.- The Poor Clare Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who live in temporary facilities on monastery property in Tonopah, Ariz., have added another “habit” to their spiritual regimen: the Nun Run.
The sisters hosted their third annual Nun Run March 10 at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Ariz. It brought 1,135 runners and walkers — ages 4 to 78 — to the park in support of the sisters plus another 268 “shadow” runners worldwide.
Funds from registration fees, online donations and on-site merchandise sales supported the sisters’ quest to build a 28-cell permanent monastery and place of retreat west of the Valley. Once built, the contemplative sisters can finally enjoy full enclosure. That’s been lacking since they moved to Arizona in 2005.
This marked the first Nun Run directly benefiting the monastery. Past runs supported the 9,000-square-foot chapel, which formally opened last May.
“We’re very pleased with the spirit of everyone coming together,” Sr. John-Mark Maria told The Catholic Sun.
She was among 160 athletes from as far away as New Jersey and Maine who ran the 10k on-site. The run was equally split with 85 women and 81 men.
Sr. John-Mark Maria finished in a little over an hour. She started training after Thanksgiving.
Some athletes had attended every race while others joined for the first time. More than 280 women ran or walked the 5k with 175 men, including six priests and a deacon.
Fr. Paul Sullivan, vocations director for the diocese of Phoenix, initiated a “Chaplains Challenge” for this year’s run. The two-fold challenge was between chaplains at the diocese’s Newman Centers serving Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.
Fr. John Muir, assistant director at ASU’s All Saints Newman Center in Tempe, and Fr. Matt Lowry, chaplain at NAU’s Holy Trinity Newman Center, tried to outnumber each other in registration and outrun each other on the course. Fr. Muir and ASU barely won both challenges and a traveling trophy.
“I heard they were drinking Gatorade out of it,” Sr. John-Mark quipped.
The chaplains finished 10 seconds apart. ASU reportedly outnumbered NAU by three runners. Sr. John-Mark said the University of Arizona is looking to get involved next year. The sisters also plan to open a high school division of the “Chaplain’s Challenge.”
Other Catholic groups who supported this year’s Nun Run include St. Joan of Arc Parish, Boy Scout Troop 204 from Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix and the Knights of Columbus from St. Paul Parish, also in Phoenix. Catholics showed up with their family and friends too.
Marjorie Veitukus was one of them. The St. Henry parishioner from Buckeye, Ariz. brought her three children and her son’s friend to the Nun Run.
“We’ve always watched EWTN,” Veitukus said, noting the network founded by Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare sister.
When the Poor Clares moved to the diocese, it became even more important that Veitukus support their mission. She said a Catholic place of prayer and retreat is sorely needed in the West Valley.
Andee Williams also thought highly of the Poor Clares’ perpetual prayers on behalf of intentions worldwide. The Sacred Heart parishioner traveled from Prescott, Ariz. and walked the one-mile course in a complete white angel costume in support of the Poor Clares.
Shadow participants from six other countries including Australia and a Franciscan high school in Zambia. The racecourse took students directly to a nearby priory for priests.
Posted with permission from The Catholic Sun, newspaper for the Diocese of Phoenix, Ariz.