The Nun and the Monk Who Fell In Love and Married

It was an astonishing 24 years after Sister Mary Elizabeth became a nun that she touched the sleeve of a monk visiting her convent in Lancashire, UK, changing her life forever. Until that moment, Sister Mary Elizabeth had lived a devout, austere and mostly silent life at the Carmelite convent. She had been left alone with Friar Robert when Sister Mary Elizabeth’s superior received a phone call and had to leave the room. As Sister Mary Elizabeth let Robert out of the door, she brushed his sleeve and says she felt something of a jolt, wondering if he had felt it too. About a week later, she received a message from Robert, asking if she would leave to the convent to marry him. She didn’t give him an answer and he didn’t know what to do. Sister Mary Elizabeth finally got up the nerve to talk to her superior about the feelings she had for Robert, but her honesty got her placed under 24/7 watch. That’s when she packed her bags and walked out. Robert had messaged her that he was planning a visit to the area again that evening, so she decided to go to meet him. Robert, who had been a Carmelite friar for 13 years at that point, saw Sister Mary Elizabeth standing in the rain crying, and at that moment Sister Mary Elizabeth, then 43, became Lisa Tinkler from Middlesbrough and Friar Robert, then 53, became Robert Opala from Poland. The two were married shortly thereafter. Lisa worked in a funeral home before becoming a hospital chaplain and Robert became a vicar at All Saints Church in Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire. Lisa says they both agree there are three of them in the marriage. "Christ is at the center and comes before everything. If we were to take him out of the equation, I think it wouldn't have lasted really.”