Twelve years ago, when she was Kirstin Holum, she was reaching for her skates instead. In 1998 she competed for the United States at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. After placing sixth in the 3,000-meter and seventh in the 5,000-meter speedskating races, the 17-year-old was recognized as a prodigy racing against older women in their prime.
Instead of continuing her speedskating career, she joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, an order founded in New York in 1988. In September she arrived in England to work with the poor, with youth and to evangelize. She is a member of a community of four nuns -- three American and one English -- based in a house that, until last year, was owned and occupied by the Sisters of Mercy.
"I could have gone on" with speedskating, Sister Catherine told Catholic News Service in a Feb. 22 telephone interview. "I was thinking this (Vancouver, British Columbia) could have been my fourth Olympics, but I am so grateful the Lord led me to where I am now."