Poor Clares Hold 3rd Annual Nun Run

Arizona race raises funds for monastery in the Southwest.

Three years ago, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Arizona put their minds to raising funds to build a chapel and monastery in the Southwestern desert. They came up with a fun idea — an annual fundraiser named the Nun Run (DesertNuns.com/NunRun).

This year, their 3rd Annual Nun Run on March 10 attracted 1,135 participants at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Ariz., to compete in a 10K run, 5K run/walk, or opt for a slower-paced 1-mile walk. Others unable to travel to Arizona took part as “shadow participants.”

Runners wore shirts designed by Sister Mary Fidelis based on this year’s motto from Isaiah 40:31: “You Shall Run and Not Grow Weary.”

The runners’ efforts raised funds to continue building Our Lady of Solitude Monastery. The previous Nun Runs helped raise funds for the chapel. Now that the chapel is completed and finishing touches just about done, the monastery enclosure walls are next. After that the monastery quarters will be the focus, with rooms to be completed for 28 sisters.

“The Lord provided this land for us, and the chapel is there for him,” Sister John-Mark Maria said. “Now we’re chipping away to get the next stage of the monastery done.”

Our Lady of Solitude rises like a vision of medieval beauty on land donated to the sisters in Tonopah, just west of Phoenix. The sisters arrived in 2005 from Hanceville, Ala., to establish the first Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration monastery in the West and to become the first contemplative community of nuns in the Phoenix Diocese.

This year, the Nun Run got some new attention: A volunteer had the Nun Run spotlighted on the news marquees in New York’s Times Square and Las Vegas.

“If you see a nun, you think of the Lord,” Sister John-Mark explained. “Even if marquee spectators didn’t know what the Nun Run was about, the sight would bring a blessing to their hearts.”