Spring day ‘Nun run’

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It was a great day for a run. Bright skies and warm weather greeted 24 young women March 8 as they boarded vans driven by Father Joel D. Jaffe, Arlington diocesan vocations director, and Administrative Assistant Anne-Marie Minnis to visit three local convents in a daylong "nun run."

The run is an annual diocesan vocational event that brings young women discerning a vocation to area convents where they can get information about specific religious orders. The sisters talk to the young women about their order, answer questions and pray together.

Twenty-one of the young women were members of the Fiat discernment group for high school girls, and three were young women, out of high school, discerning a vocation.

Their first stop was the convent of the Religious Sisters of Mercy in Clinton, Md., for Mass and a presentation.

The next stop was the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Port Tobacco in La Plata, Md. Again, the young women heard the sisters' story, had lunch and prayed.

The final convent was the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Woodbridge.

The spring-like weather brought out thousands of motorists in the Washington area that clogged local roads and, according to Father Jaffe, made the trip from La Plata to Woodbridge a bit longer than normal. That delay caused an abbreviated visit to the Dominican convent.

The young women made the best of the shortened visit, hearing from sisters like Amata Christi proudly tell the story of the Dominican Sisters.

The day ended with a rosary.

Analise Kinley, 15, is a home-schooled student and parishioner of St. Matthew Church in Spotsylvania. She loved talking and praying with the sisters at all three convents.

"It was nice to see what the sisters were like," said Kinley. "They had joy."

Kira Sanchez, 17, a student at Northwest High School in Germantown, Md., is interested in the Carmelite order and heard about the Fiat event from the vocations office at the Archdiocese of Washington.

"Just going down (to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns) was a wonderful experience," she said.

Valerie Guilloux, a parishioner of St. William of York Church in Stafford, met her daughter, Madeline, 15, at the Dominican convent. She watched and listened as the sisters spoke about their order. She brought out her rosary as the sisters and the young women prayed.

"I'm happy (Madeline) is open to discernment," said Guilloux. "It's God's will."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015