Sr. Karen Klimczak
Sr. Karen Klimczak:
“Dear Brother, I don’t know what the circumstances are that will lead you to hurt me or destroy my physical body. No, I don’t want it to happen. I would much rather enjoy the beauties of this earth, experience the laughter, the fears and the tears of those I love so deeply!… Now my life is changed and you, my brother, were the instrument of that change. I forgive you for what you have done and I will always watch over you, help you in whatever way I can….”
Sr. Jean Klimczak read from a letter she found while going through her slain sister Karen’s journal at the sentencing of the man who strangled Karen to death. Sister Karen Klimczak, a Sister of St. Joseph, had written the letter just before Holy Week in 1991 — fifteen years before she was killed on Good Friday 2006 by the man who was living in the transitional home for former inmates she had founded. Sister Karen wrote the letter after having a premonition that her life would be violently taken from her.
More than a truly moving letter to her killer, it serves as a testament to how Sister Karen lived her life and the kind of life she inspired so many others to live.
Learn more about and celebrate Sister Karen Klimczak, witness of peace and nonviolence:
- Educational resources: A profile of Sister Karen and her ministry with ex-offenders and advocacy for peace with questions for reflection and discussion; In Her Own Words: Sister Karen’s letter of forgiveness to her killer– written 15 years before her death– with questions for reflection and dialogue; recent Catholic statements on gun violence in the U.S.
- Be a Witness of Mercy: Resources for learning and doing
- Prayer Resources: Prayer Service for choosing to leave “PeacePrints”
- Original Art by Marcy Hall, commissioned by FutureChurch