ST. JOSEPH (WJON News) -- Saint Benedict’s Monastery will soon have a new spiritual leader at the helm.

Sister Karen Rose was selected to be the 18th prioress of the monastery on Saturday afternoon. She currently serves as the Director of Mission Advancement at the monastery and says she is overwhelmed and honored by the decision.

I guess it's one of those things where I knew it could be me that was elected, but nothing prepared me for how it felt when I actually have been. I only professed in 2009. There are a lot of sisters who've been here more than 60 years, and I think it takes real courage to elect someone who's a newer member.

Rose is originally from England and has a professional background in nursing. She says she sees her time in the leadership role as a sort of collaboration.

I accept that I'm the leader and the buck will stop with me, but I don't feel that I've got to do it on my own. I just really believe that I'm supported by the whole community.

The long and thoughtful process of selecting the next prioress began last fall with discussions open to just the 157 sisters where they identified directions they wanted their community to go and the qualities a leader would need to guide them there. The canonical election itself took almost an hour and was followed by a private reception.

Prioress-elect Rose will serve for six years in a role that equates to the CEO of the organization. She will lead a team that includes a subprioress, treasurer, and community secretary whom she will appoint. The prioress also represents the monastic community on the board of trustees of the College of Saint Benedict and the corporate board of St. Cloud Hospital, which were both founded by the monastery.

Rose says during her term, she wants to prioritize being a spiritual leader for the sisters and the greater community.

To help both the women here and the people that we connect with in the greater world to kind of be able to become the best person that they can be, the person that God wants them to be. I hope we'll be able to move forward and partner with people in social justice projects and also look at ways to become a greener monastery.

She will take over as the next prioress in an official Rite of Installation ceremony on June 4th at Sacred Heart Chapel. During the ceremony, outgoing prioress Sister Susan Rudolph will pass the torch and a covenant will be established between Rose and the rest of the sisters.


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