Andrea Jeager becomes a Nun!!
Multiple shoulder surgeries forced former World No. 2 Andrea Jaeger to retire from professional tennis before her 22nd birthday. The 1983 Wimbledon finalist has spent much of her adult life caring for children with cancer through the Silver Lining Foundation, a non-profit organization she co-founded in 1990.
Now the 41-year-old Jaeger has taken on a new title — Sister Andrea — and is intent on serving God and continuing her mission to help children stricken with cancer as an Anglican Dominican nun.
Jaeger, whose Aspen-based Silver Lining Foundation hosts children from around the world, told People Magazine the call to become a nun came to her in a dream earlier this year. She was formally ordained on September 16.
"I was getting a tour of a monastery," Jaeger told People Magazine. "My tour director was Catherine of Siena, who mission was to help the sick, the poor and the suffering."
In her book, "First Service: Following God's Calling and Finding Life's Purpose", Jaeger writes of the role her faith has played in her life and her believe that her tennis career served as training for her true calling: "As with many of our lives, we seem destined for one path, which is really a springboard to another place. A teenaged tennis phenomenon with pigtails and a mouth full of braces, I entered the professional tennis circuit at the then unheard-of age of 14. Startling a great number of people, I rose as high as the number two female player in the world. I was showered with accolades, media attention, prize money and endorsement earnings in the millions of dollars. I traveled the globe and learned about people and cultures distinctly different from my own. I gained discipline and focus. God was preparing me, not for greater victory on the tennis court, but for the much larger purpose of running a foundation that would enhance the lives of, and give long-term support to, children with cancer."
At the age of 15, Jaeger had a life-altering experience when she took time out from a tournament she was playing in New Jersey to visit the Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, N.Y. to deliver gifts to children. It was the gift Jaeger received from the children that day that confirmed her commitment to helping kids.
"They made me feel like Santa Claus, I went to give them something and I ended up with the gift," Jaeger told The New York Times. "There was this boy with stubs for hands who wanted to play video games with me and a girl who danced with her IV pole and a girl who asked me to rub her bald head. She was going through chemo and I thought, 'When I grow up I am going to spend my life helping these kids.' "
Initially, she opted against revealing her plans to become a nun.
"My biggest concern was the foundation," said Jaeger, a primary fund-raiser for programs that cost $4.3 million annually. Her foundation has received contributions from many members in the tennis community, including IMG's Ted Forstmann, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Gabriela Sabatini, Pam Shriver, Michael Chang and Anna Kournikova.
"When people ask if I miss tennis," Jaeger told People, "my answer has always been, 'No regrets. God wanted me to do something else, and it happened to be helping children with cancer. I love what I do
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