Former Olympic speed skater has ‘no regrets’ about new life as Franciscan sister

.- A former U.S. Olympic speed skater is now a Franciscan sister and says she has “no regrets” about her decision to commit to a life of service to God and the poor.

Kirstin Holum at the age of 17 placed sixth in the 3,000 meters speed skating event at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Observers predicted a great future for Holum, whose mother was a 1972 gold medalist in speed skating.

But despite loving the sport, she told Yahoo Sports, “I had this incredibly strong calling that it was time to move on and take a different path in life.”

She decided on her calling while on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal.

Holum is now known as Sister Catherine and is a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, whose mission is to work with the poor and the homeless and to evangelize.

“It is funny now to think of how different my life is now,” she told Yahoo Sports. “I had the wonderful privilege of being able to compete as an Olympian, and now I am blessed to able to serve God and help those less fortunate.”

She was first based in New York where she and her fellow sisters worked in the Bronx with poor children in gang areas. In the fall of 2009, Sr. Catherine was sent with three other sisters to Leeds, England, where she now serves as a missionary to the people in the surrounding area.

Sister Lucille, who heads the Bronx chapter of the Sisters of the Renewal, said that Sr. Catherine has the “compassion of an angel.”

“It is wonderful to see people’s faces light up when Sister Catherine shares her experiences of her time in speed skating,” Sister Lucille said. “She never boasts about it but she has come to realize that we are incredibly proud of her and are lucky to have her as part of our religious family. The sisters and the people we try to reach love hearing about what she accomplished.”

Sr. Catherine told Yahoo Sports she wishes “the very best” to this Olympics’ competitors in speed skating, many of whom she once skated with.

“It is strange for me to think that things could have been different for me and I could have been at the Olympics again, but it wasn’t the Lord’s path for me and I have no regrets.”

To learn more about the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, visit: http://www.franciscansisterscfr.com/.

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