Sister Carole Kimes
Current ministry: pastoral associate for ministry of aging and bereavement at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Carmel, Indiana
Favorite food: Tender steak but I am vegetarian.
When I am not at work or involved in ministry, you are most likely to find me … riding my bike, playing cards or rummikub, watching “Madam Secretary.”
One thing most people don’t know about me is … I wear a size 12 shoe.
Favorite animal: Stuffed
Sister Carole Kimes entered the Sisters of Providence at the age of 20 in 1970. She left in 1974.
In 1980 at age 30, Sister Carole entered the Congregation again. This time she didn’t look back.
To speak with Sister Carole today at age 65 is to recognize a person grounded in spiritual wisdom. A person intent on using what she has been given for others. She will tell you that she has been given much.
Sister Carole grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the third of 11 children. Her family gave her a firm grounding for a life of service and of faith. As a child she felt called to something, but she didn’t know what. A person who enjoys fun and humor, a young Carole noticed that her Sisters of Providence teachers in elementary and high school seemed happy and had fun together.
The life of the sisters and the place of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods seemed to draw her in.
When she entered at 20, she thought she was ready.
“Part of the reason I left was because I thought I could conquer the world without religious community. I thought I could do what I did in religious life as a person outside of religious community. Part of that was arrogance. Part of it was youth. Part of it was idealism.
“What I found out was I really needed the community. I needed the Sisters of Providence in order to help me fulfill the mission that I was called to. I needed to be a part of something that was bigger than myself,” Sister Carole said.
“I had a hunger for God, and it was through the Sisters of Providence that I felt most stretched, most challenged, most called to keep becoming.”
What prompted her to come back when she did was her oldest brother’s death by heart attack.
“He was only 32. Six little kids. And I knew then that life wasn’t a dress rehearsal. I could not continue wasting my time. And so that prompted me to do some more discernment. And I went on a retreat and really asked some of the hard questions. And I knew that I wanted to respond with my whole heart.”
“Once I left and then returned, I knew that regardless of what was happening in the community or outside the community, I felt called to be faithful to that response in the good times, the challenging times, the desolate times. I never really questioned it after that,” she said.
And there have been some of all of those times in her life.
Sister Carole has ministered as a teacher and as a nurse. She has ministered in formation ministry, helping the newest Sisters of Providence discern and grow into full members. She served for seven years as a caregiver to her aging parents in their final years.
Today she serves in a brand new ministry she helped create. She envisioned it to fill a void she saw in the church. “Silver Linings” ministry at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Carmel, Indiana, reaches out to parishioners as they age. It allows them not to become lost from the faith community as their abilities change. The ministry provides outreach, spiritual support, advocacy.
“Every single day becomes a transition when you are older. But what we have learned and what psychologists have learned is there really are two goals as we get older. One is to figure out our legacy. And two is to try to still remain in control when every day you are losing control,” she said. Sister Carole said her ministry is very much about presence.
Sister Carole also recalls a desolate time in her life, the outcome for which she is thankful.
“One of biggest struggles I had was admitting I was an alcoholic. One of the greatest gifts I have was having had the opportunity to get the help with that and be a woman in recovery.”
Sister Carole recalls the time before she went for help.
“I was hitting a bottom. I wouldn’t have said alcohol was the issue at the time. I really wasn’t drinking much. I was working nights at the hospital. I experienced depression. It’s like my whole world was caving in and I did not have a desire to live.” A sister she was living with advised her to get help.
“When I went into treatment I was 40. The hardest thing that preceded it was my brother’s death, and I dealt with that by drinking. It was such a contrast from when my parents died [several years ago] and another brother died a couple of months after my mother. I was able to walk through these deep losses with the grace of God, the love of community and my family.”
Sister Carole today serves as a companion to women just entering the Sisters of Providence. She meets with two such women about once a month, offering spiritual support and discernment help.
“It certainly gives me life. It gives me hope. Whether someone discerns to come or to stay or to leave or whatever, it gives me hope in the younger generation that they are on a journey seeking God and wanting to bring the world to a better place,” Sister Carole said.
“I can tell you I love being a Sister of Providence. I think the older I get, the more passion I have about it. The more I’m committed. The more I believe in who we are, and what we’re called to be.”
“I have had dear friends along the way in community who have really challenged me to be the best that I can be. And in being the best I can be, I don’t have to be perfect. Today I am enough. I have all I need for today. And I really believe that is how God sees me.”
Hear Sister Carole tell her story in her own words in the video clips below
Sister Carole: speaks about discernment
Sister Carole: Talks about her parents reaction to her becoming a Sister of Providence.
My good friend says I’m … a woman of integrity who has creative ideas.
Three things that are sure to make me smile are …babies, the face of God seen in the eyes of another, and good jokes.
On weekends I love to …kick back, connect with loved ones and watch football or basketball.
I am passionate about …my ministry and working with others one- on- one.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of God is …God’s unconditional love and mercy.
My biggest pet peeve is …animals in the house.
Favorite movie: “The Power of One”
Qualities I most admire: honesty, humility, humor
Favorite book: “Jesus Before Christianity” by Albert Nolan and “A Presence that Disturbs” by Anthony Gittins
Favorite hero/heroine: my parents.
Favorite childhood activity: riding my bike and camping.
Least favorite food: fish in any way, shape or form.
Favorite pizza topping: onions, green peppers, olives.
Favorite course in school: math
Favorite form of prayer: Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer
Favorite sport: NFL Football and College Basketball
Favorite quote: “Anything less than everything just doesn’t cut it.” Sister Judy Shanahan, SP (R.I.P.)
Favorite music/song: anything sung by Neil Diamond
Favorite dessert: fresh raspberries and strawberries
Favorite scripture passage: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Favorite author: David Baldacci