ABC journalist chases dream of entering a convent

Nancy Webb with Sisters of Life Srs Therese and Naomi in May. PHOTO: Supplied

An ABC journalist has quit her job to fulfil her dream of entering a convent.

Nancy Webb, 22, left Toowoomba ABC this month to explore the possibility of a religious vocation with the New York-based Sisters of Life.

She told The Catholic Weekly that while she enjoyed her work she had wanted to be a nun from the age of six and in recent years her heart was “captured” by the order’s devotion to the dignity of the human person.

Ms Webb is the third child in a large family of musicians who belong to Toowoomba’s Sacred Heart parish.

She first learnt about the Sisters of Life when she was handed a pamphlet about them while at World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008.

“It had a picture of the sisters and the words ‘to lay down one’s life that others may live’.

“I was only 11 years old then but something about that really resonated with me.

“I’m not sure exactly what it was but I guess it was a Holy Spirit moment.”

She visited New York for a live-in discernment retreat in May and will enter the order as a postulant in September.

Her younger brother Nathan is a Brisbane seminarian.

As children they were “best mates” and made a plan to became a priest and a nun and form their own order so they’d never have to part, Ms Webb explained.

“It’s turned out slightly differently,” she laughed.

She said it was still challenging to make the decision to apply for entry into the convent.

“I’m going to miss Australia, the Aussie accents, the cultural identity – I think that will be the biggest struggle as well as the little things like watching Netflix and eating junk food and things like that.

“It’s good to have the support of my family and friends and know that I’m still free, I’m not committed yet.

“But I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing what this next step will bring.”

She was most looking forward to spending time with the Sisters, she said.

“They are a beautiful community and they’re always so happy and bubbly and authentic people.

“They’re good people to be around and they know how to have fun.”

She said her former work colleagues were supportive as well.

“My chief of staff said it was the first time she’s ever had to write a reference for someone wanting to enter a convent, rather than some other job,” she said.

“Once I told them I wanted to enter religious life that opened up a lot of other questions like, ‘Well, who is Jesus and why would you want to give up your whole life for him?’

“Well, he gave up everything for me.

“What I liked most about journalism was meeting people and telling their stories to show how amazing they are.

“I’ll still be doing that sort of work, just with the Sisters of Life, and not talking on the radio and things like that to people, but in person.”