The Winter Olympics are wrapping up, and American viewers have likely had their fill of inspirational stories that TV commentators just love to air during breaks in the action — U.S. skier Bode Miller finding redemption on the slopes after partying too much and performing poorly at the 2006 Winter Games, for example.
One of most poignant stories of the past two weeks, though, has focused on an athlete who lives thousands of miles away from the action in Vancouver and had her moment of Olympics glory a dozen years ago.
The U.S. speed skater Kirstin Holum, who placed sixth in the 3,000 meter event as a 17-year-old in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, is now known as Sister Catherine at St. Joseph’s Convent in Leeds, England. She heard the call to religious life during a trip to Fatima, Portugal, and she later joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in the Bronx. A missionary trip took her to England.
Sister Catherine told Yahoo Sports that she still loves speed skating, but the call to religious life was stronger.
“It is not exactly something you would normally expect from a sister,” Sister Catherine said of her Olympics experience. “But I think it is good for people to see that members of the religious order can come from any background and any walk of life. It is all about your commitment to the message.”