Sister Karen was raised in a faith-filled family. Her formal education took place at Holy Spirit Elementary and High Schools in Atlantic City, New Jersey, both staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. Over the years, she enjoyed warm and friendly relationships with the sisters, which had a profound influence on her. After high school graduation, she felt drawn to religious life and entered the Sisters of Mercy on September 8, 1949.
Sister Karen’s teaching career began as an elementary teacher at Saint Mary Cathedral School in Trenton, New Jersey. She credits those 11 years of her life as being the foundation of her joy in the field of education.
After earning a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish from Georgian Court College (now University) and a master’s degree in education from Seton Hall University, she continued teaching in several elementary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Trenton and Metuchen, New Jersey.
Sister Karen later taught at Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung, where she was also director of student personnel services. At this time, she lived at McAuley Hall Health Care Center, where she was impressed with the nursing care given to the retired sisters. She felt an insistent call to consider this new ministry, then persevered in the challenges facing her, to complete studies and receive an associate of science degree in nursing from Gwynedd Mercy College in 1983. Sister worked at McAuley Hall until 1994. She then returned to Mount Saint Mary, where she served both the academy and the local community of sisters in multiple roles. Her broad experiences had prepared her for this. In 2002, she received the Mercy Core Values Award.
Her innate warmth, empathy, generosity and friendliness were gifts to all whose needs she served. Sister Karen never doubted God’s designs for her, and rejoiced in each opportunity to serve as a Sister of Mercy.