Sister Karla Marie Kaelin, OSU: Serving the Lord one smile at a time

In July 2008, she returned to St. Mary of the Woods as director of religious education, preparing children in the area and St. Mary School for the sacraments.

Just as she was influenced by the Ursuline Sisters as a child, she’s aware of the impact having a presence to children can be.

“I go down to the grade school and stop in the classrooms,” she said. “The teacher said ‘Stop in any time, the kids enjoy having you around.’ I’m visible, but not as much as I’d like to be.”

Sister Karla has lived with Sister Mary Timothy Bland in Owensboro since July 2008. The two enjoy going out to eat and praying together.

At home

In her free time, Sister Karla likes to read Time magazine or Catholic publications, and she loves traditional country music artists such as Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, the Oak Ridge Boys, the Statler Brothers, and Dolly Parton.

She lives in Owensboro with Sister Mary Timothy Bland, who teaches at the Owensboro Catholic K-3 Campus.

“She’s very good to live with, we go out to eat and pray together,” Sister Mary Timothy said. “We talk, but we don’t get the chance as much as I’d like. Our ministries are different, so we’re not home at the same time.”

One thing that impresses Sister Mary Timothy is Sister Karla’s deep love for family.

“She tries to get to their baptisms, first communions, and reunions,” she said. “She’s in contact with her cousins too.”

Regardless of what Sister Karla is doing, it’s usually with a smile on her face.

“She has a very joyful personality,” Sister Mary Timothy said.

“I smile a lot,” Sister Karla said. “I think I’m a happy person most of the time.”

By Dan Heckel