Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Catholic Nun murdered in Buffalo
Sister Karen Klimczak devoted her life to helping the poor. She ran a home for former prisoners who were trying to get back on their feet after getting out of jail. As one priest said:
Sister Karen had an attitude of forgiveness, which she would have extended "even to somebody who would harm her."
On Good Friday she was killed by one of the men living at the house. Her body was found yesterday.
It is hard to understand death. It is even harder to understand a death like this. How can we comprehend the death of a person who only held out love to others, being killed by one of the people she loved?
I do not hesitate in my statement that Sister Karen understood such a death. She understood it deep within her soul. That understanding guided her hands and her heart in life. She understood that death as a way and a call to life. The death of Christ and it's example of love was a life for Sister Karen; And on the holy day that her faith remembered that death, she passed into the arms of the Lord.
The young man who killed her says that it was an accident. I do not know if it was or if it was not. The story says that at the moment the belief is that she was killed for her cell phone.
A method of communication. She was a woman who spent her whole life communicating Christ through her Faith, words and actions.
It would be easy right now to judge the man who killed her. It is so very easy. It is difficult to forgive him. It is difficult to not judge him.
Difficult. Like everything Sister Karen did in her life: A narrow and difficult path.
In the world today we see the ease of killing for your faith. We with frightening regularity the ease of hate. It almost springs like habit to the best of us: Hate, anger and judgement.
It is so difficult to live our faith. So difficult to walk the narrow path with hate, anger and judgement on our backs. They push down, make us fall and force us to the ground: so much like a cross.
When did they know that something had happened to sister Karen:
No one realized Sister Karen was missing until she failed to show up for lunch on Saturday with some parolees at Schwabl's restaurant.
"She didn't come," said the Rev. Roy Herberger of SS. Columba & Brigid Catholic Church, a close friend and co-minister to Sister Karen. "Something was wrong."
She didn't come to eat with them. She didn't come to be with them. She was so much a part of their lives in the daily common things that her absence from them was troubling.
Did the apostles eat on that friday night so long ago? Did they eat Saturday? We don't know. They might not have. They might have. And if they did, I'm sure His absence troubled them.
If we react with hatred, judgment, fear and anger...we push Christ from our table. Is He so much a part of our lives that His absence would trouble us?
This is the link to Hope House, where Sister Karen worked. There is a quote on the page:
HOPE is not a way out...it is a way through!
Here is a story from 1981 of Sister Karen visiting a children's camp (link). She was a clown named Bounce who entertained children, at the end of her performance:
“God says I have to go away now,” Sister Karen says gently, signaling the end of Bounce’s visit. “Oh God, it’s sad that I’m going away,” she says, removing her clown makeup so the children can see. “But I will remember the special person you want me to be.” And remembering the special person we are called to be is what Sister Karen’s clowning is all about.
A few days after she left a child said:
“The other day one of the six-year-olds came up and told me ‘I didn’t fight because the clown told me to be kind to others.,’” she said, humbly delighted with such encouragement.
My Lord and My God, As Sister Karen's life proclaimed your message, do not let her death lead to hate. God, help me to not hate the man who killed her, because the clown told us to be kind to others.
Updated link to the story (link).
Posted by DavidNic at 10:30 AM