Run­ning nun: Good ex­er­cise, good time to pray

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - RELIGION - CHRISTINE CLARRIDGE

In a fit­ness-for­ward city like Seat­tle, it’s not sur­pris­ing to see street ath­letes in all man­ner of pants, capris, shorts, bras, tanks, tops and tights in every color, fit and form.

What is un­ex­pected, how­ever, is see­ing some­one in a habit.

“It is a bit un­usual to see some­one run­ning down the street dressed like that,” said Hay­ley Tapp, nod­ding at Sis­ter Mary Kelli Ann Lopez, who was run­ning down a res­i­den­tial street wear­ing a white veil, a plain, dove gray, three-quar­ter length habit and a pair of mul­ti­col­ored run­ning shoes.

Lopez — a 32-year-old novice with the So­ci­ety of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trin­ity who will take her vows soon in Cor­pus Christi, Texas — has drawn more than her share of stares, dou­ble takes, ques­tions and even a few puns since she be­gan run­ning in the neigh­bor­hood reg­u­larly a year and a half ago.

“The first time I saw her, she was with a group of about five nuns,” said for­mer run­ner Charles Gor­danier. “Now it’s ap­par­ently some­thing she’s de­cided to do on her own. Which is great. There are a lot of ben­e­fits if you can make it a habit.”

Although Lopez has oc­ca­sion­ally suc­ceeded in get­ting some of the four sis­ters she lives with in a con­vent on the prop­erty of St. Alphon­sus Par­ish and School to join her in a short walk or run, she’s gen­er­ally solo on the six- to nine-mile runs she takes five days a week.

Her re­li­gious so­ci­ety, which was founded nearly 60 years ago in the United States, is among those that have cho­sen to re­tain wear­ing habits in pub­lic even af­ter the ec­u­meni­cal coun­cil known as Vat­i­can II al­lowed some sis­ters to shed the dis­tinc­tive and mod­est at­tire.

“It’s very hum­bling and lets

SEAT­TLE TIMES (TNS)/ELLEN M. BANNER

Mary Lopez runs last month to­ward Golden Gar­dens Park in the Seat­tle neigh­bor­hood of Bal­lard. The so­ci­ety of which she is a part, So­ci­ety of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trin­ity, is among those that have cho­sen to re­tain wear­ing habits in pub­lic even af­ter the ec­u­meni­cal coun­cil known as Vat­i­can II al­lowed some nuns to shed the dis­tinc­tive and mod­est at­tire.

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