Abigail Hyndman, 22, is among the 89 young women vying for the title of Miss Universe 2012, and is also a student at the Catholic Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans – where Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament are her professors, advisers and deans.
Before ultimately deciding she did not want to join the order, however, Miss British Virgin Islands told Today.com: ‘Volunteering with them, I thought, you know, maybe this is something I could do for the rest of my life.’
The biology major, who attended spiritual retreats in preparation for joining the convent, said: ‘I really did start to fall in love with them and the work they were doing, especially their leadership in recovery from Hurricane Katrina.’
However, as well as her pageantry, her dream of having a family stopped her. ‘The biggest part of why I didn’t become (a nun) is because I do want a family,’ she explained.
She is still an active part of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament community though, and is ‘in the process of becoming an affiliate’.
‘It’s not a nun; it’s a step under,’ she said. Unlike nuns, affiliates can have their own homes and families.
Miss Hyndman said: ‘They’re almost like aides helping in the community. I think it’s probably the best fit for me, especially where I see myself in the next 10 to 15 years.’
Miss Hyndman added that skills she learned from the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament have stood her in good stead in pageant competition, which began preliminary contests last week in Las Vegas.
She said the sisters ‘were just in full support. I know they are back in New Orleans rooting for me every single day.