Sister Karen Marie Barile, O.S.H.J.

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Wednesday 05, September 2007 | Category:   Consecrated Life

Sister Karen Marie
Barile, O.S.H.J.

About me: My call to a religious vocation started when I was about 8 years old. When I grew up I was going to be a nun. My father would see me walking around the house with my “towel veil,” and he would say, “You know, if you become a nun, you can't get married.” I assured him I did not want to get married, to which he would joke, “Good, then I won't have to buy a gun."

Time passed and my family moved to an area where Sisters were not active in the church my family attended, so they no longer had an influence in my life. As my teen years passed, I not only lost the thought of becoming a nun, I had gone away from the church all together. After a long time away, and within a short time after returning to the church (but not the sacraments yet), I started hearing a voice in me that maybe I should become a nun. Each time the thought came to me, I’d laugh it off as I felt that receiving the sacraments should be a prerequisite to entering religious life.

When I had returned to the sacraments, the thoughts of entering a convent would suddenly appear, but I was able to push them away due to the fact that my active life was in full swing and I had many responsibilities. I couldn’t just drop everything for a thought that was possibly—maybe—from God. After all, that would be quite a risk! After consistent inner promptings, I finally decided to stop fighting the “possibilities” and started praying to God that if this was what He really wanted, to please get me there, as I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

I would pray this prayer every time my mind turned to the convent, and then one night instead of the inner voice giving me the typical inspirations of the past several years, I heard, “So, now why can’t you look into the convent?” As I started to make the usual mental list, I realized that all the reasons that kept me from searching were no longer there. With still a bit of skepticism, I said, “OK, I’ll look into it if only to prove that this is not what I’m supposed to do. Then I won’t have to think about this again, and I can finally be at peace.”

I belong to: The Oblate Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hubbard, Ohio. Mother Maria Teresa Casini founded the order in 1894. Our charism is to offer our lives for the sanctification of priests. This calling is most visibly seen through our work of caring for retired priests, working in parishes, and running a school and day care which our Sisters were asked to take on when they first came to the United States from Italy.

I was strongly drawn to the charism of offering my life for the priests, as I believe the priest is the door to the heart of Christ. The holier the priest, the more people he will bring to Christ. There is one thing, however, that can stand in the way of doing God's will: ourselves.

My vision: Now, here I am, four years later in my second year of professed vows, preparing for the many joys and challenges that await me in Rome, Italy where I will continue my formation and study to prepare for ministry during the next two years. There are also a few things I have learned about God through this journey: —God is full of surprises —God never gives up on us —God is never outdone in generosity So, if you think God is calling you, don’t say no: Say you’ll look into it!

For more information about the Oblate Sisters, contact Sister Teresina Rosa at 330-759-9329 or write to: Oblate Sisters, 50 Warner Rd., Hubbard, OH 44425, email:

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