At the age of 16, Kirstin Holum visited the shrine of Our Lady Of Fatima in Portugal. Here, she heard a voice telling her that one day, she’d be a sister. It was this moment, the seed to serve God was planted in her mind. 

“It was the first time in my life I truly knew that Jesus was real, alive, that he loved me and had a plan for my life,” she said. “I could barely make it to the pew I was so overwhelmed with joy at knowing the love of Jesus in that moment.”

However, she was already on a journey to the winter Olympics, having trained as a speed skater. She competed in Japan in 1998, where she placed sixth in the 3,000 meters and seventh in the 5,000 meters. This was the beginning of her speed skating career, but she was not at peace, and just knew there was more in store for her life than sports. 

With this search for peace, Holum earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. She began to fall away from her faith due to lack of peer support, but would later find her way back with her mother’s help. Her mother dedicated much of her time to the pro-life movement, which inspired Holum to take a more active role in her faith. She met other people like her who felt fire in their hearts for their faith. 

Shortly after meeting these young people, she used prayer to ask the Lord what He wants for her life. This was a “life-changing prayer” that gave her the answer.

She participated in a walk across America for the pro-life movement that ended at World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada. Here, she saw many young people of the church and many young religious sisters. She then recalled the message she reserved from God when she visited Portugal. 

“It was through the Lord purifying my heart through prayer, confession, and the sacraments of the Church that I came to remember his plan for my life, and to be open to his plan.”

She entered the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal in 2003, and became Sister Catherine Holum.  Sister Catherine found that God has a plan for all of us, and one way or another, we will realize and actualize His plan. 

For those discerning religious life, she offers encouraging advice:

“Do not be afraid of whatever God has in store for your life. Whatever he has created you to be, he is going to fill you with the most joy and happiness that you’ll ever experience. Be brave, be courageous and follow the Lord and he will truly satisfy your heart.”