Belfast Telegraph

Former journalist Martina Purdy leaves Belfast convent after five years

Sister Martina giving an address in St Anne’s Cathedral in 2016
Sister Martina giving an address in St Anne’s Cathedral in 2016

BBC journalist-turned-nun Martina Purdy has left her Belfast congregation after five years.

Ms Purdy made headlines in 2014 when she made the drastic career change and joined the Sisters of the Adoration on the Falls Road in west Belfast.

On Monday afternoon, the former political correspondent left the convent, along with former lawyer Elaine Kelly, and they will not be allowed to take their final vows and become "fully-professed" nuns.

Ms Purdy said it was not their choice to leave, but the congregation was "too small" to meet the standards of the Catholic Church and all "temporary-professed" nuns could not have their vows renewed.

"My congregation has grown too small and fragile to meet the standards of governance required in the Catholic Church. Consequently, my religious vows expired as of this afternoon and I am no longer a Sister of Adoration," she said.

"This is deeply painful for all concerned. It was not my choice to leave the Belfast convent and such a beautiful congregation. When I entered five years ago, I had hoped and believed that I would, God-willing, make my final profession of vows in 2023."

She has had the "time of my life" since joining the convent and "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," she added.

"I continue to follow Jesus as best I can as a lay Catholic and have now entered period of discernment. Please pray for me and all of us in the congregation."

Ms Purdy said she was "delighted" that the convent is continuing under the care of Mother Mary Josephine with the congregation's remaining fully-professed nuns.

"This is a cross, but it is also a call  to a new life of service - and I believe a call to share in the life, death and resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ," she said.

"That gives me great joy. We must go forward, as St Paul says, striving for the prize, in faith, hope and trust."

After she announced her decision to join the convent in 2014, Ms Purdy revealed her journalist colleagues tried to stage an intervention.

Martina Purdy was born in Belfast and raised in Canada. She returned to Northern Ireland and worked for the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News before joining the BBC.

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