Nuns hold marathon prayer relay for Covid-19 frontline

The 12 nuns plan to complete the marathon distance of walking in prayer in seven hours

‘Each sister is walking one hour and 15 minutes at the rate of 17 miles a minute,’ says prioress Sr Lucy (pictured right, with Sr Jacinta, left). Photograph: Redemptoristine Sisters/Facebook

Members of an enclosed order of nuns are staging their own marathon on Monday by walking the distance of the Olympic event in tribute to Covid-19 frontline workers.

At 1pm on Monday, the 12 enclosed Redemptoristine Sisters at St Alphonus Road in Dublin's Drumcondra began walking in relays around their grounds in prayer and thanksgiving for frontline workers in the healthcare and other services dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Each sister is walking one hour and 15 minutes at the rate of 17 minutes a mile,” prioress Sr Lucy said.

The Redemptoristine Sisters begin their walk at lunchtime on Monday. Photograph: Redemptoristine Sisters/Facebook

“We all started together at 1pm,” she said and hoped to have cumulatively completed 26 miles by 8pm.


She and Sr Jacinta, the latter in her motorised chair, had already completed one stint by 4pm and she planned another.

“We said the rosary for all who had died and suffered and all those who have and are putting their lives at risk to care for people with the disease,” she said.

“That includes all the heroes who have been there on the button as well, the post people, those who have fed us, those who have continued to help us in every way through this. Dr [Tony] Holohan and his poor wife. Yes, journalists too, they kept people informed,” she said.

The walk was “going fantastic. There’s a great feeling about it among the sisters. We’re getting fresh air and celebrating the glory of God,” she said.

They had originally planned the marathon walk for the June bank holiday weekend, “but that didn’t work out,” she said.

Sr Lucy felt the pandemic “has brought out the goodness of people”, many of whom “went out of their way to help others. It’s been an amazing time,” she said.

Marathon walks are not new to her either. “I completed two in New York and one in Dublin about 14 or 15 years ago before I entered [the congregation].”

In each instance it took her “about 7hours 25-30 minutes”.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times