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Tribute from Fr. Paul Cahill, Prior Provincial, notifying the Carmelite Community of Fr. Ken’s death.
Fr Ken died peacefully on Saturday 13 June. He died in the same peaceful manner as he had lived his last days, completing a life dedicated to peace and justice. He was 81 years old, had been a Carmelite for 58 years and a priest for almost 52 years.
A much-loved member of the Carmelites family, Fr Ken had touched many people’s lives. This included through Sancta Sophia Meditation Community which he established with Sr Kathleen Murphy OP at Warburton (VIC) in 1996.
Sancta Sophia Meditation Community was founded to promote Inter Religious Dialogue, social justice and human dignity through the practice and teaching of meditation, days of prayer, retreats and spiritual counselling. In the words of Sr Kathleen, “We envisioned a life-giving community where the stranger would be welcomed.”
Ken saw Sancta Sophia as a haven whereby the front door should always be open and the table prepared to greet those needing someone to talk with.
Prior to this Ken had served the Province and the People of God in the parishes of Coorparoo (QLD), Hilton (WA) and Middle Park (VIC), in formation ministry, as Lay Carmelite National Chaplain and as Prior Provincial.
Throughout his life, Ken both rejoiced in and generously shared his experience of God’s spirit at work in his own life and helped others recognise it at work in theirs. We commend him to the God of mercy, love and peace.
We are richer for having had Fr Ken in our Order and in our lives. May Ken now flourish in the eternal embrace of God’s love.
Yours in Carmel,
Fr Paul Cahill O.Carm
Living around the corner from Karith, I had the pleasure of knowing Father Ken over some time. He was such a gentle solid man with a wonderful sense of humor, awesome hospitality and always a comforting presence when I would visit perhaps troubled by some issue to pray in the chapel or say hello or have a meal.
Thank you Father Ken Xxx
Fr Ken Peterson was instrumental in encouraging me on the interfaith/interspiritual pathway as a Catholic. During a retreat with him, Nostra Aetate came alive. I remember his kind, gentle yet firm ways and his freshly-made communion bread. Sadly missed.
The Carmelite Fundraising Development Ministry – Nancy Rose, and Fr David
|This week we farewelled a dearly loved member of our Carmelite Family, Fr Ken Petersen O.Carm. Ken touched many people’s lives through his 58 years as a Carmelite but probably none more so than those he met through his work at Sancta Sophia Meditation Community with Sr Kathleen Murphy OP. |
Over the years our team has been privileged to hear stories about how Ken and Kathleen played a significant role is people’s lives when they needed it most. Their Open Door policy to the community allowed those seeking council, inspiration and direction in their lives a safe place where they were not judged but received with openness and love.
Only earlier this month I heard from one of our caring donors of their admiration for Ken and Kathleen. In her own words the donor said ‘we were rescued by Ken and Kath after we lost our eldest son in 2004. My husband especially was in a very dark place and his time at Sancta Sophia saved him’
Through our communication some years’ back we shared the story of Kate, a woman who suffered from Asperger’s syndrome (a mild form of autism), and felt isolated and disconnected. All that changed when she found Sancta Sophia and met Ken and Kath. After her long relationship with them her quality of life changed because she felt welcomed, accepted and she was challenged in positive ways.
The tremendous outreach provided by Ken was summed up by one donor who said ‘Ken enriched our lives enormously’.
In paying tribute to Ken’s memory we sent out an email at the end of last week inviting people to join the live stream of Fr Ken’s Requiem Mass last Monday, send their condolences or make a gift in loving memory of Ken. Twenty two people donated in memory of Ken to support the Carmelite Students with a total giving to date of $1.550. Around 100 people clicked the link to the Tobin Brothers live stream Requiem Mass and another 50 people attended the service. If you would like a copy of Fr Ken’s Eulogy or Homily you can visit this link https://sanctasophia.org.au/fr-ken-pettersen-o-carm/funeral/.
Here are two messages left by those who will miss his presence deeply. In loving memory of a man who was not only a friend but a beautiful man who never judged, but quietly held your hand while his wisdom seeped into your heart. We will miss you.
I was a stranger visiting for a week 13 years ago and was warmly welcomed by Fr Ken and Sr. Kathleen. An extremely insightful spiritual experience I needed and it will never be forgotten. Fr. Ken you will keep on living on for those whose hearts you touched…..and one of them was me. The fundraising ministry will miss the encouragement and support we always received from Ken, and as has been said before we are all richer for having known him.
Chrys Soenaris – Healing Dao Yoga for harmony within and with Nature
Dearest Fr Ken
Thank you for being a quiet, humble, gentle, grounded inspiration. You are an amazing soul with such openness, universal compassion, I see in you the kindness of Christ. Thank you for creating such a place as Karith, it felt like home for someone like me, a child of the universe. Your heart is as big as the universe, and that was reflected in the way you worked. You are much Loved. You will be missed. Abundant blessings to you and may you cross safely. Maybe we meet again in another time and space. Fare thee well. Chrys