Jesus forgives all – except for student debt

© Eloy Alonso
A woman hoping to devote her life to the Catholic Church is facing an unexpected barrier: her student loans. Alida Taylor hopes to join a convent in New York City, but the congregation won’t let her in until she pays off her $18,000 loan.

Alida Taylor, 28, moved to New York City after graduating from the University of Louisiana in the hopes of becoming a Broadway costume designer. However, after discovering a calling to the church, she hoped to join the Sisters of Life Convent in September.

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 told WCBS.

Joining a convent means a few things. Sisters in the church pledge themselves to a lifetime of poverty, chastity and obedience. Unfortunately for Taylor, having debts can keep you out of the convent.

The issue with debts, and student loan debts in particular, is that nuns cannot have side jobs to earn money to pay off their debts.

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 to WCBS.

While some may be able to declare bankruptcy to eliminate their debt to join the church, student loan debts do not work like that.

If a person has student loan debt they can’t just get rid of it. People think maybe if you file for bankruptcy, which is getting out of debt, you can get rid of student loan debt. Most of the time you can’t, period,” bankruptcy lawyer Tanya Helfand told WCBS.

Indeed, the laws surrounding student loan debt are relatively unique. Unless Taylor can prove the debts are “undue hardship,” she’s on the hook for the $18,000. In response to this, she has started a GoFundMe with the hopes of reaching her goal by September in order to join the Sisters of Life.

The convent has told Taylor that she can try again next year, but Taylor is not too worried about it.

The Lord when it’s his will, he always provides, and I just trust him,” Taylor said.