Being in community has always been a part of Sister Bertha's life. Growing up on a 150-acre dairy farm along the western edge of Minnesota between Rosen and Ortonville during the pre-electricity early 1900s meant hard work, and the Karel family of ten had to pull together just to survive. Sister Bertha fondly remembered, "The land shaped us as much as we shaped it."
Religion shaped her life just as much as the land did. As a child, Sister Bertha equated life and religion as one and the same. Family prayer and saying the Rosary together were an integral part of each and every day. And Sunday Mass was also important to the family, as attested by it taking more than an hour by horse and buggy to get to the parish church.
That faith, that love of community stayed with Sister Bertha as her life moved forward working for other farm families in the area, at St. Benedict's Monastery, and finally at St. Paul's Monastery.
Sister Bertha Karels
April 18, 1913 - September 15, 2017