Twenty-eight-year-old New York City fashion designer Alida Taylor said she experienced a religious awakening during her 20s, but that she was unable to become a nun due to her student loan debt. “When I moved to the city, I had all these desires. I wanted to have a career, a family, and marriage, but your heart begins to shift,” Taylor said. Taylor, who graduated from the University of Louisiana with a degree in fashion and now works as a Broadway costume designer, said that she had hoped to join the Sisters of Life Convent on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, but that the sisters told her paying off her student debt would have to come first.
“That financial debt, having that be resolved allows her to freely enter into her vocation,” explained Sister Mariae Agnus Dei of the Sisters of Life. The nuns of Sisters of Life are not allowed to work, and receive no salary or stipend. Taylor had originally planned to pay off her $18,000 student loan over the next 10 years, but, in order to meet the convent’s September deadline for enrollment, she says her only option has been to create a Go Fund Me page — and pray.
“If a person has student loan debt they can’t just get rid of it,” said bankruptcy lawyer Tanya Helfand. “People think maybe if you file for bankruptcy … you can get rid of student loan debt. Most of the time you can’t — period.”
If Taylor is unable to settle her debts by September, the convent has said she may try again next year.
Read the full story at CBS New York.