Former USA Olympic speed skater Sister Catherine Holum will be the special guest speaker at this year's Towards Advent Festival. The event - now in its 12th year - takes place at London's Westminster Cathedral Hall on Saturday 24 November and will be opened by London Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
Sister Catherine - who as Kristen Holum skated at the 1998 Winter
Olympics in Japan - comes from a sporting family. Her mother Diane won a gold medal at the 1972 Olympics.
In this Olympic year, Sister Catherine will tell the story of how as a teenager she first sensed a call to the religious life, and how she gave up speed skating and is now a Franciscan Sister of the Renewal, based in Leeds. She first sensed her vocation during a childhood visit to the shrine at Fatima, and then in her late teens she took part in the World Youth Day at Toronto with Pope - now Blessed - John Paul II. It was there that she had a deep conviction that she had a call to give her life fully to Christ.