August 4, 2012

When your bff becomes a nun

Danielle and I met at Eureka College.  She was short, beautiful, kind, and a lot of fun to be around.  As our involvement at the Salve Regina Newman Center grew so did our friendship, and by our senior year at EC we were best friends.  My friendship with Danielle was very special to me because she was the first best friend I had who was Catholic like I was Catholic.  Daily Mass, frequent confession, adoration - these things were part of what we did together just like going for ice cream, watching movies, and talking about our futures.  

The Motherhouse

Our junior year Danielle, a cradle Catholic, was confirmed.  Our senior year we visited the Nashville Dominicans several times as she discerned her vocation.  And while most of our classmates applied to grad school or for the job of their dreams, Danielle applied to the convent.  The summer after we graduated we sewed labels on her socks and she gave me her blow dryer, which she would no longer need.  

The altar in the sisters' chapel.

I cried when she left.  I mourned her like she had died.  It was hard to be supportive while feeling so alone.

Top and center in the program

When Danielle, now known as Sr. Marie Noelle,  professed first vows my then-fiance and I went to watch and eat wedding cake.  It was beautiful and I was so happy for her.  And then we waited five more years and finally - finally! - I got the letter that she was to profess final vows with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tennessee.  

Sr. Marie Noelle is on the far left.

I spent my 31st birthday, the feast of St. James the Greater, watching my short, beautiful, kind, fun friend prostrate herself on the marble floor of the Cathedral.  I heard her choke up while she vowed to live a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience for the rest of her life.  And I cried because I am so happy for her and I feel so blessed to have been able to tag along for parts of the journey. 

Professing her vows.

Life is filled with joy.  Our faith is so beautiful.  God is good.

We're both so happily married.

You might also like this piece, Mother Mary, where I talk about my friendship with Sr. Marie Noelle, another nun I'm friends with, and our blessed mother.


  1. Love it! One of my closest friends made her first profession with the Nashville, Dominicans last summer... this makes me so excited to see her again at her final profession in a few years!

    1. Hi Katie! I used to be in that group who made vows last year! They are my closest friends! Who was it that I your friend!!

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  2. Oh gosh. I got choked up reading this. Congratulations to both of you.

  3. I love this post! I especially loved the ending "both so happily married". I learn so much about my vocation as a wife from my friendship with Sisters. You're so blessed to have walk part of her discernment process together. Prayers for Sr. Marie Noelle!

  4. One of my own closest college friends is now a Nashville Dominican! I got to go to her final vows 4 yrs ago. Brings back beautiful memories! Many blessings to your sweet friend :)

  5. I forgot you were coming to Nashville! I work literally a mile away from the Cathedral. We could have lunched. :(

    The chapel at the Motherhouse is stunning. The pictures do not do it justice.

  6. I love the caption on your last photo :).

  7. my kids are going to elementary and high schools run by the nashville dominicans- they're great! Aquinas Regional in Woodbridge, and John Paul the Great in Dumfries (brand new high school!) loved the photos.

  8. I love the Nashville Dominicans. A number of gals from college have gone on to join the order. I have a friend who is in the Sisters of Life, and after I told her that watching the sisters lives was such an encouragement to me in my vocation as a wife and mother and gave me so much hope she said "You have no idea how much seeing your vocation with your husband and child encourages us in ours! Our paths are complementary."

  9. Jenny, that would have been fantastic! If I'm ever in Nashville again we'll have to meet up. :)

    LisaR, you're kids are so lucky!

    Lydiapurpuria, How funny! My other bff is a Sister of Life and we have often talked about the blessing it is watching one another's vocation. The Sisters of Life are so mom friendly - if you know what I mean. :)

    Katie, any chance to visit the Nashville Dominicans is an opportunity that should be taken.

  10. Also, it's true that the pictures do NOT do justice to how beautiful the convent is! You should visit them if you can. Their night prayers are gorgeous. Gorgeous! And make sure you are told the jaw-dropping story about the stained glass windows in their chapels. So amazing.

  11. Hi. Um, I think that I maybe met your bff who is a nun. No, I'm not kidding. My mom works in a Catholic elementary school, with two Nashville Dominicans. Sr. Marie Noelle is the second-grade teacher, and her principal is Sr. John Agnes. What a small world! :)

  12. (don't know if I'm double-posting or not - my computer is kind of rude and doesn't always do what I ask it to. If I am, sorry!)

    What a small world - I think that I met your nun bff! My mother is a teacher at a Catholic elementary school, and their principal and second-grade teacher are both sisters from the Nashville Dominicans. If it's the same Sr. Marie Noelle, who teaches second grade, then...I have met her, and even I can tell that she is a very sweet, and caring woman. You're very lucky! :)