CLIFTON, N.J. - An aspiring nun who was told she couldn't enter a convent until her student loan debt was paid off has used an online appeal to get the money.
Alida Taylor, 28, was accepted to join the Sisters of Life in New York City in September.
The Clifton, New Jersey, woman started a GoFundMe page late last month, hoping to get $12,000 to pay down her student loans. She surpassed her goal Thursday, raising more than $22,000.
In an update on the crowdfunding page, Taylor said the extra money will be used for a vocation fund for Casa Guadalupe, a house of prayer and discernment for Catholic women, where Taylor is currently staying.
Multiple attempts to reach Taylor were unsuccessful. But she told WCBS in New York that "The Lord when it's his will, he always provides, and I just trust him."
Officials say most Catholic religious orders ask people to delay applications until they have repaid debt.
"Religious life is a full-time job so to speak, so she wouldn't be able to work and enter into religious life," Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei said, noting that nuns with the Sisters of Life have no salary or stipend.
After graduating from college in 2010 with a degree in fashion, Taylor moved to New York and got a job making costumes for Broadway shows. She said she enjoyed her life, but felt something was missing.
"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," she said.
The Sisters of Life invited Taylor to attend a "Come and See" retreat with them so she could learn more about the order, and she eventually decided to move to New Jersey and at Casa Guadalupe. It was there that she decided her calling was to join the convent.