Photo: Natalia Balcerzak

Rye Journalism grad quits career to pursue a religious life

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By Stefanie Phillips

A reporter and a former Ryerson journalism student has recently quit her 25-year career to become a nun.

Martina Purdy, well-known for her work at the BBC for 15 years, was one of the top political corespondents when she resigned. She made a public announcement on Oct. 11 that she would be joining the Adoration Sisters, a religious congregation.


“I know many people will not understand this decision,” she said in a BBC statement. “It is a decision that I have not come to lightly, but it is one that I make with love and great joy.”

Purdy said that her career as a journalist has taught her many things and she was still learning when she quit. She did not wish to comment further on her new vocation.
In an email she wrote to The Eyeopener, she said that journalism was a difficult job. “Journalists should be like surgeons: do no harm.”She also added that she was always careful as a journalist as it often treads on the lives of people by relying on their tragedies, triumphs, failures, successes, joys and pain.

“Anyone can sit at a computer and write, spout opinions [and] say what they like, but journalists are professional people — journalists are guardians of the truth.”
She said she did not become cynical but would sometimes question the stories she was pursuing.

“I learned to laugh and move on,” she said. “There’s always tomorrow.”

Although she said that Ryerson’s journalism program is “timeless and classic,” she said that only experience can really prepare you for a job in journalism.

She made a reference to Kathy English, a Ryerson journalism professor, who always used to tell her to make her subjects earn their quotes. “‘You know a good quote when the bells are going off’ she’d say.”

English said she remembers Purdy in her class of 1989-90 and her interest in the ethical dimensions of journalism.

“She asked a lot of questions,” English said, “How and why we do what we do.”

At the moment, Purdy said that she is more interested in reading than writing — but she thinks she will always write, even if it’s in a journal.

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