Saturday, June 24, 2006

Running Nuns

Something you don't see in Key West: a nun, in full habit, running through the neighborhood, preceded and followed a number of small children dressed in bright orange rain jackets. The children and the nun are from St. Charles Home for Children, located just a few blocks from where we're staying here in New Hampshire. The nuns and the children run together every day. It's a part of the home's program to rebuild the lives of children who've been referred by the Department of Children, Youth and Families because of some family crisis.

The nuns are members of an order known as the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love. It is a private association of Roman Catholic women dedicated to the care and healing of victims of abuse and neglect. The sisters I've seen running with the children, who are between the ages of three and nine, are themselves young women, most appearing to be in their 20's or 30's.

The sight of the group of runners this morning, running in the rain, stretched out over about a quarter-mile, prompted me to Google for more information. I discovered that the home's unique program has received extensive media coverage. Each year since 1996 the sisters have sponsored a 5K road race on the streets of Rochester as a means of raising money for the home. The race draws hundreds of entrants who join the nuns and children of the home to traverse the race course.

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