By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
Women who are interested in religious life — even if they’re just curious —will have a chance to visit women religious from eight nearby communities during a “Nun Run” April 13-14.
Single Catholic women age 18 to 40 are invited to take part in this overnight experience that will take them to local convents and homes where women religious live and work. It’s designed to give them a quick look at local communities — and religious life in general — without making a commitment.
“It is a whirlwind experience,” said Sister Michelle Sinkhorn, a member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand, Ind., and the director of vocations ministry for her community.
She has been a part of Nun Runs in the Diocese of Evansville, Ind., and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
“It’s like speed dating,” she said during an interview last week by phone. “It packs eight communities into one 24-hour (period). They just get a little snippet of each community. And it’s fun, too.”
The Nun Run will introduce participants to the Sisters of Mercy, the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville and of Mount St. Joseph, Carmelite Nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand and of Walburg Monastery in Covington, Ky.
The Archdiocese of Louisville’s Vocation Office is sponsoring the Nun Run along with the religious communities. Sister Sinkhorn and representatives of other communities serve on the archdiocese’s Women in Discernment Team.
Carrie Williamson, the archdiocese’s associate director for vocations, noted that each of the communities taking part in the Nun Run “gets to explain what their charisms are, what their formation processes are, all those pieces.”
“The beauty of something like this is it’s low pressure,” she noted. “The young ladies I’ve talked to (who are interested in joining a religious community) want to talk, but they don’t want to make a commitment.”
The schedule will be fast-paced and Sister Sinkhorn cautioned that the experience won’t allow much time for discernment.
“It’s not a contemplative retreat,” she said. “It’s not a time to be introspective and pray. It’s a chance to see a lot in a little bit of time. The time for introspection is after the Nun Run.”
The event will begin on April 13 with dinner at 6 p.m. at the Sisters of Mercy St. Catherine Convent on Tyler Lane, near Assumption High School.
The Mercy Sisters will take participants by car to their next stop, the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville Motherhouse on Lexington Road in St. Matthews. They’ll also meet Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph there. They’ll sleep on the Ursuline campus and rise for morning prayer and breakfast with the sisters.
Next, the Ursulines will drive participants to the Carmelite Monastery on Newburg Road in the Highlands where they will observe the midday prayer of this cloistered community.
Afterward, Benedictine Sisters will serve lunch and talk to the participants at their home on Dixie Highway, part of the Mary Queen of Peace Church campus. That afternoon, the Little Sisters of the Poor will serve snacks and discuss their ministry to the elderly poor at St. Joseph Home for the Aged on Audubon Plaza Drive.
The adventure will end with a visit to the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth at a home in the Highlands where three sisters live in community.
“We’ll serve dinner and have a discussion about our history and current ministries,” said Sister of Charity of Nazareth Nancy Gerth. “And we’ll end with a blessing for the women as they continue their journeys, continue their discernment of where God is calling them.”
“If anybody is just curious, I encourage them to come,” Sister Gerth added. “Even if they have the little ‘what if’ in the back of their minds, it’s worth taking the risk to find out.”
For more information or to register for the Nun Run, call 502-636-0296, ext. 1270, or send an email to Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.