Obituary: Benedictine Sister Kara Hennes

Sister Kara (Clareen) Hennes, 73, died Feb. 17 at St. Scholastica Convent, St. Cloud. A private Eucharist of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Benedict’s Monastery on Feb. 20 followed by burial in the monastery cemetery. 

Clareen Charlotte Hennes was born Feb. 25, 1947, to Ambrose and Mildred (Sames) Hennes in Jordan, Minnesota, the first in a family of four girls. She attended St. Joseph’s Public School and St. John’s Parochial High School in Jordan. Clareen entered St. Benedict’s Monastery Sept.10, 1965, and was received into the novitiate June 15, 1966, receiving the name Sister Kara. She made first monastic profession July 11, 1968, and perpetual monastic profession July 11, 1973. She celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2018.

Sister Kara earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of St. Theresa in Winona, Minnesota, and a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Business in Indiana. She received her credentials in patient care administration from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Sister Kara served as director of Benton County Public Health Nursing Services and in a variety of positions at the St. Cloud Hospital, including as staff nurse, director of the nursing service department, vice president of nursing, vice president of nursing and patient care and as a registered nurse for homecare. She was also instrumental in developing hospice services. In 1994, the Queen of Peace Hospital in New Prague, Minnesota, sought her out to become the director of nursing services at the hospital. 

Six years later, she was called by the monastic community to become director of finance (treasurer) for the community, a role in which she served for 16 years. During this time, she retained her nursing connection, serving on the St. Cloud Hospital Board, including a term as president. During her career, she served on several boards: the Bylaws for MLN/Home Assembly in Minnesota, the board of directors for the Opportunity Training Center in St. Cloud, the board of St. Benedict’s Center in St. Cloud, the board of trustees of the Queen of Peace Hospital in New Prague and the board of trustees at the college of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. After stepping down as monastery treasurer, Sister Kara was director of monastery health services until she moved to St. Scholastica Convent in 2016. 

Sister Kara is survived by the members of her Benedictine community, her sister Margaret (Peggy) Hennes, brother-in-law Richard (Dick and Cheryl) Dietz, a niece and a nephew and their families. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters, Eileen Hennes Dietz, and Mary Elizabeth Hennes, who died in infancy.  

Please direct memorial gifts to the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict Outreach Ministries.


Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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