Kirstin Holum

Speed skater becomes nun: This story doesn't deserve run-of-the-mill, faith-free reporting

Speed skater becomes nun: This story doesn't deserve run-of-the-mill, faith-free reporting

There’s no shortage of Olympic-athletes-and-their-faith stories coming out these days and for the most part, they’re decent stories.

There’s Gina Dalfonzo’s wrap-up of Christian athletes at the event for Christianity Today; a piece on Jewish athletes from the Jewish News of Northern California; Al Jazeera’s article on the lack of an Islamic prayer room for Olympians and so on.

But USA Today’s piece on the former speed skater who became a nun isn’t one of those well-written stories. Although datelined South Korea, the locale is in northern England, which throws off most readers at the start.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – At a community ice rink in the northern English city of Bradford, the security attendant had a bit of a dilemma. She had already remonstrated with a group of teenage boys for larking about, skating too quickly and endangering other visitors, and now there was another speedster hurtling around the rink, even faster.
Except that this time the customer powering around the ice, executing gliding turns and weaving in and out of human traffic wasn’t joking around and carried a focused look of remembrance.
And she was wearing a nun’s habit.
Eventually Kirstin Holum, or Sr. Catherine of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, was stopped by the guard and asked to slow down, which she did without complaint.

The story doesn’t say any more about this New York-based order, founded 30 years ago this year, that has attracted quite a youthful following and is growing while many other religious orders are not.

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