What an incredible and inspiring story!
In a recent interview with NBC News, Kirstin Holum, Former Speed Skater and Olympic competitor-turned Franciscan Sister of the Renewal, said that “everyone desires greatness,” and that God’s plan for you will give you the peace you’re looking for.
The former Olympian responded to the call to religious life after retiring from her speed skating career.
She is now Sister Catherine Holum, CFR, in Leeds, England.
But the story does not stop there!
In a video posted by the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service, she explained how her religious vocation came about.
She visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal at age 16.
There, she heard a voice in her heart that said, “You’re going to be a sister.”
She then entered the shrine’s perpetual adoration chapel, and said “tears started streaming from her eyes.”
“It was the first time in my life I truly knew that Jesus was real, alive, that he loved me and had a plan for my life. I could barely make it to the pew I was so overwhelmed with joy at knowing the love of Jesus in that moment.”
When Holum returned home from the Fatima pilgrimage, she said she asked the Blessed Mother to pray for her speed skating career.
That next year, she competed in the 1998 Olympic Winter games in Japan.
She placed sixth in the 3000 meters and seventh in the 5000 meters. Even though she just began her skating career, she did not feel at peace.
“There was this restlessness in my heart, and I just knew there was more to life for me than sports.”
After that, she retired from skating and focused on school. While earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, she fell away from the faith due to lack of peer support at school.
She did return home, however, and her mother’s dedication to the pro-life movement inspired her to also take an active role. Consequently, she met other young people on fire for their faith, and their example brought her back to the Lord.
One night, after meeting with these young people she prayed, “Lord, what do you want for my life?”
Holum explained that this was a “life-changing prayer” that opened the door of her heart.
With these young Catholics, she joined a walk across America for the pro-life movement. The walk ended at World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada.
She explained that World Youth Day “was a powerful experience of seeing the Church so young, vibrant, and alive and seeing a lot of religious sisters—young nuns everywhere!”
She recollected the call she received from God at 16.
She explained that “it was through the Lord purifying my heart through prayer, confession, and the sacraments of the Church that I came to remember his plan for my life, and to be open to his plan.”
Sister Catherine Holum entered the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in 2003.
She had encouraging words for those discerning:
“Do not be afraid of whatever God has in store for your life. Whatever he has created you to be, he is going to fill you with the most joy and happiness that you’ll ever experience.
Be brave, be courageous and follow the Lord and he will truly satisfy your heart.”