Martina Purdy and Elaine Kelly leave convent of Adoration Sisters
FORMER BBC political correspondent Martina Purdy and former barrister Elaine Kelly have left their religious congregation in west Belfast.
Both women entered the convent of the Adoration Sisters five years ago and confirmed their departure this afternoon.
In statements posted on social media the pair said they had had "the time of my life" with the small congregation. They left the Falls Road convent this afternoon and will not be allowed to take their final vows.
In her statement, Ms Purdy said her congregation had "grown too small and fragile to meet the standards of governance required in the Catholic Church".
"Consequently, my religious vows expired this afternoon and I am no longer a Sister of Adoration. 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."
Ms Purdy said that "even with this outcome I would do it all again".
Ms Kelly, meanwhile, said she "never saw this moment coming" but "understood why it is not possible to continue in formation".
"From my heart I can say that I have had the time of my life," she said.
Ms Kelly said she would use the "amazing experiences" to determine "the next stage of the journey as a committed Catholic".
- Elaine Kelly was a leading Belfast barrister until God called her to become a nun (June 2019)
- Sr Martina: Why I left everything to follow Jesus (April 2019)
- In pictures: Former journalist and ex-barrister 'living the dream' in new lives as nuns (April 2017)