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Former BBC journalist to make her first profession today

By Sarah Mac Donald - 23 September, 2017

Three years after Martina Purdy joined the Adoration Sisters in west Belfast, she will profess her vows along with former barrister, Sr Elaine of the Heart of Jesus Kelly.

Though she always thought she would marry and have children, former BBC journalist, Martina Purdy, will today make her First Profession as a member of the Adoration Sisters in Belfast.

Three years after the high profile BBC political reporter joined the community on the Falls Road in west Belfast, she will profess her vows along with former barrister, Sr Elaine of the Heart of Jesus Kelly.

The temporary vows follow time served as postulants and novices. All going well, the two women will make their perpetual vows in six years’ time.

The main celebrant at the service in Belfast today will be Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor. He will concelebrate with Fr Robert Sloan, Fr John Murray, Fr John Nevin and Fr Martin Graham.

During the ceremony, the women will receive a brown veil, as well as the ring and brown scapular of the congregation, signifying their spiritual union with God.

Speaking to the Irish News ahead of her profession, Sr Martina said it was a “big step” on a wonderful journey.

“We see it like a great adventure into the heart of God,” she said.

The Sisters of Adoration and Reparation, a contemplative yet unenclosed community of nuns, was founded by Mother Marie-Thérèse in Paris in 1848.

Srs Martina Purdy and Elaine Kelly of the Adoration Sisters. Pic: courtesy Irish Independent/Belfast Telegraph

Martina Purdy was born in Belfast and lived with her family in Andersonstown in west Belfast until the family emigrated to Canada in 1971, when she was five.

Her father was a Protestant from Nottingham and a former British soldier who became a Catholic after falling for her mother Margaret.

She told the Irish Catholic newspaper in an interview that having taken instruction in Clonard he went on to become “a man of great faith with a wonderful devotion to the Blessed Sacrament”.

She herself , “always thought I would get married and I always wanted to have children. I absolutely adore children.”

Speaking to her BBC colleague, Martin O’Brien, the then novice said she had had some serious relationships, “but God did not want that for me. He was saving me for himself. And thank God…you know the Garth Brooks song ‘Thank God for Unanswered Prayers’?”

She added, “Marriage is a beautiful vocation but it is not an easy life and if it is not the right person it is not going to work.”

Martina Purdy attended high school in Canada and studied for a degree in international relations at the University of Toronto, graduating in 1987.

She later returned to Northern Ireland and began her career in journalism which spanned over 25 years.

Announcing her decision to join the Adoration Sisters on Twitter in 2014, she said she had made the decision “with love and great joy” and that she was leaving her job for a “completely different way of life”.

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