Sister Karen was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1939 but moved to St. Louis in 1952. After elementary school, she attended St. Joseph’s Academy. In 1958, she was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet as Sister Stephen Marie. She received a bachelor’s degree in Latin/history/theology from Fontbonne College in 1962, a master’s degree in Latin/classical studies from Loyola University-Chicago in 1972 and, eventually, a master’s degree in pastoral liturgy from Santa Clara University in 1990.
At first, Sister Karen began her ministry at St. Elizabeth Elementary School in Kansas City, Missouri, teaching junior high before moving on to St. Francis de Sales High School in Denver for the next three years. After that, for 18 years, Sister Karen taught at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florissant, Missouri.
In 1984, she left education to become a parish minister, directing both liturgy and RCIA at Our Lady of Lourdes in Colusa, California (1984-85). Upon earning her master’s degree from Santa Clara University, she moved to Our Lady of the Snows in Redding, California (1986-90), and then to St. Isadore Church in Danville, California (1990-97). Her parish work concluded after serving the last five years at St. Thomas of Aquin Parish in San Jose, California.
Returning to St. Louis, Sister Karen tutored in Latin for a little more than a year before teaching a semester at Cor Jesu Academy and then Ursuline Academy for the next five years (2004-2009).
Sister Karen’s favorite hobby has always been travel. Now retired, that is only in memory.