Karen - A road to formation

Karen Lea Englebretsen grew up in Whanganui and attended Cullinane College. After starting work in Whanganui she moved to Palmerston North in 2011. While there Karen was very active in the Cathedral Parish volunteering in a wide range of ministries and activities and as a regular participant in many initiatives of the Young Adults community.

Follow Karen’s blog www.roadbegins.blogspot.co.nz as she journeys as a novice with the Passionist Sisters in Melbourne. The article below was printed in WelCom in August 2016.



After contemplating orders during 2012, Karen attended a vocations retreat in July 2013 led by Bishop Charles at Kopua Monastery in Central Hawkes Bay. Karen is now in formation with The Sisters of the Cross and Passion (Passionist Sisters) in Melbourne.

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!…You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care. About some you will say, ‘I don’t choose to go there.’ With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street. Oh the places your go, Dr Seuss)

These rhythmic words from Dr Seuss capture a little of what it is like to launch into the deep and take the first step to following my heart’s call to join the Cross and Passion Sisters (Passionist).

Life has been quite an adventure and still continues to be. Spending a few years discerning my heart’s call to religious life, there came a point when I had to take action on the words that fed me so deeply, launching into the unknown in Melbourne Australia, to start the journey to join the congregation. Many adventures are experienced with three Irish Sisters and myself, a Kiwi, taking for a journey that brings alive the great spirit of Elizabeth Prout, our foundress, while united with Jesus sharing who we are and who we are called to be.

The ground I walk on is unfamiliar and it seems like not too many have walked this path in recent times. As I embrace it leaning heavily on the Lord, it gives me delight to share it with loved ones and lets my heart that overflows with gratitude, peace and joy, shine out in every experience.

Taking the first step to say ‘yes’ to joining the community seems like a baby step. There is still a lot more discerning to be done, after all life is a journey. Each day feels like we are on the road to Emmuas, leaving the house after Morning Prayer heading in different directions; parish work, study, helping homeless, teaching, office work, visiting and much more. During our day we meet so many beautiful people, listening to their stories and sharing moments of love, joy, hardship. Returning home we gather, as Jesus taught, sharing in a meal and retelling the experiences of the day while gently offering in love a prayer for all those who we have been blessed to meet.

‘Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away.’ We need to only listen to our heart to accept the invitation we are all offered in different vocation calls. The first step is often the hardest, yet believe in yourself, lean against The Lord, trust in his love and know ‘you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street!’

Have a question? We can help. Get in touch with the Diocese.