Northern Ireland news

Sister Martina Purdy says she can't blame politicians for her decision to join convent

Sr Martina speaking at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. Picture by Cliff Donaldson

FORMER BBC journalist Martina Purdy has shared her extraordinary spiritual journey to becoming a nun, describing how she had "found something better than being on TV discussing politics - that hour with Jesus was better than anything".

Sr Martina revealed her path to the contemplative life at an event at St Anne's Cathedral on Monday night, telling a packed audience she can still "hardly believe...what has happened over the past two years".

She said her decision in 2014 to join the Adoration Sisters, an order of nuns based on the Falls Road in Belfast, had "brought me a lot of peace, and a lot of joy".

Sr Martina of the Blessed Sacrament was guest speaker at the Interdenominational Divine Healing Ministries’ service sharing her journey from political journalist to Adoration Sister, which she described as "living the dream. God’s dream".

Drawing much laughter, Sr Martina joked: "If you had told me a few years ago that I would be joyfully living the dream on the Falls Road in a brown habit as a sister of adoration, two doors down from where I used to interview Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, I would have said you were crazy".

She also told of how there was "no boom moment" when she received her calling from God to enter the religious life.

"....it was more of a slow burn for me," she said.

"I resisted Him until he became irresistible…until that fleeting thought that came into my head every so often became a burning desire.

"And when I quit the BBC to become a sister of Adoration, I know some of our local comedians tried to blame the politicians. They said that I just couldn’t take another row on flags, parading and the past.

"But this time, you can't blame the politicians. You can't blame Martin McGuinness or Peter Robinson or Arlene Foster. Because it’s all God. It’s all God and his amazing grace."

She described how listening to a priest in 2013 say 'if you want your share in the Kingdom of Heaven right now, you don’t have to wait for the next life, you can have your share right now', she thought 'I wouldn’t mind having my share now…but I got a lot of stuff'.

"But I felt the call strongly as I left Italy and by the time I got back I was feeling like my possessions were weighing me down - choking me almost," she said.

"And the call was growing so strong that I finally gave in and went to speak to a priest who was in charge of vocations.

"I remember saying that even if I wanted to give up everything to follow Jesus, I didn’t see how it was possible. I had a life and everything."

Six months later "still torn between my old and new life", she embarked on a retreat when she finally told God: "I'm in. I want to be transformed".

"And in that moment, I was full of joy - supernatural joy - because my faith was finally allied to God’s will".

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