Sister Karen Rose was born in the northwest of England, the only child to Leslie and Joan (Ashton) Rose. As she was growing up, S. Karen grew to love the arts and humanities and considered a career in ancient and modern languages, but as she went off to pursue higher education, she decided to study philosophy and theology in the hope of finding the meaning of life. When she didn’t find it, she felt called to do something that would help ease the suffering of humanity. That call ultimately led her to move into the field of health care.
S. Karen is well educated in various subjects. She holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in philosophy and theology from Oxford University, Oxford, England; a master’s degree in medical social anthropology from Keele University, Staffordshire, England; a doctorate in nursing from Victoria University of Manchester, Manchester, England; a registered nursing qualification from South Cheshire School of Nursing, Crewe, England; and a post-graduate certificate in education (PGCE), Victoria University.
An insatiable thirst for knowledge and discovery led S. Karen to participate in Studium, our scholar’s program, in 2005. With no plans to enter religious life, she never expected to stay more than a few weeks. However, God kept calling her back, and she made first monastic profession on July 11, 2009, and perpetual monastic profession on July 11, 2012.
With a strong work ethic, love of service, and spirit of obedience, S. Karen has served the community in various ways. In her early years at the monastery, she served in housekeeping, the liturgy office, and the bakery, as well as at Saint Scholastica Convent filing health records and assisting the administrator and human resources director with clerical tasks. She’s spent most of her monastic life serving in communications and development for the monastery, most recently as director of mission advancement for six years. She succeeded in this role because of her positive attitude, ability to connect with others, and strong leadership skills.
S. Karen was installed as the 18th prioress of Saint Benedict’s Monastery on June 4, 2023.