In pictures: Former journalist and ex-barrister 'living the dream' in new lives as nuns
A FORMER journalist and an ex-barrister have said they are "living the dream" after taking the next step in their new lives as nuns.
Martina Purdy, previously a political correspondent at the BBC and reporter with The Irish News, and one-time lawyer Elaine Kelly were speaking after making their first profession of vows, more than three years after joining the Adoration Sisters.
The two women joined the community based in the Falls Road within weeks of each other in 2014, both wanting to embark on a life dedicated to their faith.
In a special ceremony held in St Peter's Cathedral in west Belfast on Saturday, the pair reached the next formal stage in their journey.
Speaking to the Irish News, Sister Elaine said it was the best day of her life.
"It was a beautiful ceremony. The church was packed. They were standing at the back, it was absolutely amazing. For me personally it was the best day of my life so far," she said.
"It was such a joyful occasion that we got to share with our family and friends.
"Martina and I didn't receive our calls to religious until later so it was a wonderful opportunity for her friends from journalism and my friends from the bar and legal fraternity to share this with us. We had an amazing time. It was out of this world.
"We became brides of Christ yesterday. We gave our lives completely to God, to Jesus and he's our bridegroom, he looks after everything. It's such a fulfilling life, it's a life of sacrifice, but it's a life of love."
Sr Martina also said they were "living the dream".
"When I entered the convent three years ago it was a such a beautiful day and I thought it was never going to get any better than this, but I have to say it gets better. I'm just totally blown away."
Sr Elaine and Sr Martina took their vows to become temporary professed sisters, which were accepted by Mother Mary Josephine Caldwell.
During the ceremony, the women received the brown veil, as well as the ring and brown scapular (robe) of the congregation, which signifies their spiritual union with God.
In six years' time they will make their final perpetual vows.