The Catholic Times profiles our own Steve Karlen

They just have a PDF of the entire paper so there's no way to link directly.  Therefore I have posted the article in it's entirety. 
MADISON – Peace Corps. AmeriCorps. Greenpeace. Doctors Without Borders. While joining these humanitarian organizations are viable postgraduate alternatives to a well paying job with lots of perks and benefits, one graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) has made a counter cultural career move which, when it comes to helping fellow humans, trumps all these.

Taking what he learned after four years as a double major in journalism and political science at UW (2002-2006), Steve Karlen eschewed an entry-level position at a newspaper or political think-tank for a bird’s eye view of Wisconsin’s pro-life movement.

As director of Development for Pro-Life Wisconsin, headquartered in Madison, Karlen has been putting his expertise to work for the rights of the unborn in and around Wisconsin since 2009. In the process, he’s learned a thing or two about the work he’s participating in while also being reminded that forgoing a fat paycheck and a cozy career is a small sacrifice compared to what the unborn are suffering daily since 1973 due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion in the United States. Studied passion In considering his fields of study, Karlen said, he drew on his interest in politics, which began as a boy and continued through high school.

“I’d always been interested in politics,” he said. “According to my parents, when I was 4 years old, I watched the Republican National Convention from start to finish. That’s what they tell me, but I don’t know if that’s true.”

Fascinated by policy issues with a passion for writing, Karlen decided to combine these interests in a double major. Immediately after graduation, with only vague ideas of working in media or politics, Karlen took up work in the private sector. Two years later, in 2008, he became involved part-time with the Wisconsin chapter of 40 Days for Life, a national Catholic apostolate which emphasized prayer as an integral part of pro-life ministry. Eventually Karlen was heading up the Wisconsin chapter College graduate puts education to work for pro-life ministry and leading the fight on their behalf against the UW surgery center which eventually in 2011 canceled plans to offer late-term abortions on the premises [Yes, that was Pro-Life Wisconsin despite claims to the contrary]

“It was at that time that I felt called to do pro-life work as a vocation both personally and professionally full time,” he said. “At that time I was up from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. doing prolife stuff while my family was sleeping. It was clear God was calling me to pro-life work.”

Searching around for work which both furthered the prolife cause and provided the means to support a family, Karlen wasn’t sure where to turn. “You don’t go to monster. com or Career Builder [two online job placement sites] to look at the pro-life jobs section,” he said, explaining that eventually Pro-Life Wisconsin was impressed enough by his work at 40 Days for Life, knowing he was looking for salaried employment employment, that the organization offered him a job.

Familiar work

At the time, Karlen and his wife Laura had only one child – they have since had another after suffering two miscarriages – but his family was in full support of his career decision.

“While I had a family when I started pro-life work, I wasn’t making big bucks I was giving up anyway,” he said. “But ultimately, the pro-life ministry was a passion my wife and I shared at the time – and still share.”

That familial support, Karlen said, makes his work – which often involves late nights and long-distance travel – that much easier.

“We don’t mind putting in time at night or on weekends,” he said, “because if I was working in the private sector, this is what we would be spending our free time on anyway, since we’re both so passionate about pro-life work anyway.”

Good from evil

Married shortly after graduation, the Karlens lived in Chicago briefly because, he said, without children the city was a fun place to live and work. It was while they worked in the Windy City that the urgency to end abortion came home to the Karlens in a painfully tragic way.

“My wife wasn’t necessarily pro-life when we were married,” he said. “My wife had a co-worker who got pregnant with a live-in ex-boyfriend and everyone was urging her to have an abortion at her workplace. Now, while my wife wasn’t prolife, she wasn’t necessarily proabortion either – she just didn’t think it was that important an issue.”

According to Karlen, his wife told the co-worker that the Karlen family would support her through the pregnancy – from giving her a place to live to paying for her medical bills to even adopting the child if it came to it.

“Laura put it all on the line,” he said. “We thought we were making a difference because the woman went from talking about abortion to talking about baby names.”

Hoping for the best, Karlen said, he and his wife invited the woman to dinner to discuss the practical details of their offer. “She never showed up,” he said. “It turned out the pressure from her ex-boyfriend, her parents and her doctor was too much. While we were waiting in a restaurant to have dinner with her, she was at that moment having an abortion. We found out two days later at Mass on a Sunday morning – and clear as day I remember that’s when I knew I couldn’t any longer just be pro-life, but I had to do something pro-life. My wife too at that point went from not caring about it to being passionate about it.”

Proud work

While the experience was harrowing, Karlen is grateful that it showed him the need among women and the unborn for vigilant action on their behalf and against purveyors of the abortion lie. “I’m not very good at quoting Scripture, but I’m a big fan of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans [8:28] where he says, ‘All things work for good for those who work for God,’” he said. “I think this experience allowed the Lord to use us as His tool to save other babies.” There’s no question in Karlen’s mind that he’s maximizing what he learned from his college education for the benefit of pro-life ministry.

“With a journalism degree I learned to write well, which is so important,” he said. “We need to find clever and intelligent ways to persuade those who aren’t pro-life. We have to look at it as part of the New Evangelization …which means using every tool that’s available to us, whether it’s the printed word, multimedia or advertising. Having that formal training at UW, I am able to be more effective at doing those things in the pro-life arena.”
Please pray for Steve and the work that Pro-Life Wisconsin is doing, and if possible support them and one of their many fantastic project financially

1 comment:

LoveGodAndAsHeLoved said...

Steve and Laura were at the 40 days Kick-Off event last night and made sure the new director of the Madison group they had led so well for the last several years got a round of applause. They are selfless and put others first. They love God and their fellow man. They have buried two children who died in miscarriages. They have known deep sorrow and great joy. We thank God for the graces God has given them and they have cooperated with for the Glory of God! God bless you Steve and Laura and we pray your family has a most blessed pilgrimage through your earthly journey to our true home, Heaven.