LDA Student Spotlight – Karen Hernes – Valparaiso, IN

Karen is a deaconess candidate, awaiting consecration, and currently serves as an instructor for undergraduate nursing students at the Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions.  She’s also a wife and a mom to two daughters, ages 11 & 13.
What were your first impressions as a student?  
My first seminar was wonderful, a great way to be welcomed into the community. I was a little overwhelmed, it felt a little bit like learning a new language yet felt comfortable and familiar all at the same time.

What has surprised you as you moved through the education process? 

I’ve been surprised at the confidence and compassion I’ve gained over my formation years. The loving support of the diaconal community, as well as many competencies I’ve met for the LDA, have translated into other parts of my life. I am a better mother and a better nurse educator. 

What is a favorite moment from your formation process so far?

My first student seminar was quite memorable – it really felt like a retreat to me because every day and every hour was a surprise. I really enjoyed meeting students and enjoying meals and free time at that seminar – swimming, chalk drawings, and late-night talks.

What are some things that bring you joy?

Sitting outside on my patio in the morning. Walking on the beach. Riding my bike with my family.

What are some of your passions?

I am passionate about self-care, remembering to care for not just the body, but the mind and spirit.
What advice would you give prospective LDA students?  
Be still, let the Spirit speak and move in you – don’t resist! The formation and education process is not a “means to an end”, so enjoy each step of your formation.
What is your favorite thing about the LDA? 
I appreciate the variety of ways deaconesses and deacons serve in the LDA. Gifts are affirmed, and ministries are supported by the community…..again and again.

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