Courtney Haase: "I still hear His heart beat"
Talk about your roads less traveled; Courtney Haase has taken three different ones in her life. The New Orleans native spent 16 years as a nun in the Poor Clares, a Franciscan
order. Then she left the convent and moved to New Hampshire -- not because she'd lost her faith, but because she felt led
by God to do so. Then she became a goat farmer and maker of award-winning artisan cheese. In recent years, she's begun making
rosaries and chaplets (used by Catholics to follow a cycle of prayer) from fine, matched stones. Here's how she got into goat
"One day, I was driving down this back road I lived on, and there were two goats. I pulled my truck over and
said, 'You guys are going to get hit!' And they came right up to me. And I took it as a direct answer from God. Right away,
I knew. This is what I want to do: I want to raise goats!
"I was on the way
to see a friend when this happened, and I walked in and said, 'I know exactly what I want to do with my life!' My friend thought,
Peace Corps or something really dramatic. I said, 'I'm gonna raise goats.' And she told me later that she had to stuff a rag
in her mouth to keep from laughing!"
It may seem
like quite a stretch for an ex-nun to become a goat farmer. ("My mother said, 'You went from God to goats!'") But
remember that the Franciscans were founded by Francis of Assisi, renowned for his love of animals and the natural world. When
I first met her in 2001, she explained it this way: "I find that this has been a spiritual quest for me. I wanted to
do something that would integrate my life. That's where a person finds peace and fulfillment, when they can integrate what
they love and make a living at it."