Bobby Karle, the new Jesuit in town

by Shannon Grooms

posted on March 19, 2012

Robert “Bobby” Karle, a Jesuit novice, is currently carrying out part of his novitiate formation at Sacred Heart Church in Pine Ridge.

Karle was born and raised in Grosse Pointe, MI, the youngest son of a psychologist father and elementary teacher mother. He studied anthropology at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. After graduating, he joined Jesuit Volunteers International in Belize. While there, Karle led Confirmation retreats in the various villages. It was at this time that he started to discern his calling to the Jesuits. He came home and took a job as a campus minister at his old high school, University of Detroit Jesuit High School. After a discernment retreat, he entered the novitiate in August of 2010, in St. Paul, MN.

Karle’s novitiate experience began with a series of experiences: studies, service, and retreats. Near the end of the first year, he was given $35 and a one-way bus ticket so he could make a pilgrimage. He chose Tucson, AZ as his first stop, because he had a deep desire to minister to the Hispanic population and wished to better understand their plight. The thirty-day pilgrimage began with his helping in a soup kitchen and with migrants. He stayed in religious communities and homes of hospitality. After a couple of weeks, he had saved up enough money to continue his journey, to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico.

When his week in Mexico was up, Karle wished to purchase a plane ticket back home. When he went through customs at the airport, it was discovered that he had not had his passport stamped upon entering the country, meaning that he was required to pay a fine. Having spent most of the money he had on the plane ticket, he was in quite a dilemma as to how he might get home. Thanks to the kindness of a few strangers in the airport, and a quick wire from home, he was able to come up with the $100 fine and make it home.

Upon returning to St. Paul, he continued with coursework and began ministering to a Hispanic community in Minneapolis. This was followed by his current assignment at Sacred Heart Church here in Pine Ridge. During his stay, Bobby is helping with religious education, home visits, and a new prison ministry in the form of teaching yoga.

In his free time, Bobby enjoys yoga, being outdoors, and especially biking.


If you are interested in learning more about and of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Catholic Churches, contact Fr. Steve Sanford at 605-867-5491 ext 604.