'It led to what I would now call my conversion story': Sickness drew young Cork woman to enclosed order of nuns

'It led to what I would now call my conversion story': Sickness drew young Cork woman to enclosed order of nuns

Sr Máire Brid O’Driscoll from Enniskeane is a member of the Redemptoristine order in Dublin.

A YOUNG Cork nun who has devoted her life to an enclosed order says she was called to the religious life after becoming ill with a viral infection.

Sr Máire Brid O’Driscoll from Enniskeane is a member of the Redemptoristine order in Dublin, also known as the Red Nuns because of their red habit. She has shared her story as part of a move by the order to explains the backgrounds of some of its members to mark Vocation Sunday, which was last Sunday.

She was raised on a farm and remembers yearly summer pilgrimages to Knock with her family.

She says: “I loved this precious time and can see now how I was drawn in little ways to the life of prayer from a young age. 

"When it came to filling out the CAO form before the Leaving Cert, I remember being very uncertain about what I wanted to do with my life. I did have thoughts about religious life but ignored it as daftness. I loved children and decided to become a primary school teacher.”

After spending three years training at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Sr Máire Brid said she became ill just as she was ready to start looking for a teaching post. 

“I got quite sick with what was called a viral infection. It was a difficult time but it led to what I would now call my conversion story, an experience of God’s great and ridiculous love for me, and the love journey has continued ever since.”

Although she went on to teach for four years, her vocation call grew stronger, attending a Youth2000 prayer meeting every week and becoming involved in the Association of Catholic Teachers.

“Along this journey, the draw to contemplative religious life was getting stronger. God was gently leading me and with a lot of discernment, I entered with the Redemptoristines here in Dublin on 21 November 2016.”

She said she was initially attracted to the order through curiosity, adding that the red habits of the order were unusual. But she says she was also attracted to the contemplative way of life.

“I was drawn to the contemplative life and was searching and had never heard of the Redemptoristines before. I googled them and their life seemed interesting. When I came for my first visit, I felt immediately at home and at ease.”

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