It was not the first time these two women’s lives had dramatically changed. Kelly is a former barrister who used to specialise in family law; while Purdy was a leading political correspondent for the BBC who grilled many politicians, gaining a reputation as a no-nonsense journalist during her coverage both of The Troubles and the eventual signing of the Good Friday Agreement, which saw peace finally come to Northern Ireland in 1998.
“While interviewing politicians I realised increasingly that I was thinking more and more that this person needs a lot of prayer,” she explained. “Then in 2014 I decided to take the plunge and give up my career to devote my life to God.”
Primarily based in Belfast, the Sisters of Adoration are a Catholic order based in 1848, however as with most spiritual organisations, waning bums on seats and with them donations, imply that cash is tight – and that is even earlier than counting the price of Brexit and the Covid pandemic on individuals’s incomes. It was in the course of the latter that, whereas trying to find solutions as to what to do with their lives now they’d fairly actually misplaced their method, they stumbled throughout one other path – on a map.
Have a look at an Ordnance Survey map of this part of the coast, operating between Killian Level to the north and Newcastle to the south, and there is a marked path named the Lecale Approach.
“Nevertheless it wasn’t at all times referred to as that,” mentioned Kelly, as we took a minibus to a spot referred to as Ballyhoran Bay and stepped down onto the seaside the place the waves pulled and pushed the small pebbles on the shore. She took out her personal well-used Ordnance Survey map and pointed to a number of damaged traces that indicated strolling trails near the place we have been. Certain sufficient, the phrases “St Patrick’s Approach” (to not be confused with the 82-mile St Patrick’s Way based in 2015 by artist Alan Graham that runs between Armagh and Downpatrick) have been printed in black ink – although now not appeared to kind a coherent path with many sections really fizzling out.
“Colloquially it was referred to as the St Patrick’s Approach or The Pilgrim’s Approach due to its shut hyperlinks with Patrick,” she defined.