Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nuns on the Run!

The other day, I noticed that Sister Mary Agnes had signed up to follow the blog. She had also followed me on Twitter. A running nun? How cool is that! Of course my curiosity got the better of me, so I had to find out more about the Sister. I soon found out that Sister Mary Agnes is a part of the St. Charles Children's Home in New Hampshire.

The home is an intermediate group home for children from families in crisis. It's a part of the New Hampshire Catholic Charities (NHCC). The home serves about 20 children (both boys and girls) ages 3 to 12. You may have read an article in Runner's World about the sisters and their unique way of helping children.

In 1996 the Sisters at St. Charles Children's Home began running every day with the children to help them cope with anger and stress, with wonderful success. A natural antidepressant, running enables the enhancement of each child’s self esteem.

The levels of training and competition vary, depending on each child’s age and ability, up to 4 miles a day, 5 days a week. If a child gets tired, no problem, one of the sisters runs with a large stroller that a child needing a break can plop into for a rest while being pushed. (I wish I had that service on some of my long runs!) The children participate in 5k and 8k road races in the Seacoast area. Just recently (September 2009) the home held their 13th annual St. Charles Children's Home 5K.

Check out the video clip below from the CBS's The Early Show about the Sisters of St. Charles Children's Home and their mission. Be sure to check out Sister Mary Agnes' blog Running With Kids too!


Watch CBS News Videos Online

23 comments:

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Cool story & purpose! I've met Sister Madonna Buder, the nun on the run in triathlon. Great story topic.

Zoë said...

Wow! This is truly an inspiring story! What a great way to help these kids relax and stay healthy at the same time. Thanks for sharing, 'Dude!

Sister Mary Agnes said...

Thank you for the post and for the warm welcome to your blog!

Steel Springs said...

This is so neat! Thanks for the great post.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Sarah! Wow! That's cool! I'd love to do a post on her too!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Zoë! Teaching kids a healthy way to work out their frustrations as such an early age is something they'll be able to use througout their lives. Awesome!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Sister Mary Agnes! No, thank you and the other sisters for your work with the kids!! Sisters Rock!

RunnerDude said...

Thanks Steel Springs!!

Running, kind of. said...

WOW! Now that is one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time!!!! I work in the Mental Health field and I know how exercise can help!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Running, kind of! Welcome to the blog! I know exactly what you mean! Running definitely keeps me healthy both mentally and physically. My wife will often tell me "You need to go for a run....Please go for a run." :-)

Tami said...

you need to see the sister's in action, they are FAST! all the kids are FAST!

Adam said...

Too cool!! I know that there is a Sister who is running across America. I can't remember her name though.... I heard about her from the Runner's Lounge podcast.

Kerrie T. said...

That is so cool! Kinda brings tears to my eyes...

EZEthan said...

Since we're discussing running nuns let's not forget to mention the pioneer of running nunery, Sister Marion Irvine. She started running back in the 70's when she was in her late 40's... at the time she was overweight and smoked cigarettes. In just a couple years time she had slimmed down and wound up setting the woman's masters record in the marathon and in 1984 competed in the Olympic trials finishing with a time of 2:51... it's not really that relevant that she was a nun but I always think it's inspiring when someone randomly decides to start running and suddenly finds out that they're an elite talent!!!

Neil Watson said...

This is an awesome story! It is a brilliant idea to help the kids by running. And what a great sight it must be to the people of New Hampshire to see some running nuns. Keep up the good work, Sisters!

Regina said...

Fantastic!! What great work they are doing with these children. The video mentioned that the kids stay with them until age 12. I wonder where they go after that?

I also hope they (the nuns) don't become victim to the recent Vatican inquisitions into the “quality of life” of American nuns and their too modern attitudes. These women should be commended for the job they are doing.

Sister Mary Agnes said...

Hi Regina, usually the state finds a home for the kids before they turn 12. The few times a home has not been found we have simply applied for a waver to keep that child longer. Those situations turned out well in the long run.

No concerns about the visitation of religious orders in the United States by the Vatican. Everything our Sisters are doing is very much in keeping with what the Catholic Church asks sisters to do. Our running program with kids has been encouraged by Church authorities. Thank you for your concern though.

Regina said...

Sister Mary Agnes, thank you for your kind response. I have no doubt you make sure the kids land in a safe place. I was just curious.

I'm also happy to hear you are "safe" from Vatican interference. I'd hate to think such an amazing program as yours would be at risk. Thank you to you and the other sisters for giving such wonderful and inspired care to these children that may otherwise be lost without you. God Bless!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Tami! I'm envious! I bet it's an awesome sight to see!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Adam! Cool! I'll see what I can dig up!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Kerrie! Felt the same way. Extrememly touching.

RunnerDude said...

Hi EZEthan! Thanks so much for sharing that story! I didn't know about Sister Marion Irvine. What an awesome accomplishment!

RunnerDude said...

Hi Neil! Welcome to the blog! Exactly, the example the sisters are setting is a lesson we all can learn from.