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84 Year Old Nun Makes Ironman History. Again.


Next week, some of the toughest athletes in the world will compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Among them will be an 84-year old Catholic nun from Spokane who is about to make Ironman history - again. Sister Madonna Buder's story is part of Ironman lore. She says a message from God got her to take up running at age 49. 35 years and hundreds of races later, she's still going strong and has opened up several Ironman age groups for women. She says she keeps herself busy on the grueling Ironman course by keeping up a constant dialogue with God. "When they say 'you've got God on your side,' I say, so do you! You just have to refer to him," Sister Buder says.
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utubeo said...


?! Matt, it's a little disappointing you didn't look into this more. Doesn't it strike you as odd that a nun would be running marathons? Well, for one, she's not a nun.

She *was* a nun--a cloistered one--in St. Louis with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Then this happened (from the Amazon promo for her book The Grace to Race):

She lived a mostly cloistered life as a Nun until her late forties, when a Priest suggested she take a run on the beach. She dug up a pair of shorts in a pile of donated clothes, found a pair of second-hand tennis shoes, and had a second epiphany. This time, she discovered the spiritual joy of pushing her body to the limit and of seeing God’s natural world in all its splendor.

So, a nun, cloistered for 20 yrs, gets a suggestion in the 1970s by priest to "run on the beach" outside her cloister. Then she leaves the order to run marathons and to join a non-canonical lay group of women, Sisters for Christian Community. A group formed by women resisting living under the authority of the male hierarchical Church.

Call me cynical, but how does that not sound less like a call from God, and more like a seduction by Satan of a consecrated soul. I'm supposed to believe that in the midst of a culture that glorifies the body, that He wants her to run marathons? I'd be a lot less skeptical if in her interviews she talked about the racing as an act of penance where she offers up the pain and suffering for the salvation of souls, but I don't see any of that kind of talk. What I do see is glorification of the body and self under the guise of spiritually.

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