Sisters’ Words of Wisdom: Sister Karen Sames, OSB

Sisters' Words of Wisdom: Sister Karen Sames, OSB

Sister Karen with her young family in 1956. Back row: Angela (mom) is holding Kevin and Gerold (dad) is holding Karen. Front row: Siblings Chuck, Elaine, Michael, and Bonnie.

Resilient, humorous, and kind to all – these are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Sister Karen Sames, OSB. You may talk to Sister Karen when you call the Monastery; she spends most days as the receptionist for St. Paul’s Monastery. Before coming to Monastic life, Sister Karen cared for people in her nursing career, spending several decades as a nurse. In many ways, Sister Karen has been a caregiver most of her life, extending her kindness and generosity to those she meets.

In 1990, Sister Karen took her first vows under the watchful eye of Sister Rosemary Rader, Prioress.

As a child, Sister Karen lost her father before she was even two years old. Her mom, Angela, then raised six children on her own before her own untimely death when Karen was just 33 years old. Karen talks about her family and her extended family with great care. You can tell that they are close and, with all the death in the family, have grown even closer with time. “You come to realize how short life is” and that the best way to go through things is “with family,” Sister Karen remarks. Today, Sister Karen and her sisters enjoy spending time with Karen’s eight nieces and nephews and 14 grand nieces and nephews. They operate as a large, caring and generous family.

Sister Karen was born in New Prague and grew up in Shakopee, Minnesota. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from St. Catherine’s University and a certificate in Monastic Studies and Scripture from St. John’s University. It was only after working for ten years as a nurse that she decided to enter Monastic life. She decided that there “had to be more to life.” Her mom worried about her new choice in life but, along with the rest of the family, supported her decision. Then, in 1990, she took her first vows.

2015, also the year Sister Karen turned 60 years old, she celebrated her silver jubilee (25 years) with her extended family.

When asked about scripture or other inspirational verses that have helped her in her life, she quickly turns to a few favorites, including the commonly known Jeremiah 29:11, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (NRSVCE).

Sister Karen loves her cake for her 60th birthday!

She also encourages people to read Romans 5 when going through tough times (1-5, NRSVCE).

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."

Lastly, she turns to the Wisdom Prayer for encouragement and strength.

I Wisdom am with you.
I am a light that will never grow dim.
Love me and you will see me.
Look for me and you will find me.
At the slightest indication of you desire for me
I will make myself known to you.
Watch for me at the very start of what you are about,
And you will have no trouble.
You will find me ever present sitting at your table,
Even thinking about my presence will help you.
As you meet with one another
I will meet with each and all of you.