Sister Mary Karlynn Werth’s job as “house administrator” keeps her busy maintaining the Provincial House in Thousand Oaks, California where she lives. She and her small staff keep the convent clean and in proper working order year-round, doing everything from carpet cleanings to elevator repairs.
Recently she took on a part-time position at the Hilton Fund for Sisters in Agoura, California. She handles mail from Catholic sisters all over the world who are seeking grants from the Fund.
The Fund was established 1986 by Conrad N. Hilton (who founded the Hilton hotel chain) to support the apostolic work of Roman Catholic sisters. Any project supported by the Fund must have a sister involved in it.
Sister Mary Karlynn is moved by the heroic projects that come across her desk.
“I feel honored that I’m able to do this. When you hear about these things, they make an impression on you. You have to stop and think: What do we really need?” she said.
The sisters who request grants from the Fund need help in many forms.
“The things they ask for are very simple,” Sister Mary Karlynn said. Some groups need educational supplies like desks or computer training resources, others want nails or wood for building projects, and still others request pens, pencils, or sewing machines.
One cause that stood out to Sister Mary Karlynn was the mission of the Good Shepherd Sisters in France to help a community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) negatively affected by the mining industry. The Good Shepherd Sisters run a school for children in Kolwezi (DRC) and offer meals to them so they can escape grueling and dangerous work in the mines, where many begin working when they are just three years old. To learn more about the children of Kolwezi, click here.
Sister Mary Karlynn is pleased that the Hilton Fund for Sisters is able to support the work the Good Shepherd Sisters are doing. She hopes to stay on at the Fund as long as she can. Previously, Sister taught intermediate and junior high school, and served as a principal for many years. She was born and raised in California, and took her final vows as a Sister of Notre Dame in 1967.