Karen Garnett is the Executive Director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas (CPLC), the Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Dallas. Commissioned by Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann in 1993, Karen and her team built a solid, grassroots-based organization that has brought the pro-life message to the churches and schools of the Diocese of Dallas. Under Karen’s leadership, with nine distinct ministries, 38 full- and part-time staff members and hundreds of volunteers, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee has been heralded as the largest and most effective diocesan pro-life organization in the world, and a model for the nation.
In addition to her 19-year leadership of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, Karen is a member of the Life & Family Life Department of the Texas Catholic Conference, and previously served as a member of the State Coordinating Committee of the Respect Life Directors of the Dioceses of the State of Texas from 2003-2009. As a result of her fruitful pro-life work, Karen has been a conference, commencement, and keynote speaker, and in April 2008, attended the arrival ceremony for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on the South Lawn of The White House at the invitation of President George W. Bush.
Karen has been interviewed for Fr. Frank Pavone’s Life & Choice radio program and Gospel of Life television program; Life Talk; The Good News Hour with Mary Bond on Ave Maria Radio; The Wall Street Journal; The Dallas Morning News; the National Catholic Register; the French Catholic magazine Pèlerin for its special issue on U.S. Catholics and voting prior to the 2004 elections; Catholic News Agency; Inside Catholic; and local Dallas television news stations; is a regular guest on the Guadalupe Radio Network in North Texas; and has been featured in the Texas Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Dallas; Catholic Online; and Behind Bella: The Amazing Stories of Bella and the Lives It’s Changed.
In February 2004, Karen was the recipient of the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation of Texas’ Motherhood Award. In February 2006, she was one of six international recipients of Legatus International’s John Cardinal O’Connor Pro-Life Hall of Fame Award, presented in Naples, Florida by Tom Monaghan, the only time a diocesan respect life director has been recognized with this award. In October 2009, she received the Texas Knights of Columbus ACE Award and, in January 2011, the 2011 Texas Life, Faith & Education Award at the Natural Family Planning Center of Dallas’ Pope Paul VI Humanae Vitae Awards Dinner. Karen was also honored to attend the invitation-only Springtime of Faith Foundation 2011 Rome Summit, a select conference for 25 to 30 international Catholic and Christian leaders to help bring about the new evangelization.
Karen is a lifelong Catholic, born in Norfolk, Virginia, attending Catholic schools in Virginia before relocating to Michigan and, finally, Texas. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Texas A&M University in 1983, with a minor in Business. Karen and her husband Eddie, married in 1984, have one daughter and four sons, and one child lost to miscarriage. Karen and her family are members of St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas, where she serves on the Christ Renews His Parish Continuation Committee.