Karen earned a BA in English from St. Francis College, an MA in Ed. Deaf from the University of Buffalo. An MA in Administration from New York University and certification as a school administrator and teacher of the deaf from New York State.
Karen’s early ministry was as an elementary school teacher but in 1962 she became a teacher at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf. Ecventually she became the principal of the school and then supervisor. In 1975, she became the assistant administrator at Cleary School for the Deaf in Ronkonkoma, NY and then became an adjunct professor at St. Joseph College in Patchogue, NY. She also spent several years living with a group of special deaf adults at the Neuman Residence in Manhasset. Because of her expertise in teaching deaf and disabled children, Karen also gave many workshops and served on several boards of institutions dedicated to this service.
Karen embodied the zeal of our founding sisters with determination and joy to release those with disabilities from being neglected and shunned to feeling loved, respected and useful as members of society. Her wit, love of life and commitment to the deaf and disabled was a shining witness to so many, especially her students, that God’s love is unconditional and we are called to be that love to all without exception.
We remember Karen who intimately relied on God’s love through illness and disability in her own life, struggling to understand why but over time drawn into deeper union with the God who love her unconditionally.
Karen, we admire you, honor you and thank you for showing us how to love life no matter what trials befall us, for your dedication to the forgotten and most of all for trusting that God’s ways would continue to bring life in the midst of challenge. God has called you by name and you now enjoy the fullness of God’s love where there is no pain and no distinctions.
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Eulogy for Karen Kenney delivered by Sister Clara Santoro
Sister Karen Kenney, CSJ died on November 19, 2013 in the 64th year of her religious life.