It is a decision that I have not come to lightly, but it is one that I make with love and great joy," she said.

"I ask for prayers as I embark on this path with all humility, faith and trust."

Ms Purdy had started her career in the Irish News in 1991 before moving to the Belfast Telegraph where she worked from 1993 until 1999 as business editor before becoming political correspondent.

Background

Martina Purdy revealed on Friday she is leaving her career in journalism to become a nun.

She is the latest high-profile female journalist to leave the BBC in Northern Ireland. Last year sports journalist Denise Watson, news anchor Sarah Travers, television news editor Angelina Fusco and reporter Natasha Sayee also quit the broadcasting corporation.

I know many people won't understand... Martina Purdy quits BBC after 15 years for new life as nun

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