Karen Murphy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Philosophy at the University of Scranton before beginning a career in fund development. She worked for CCS Fundraising, helping social service organizations of all shapes, sizes, and interests to raise funds for programs and projects that help to ease suffering and make life better for those in need. While with CCS, she spent two years working for the Archdiocese of New York, running the Cardinal’s Annual Appeal in the months following the 9/11 disaster and preceding the Boston Globe expose of spring 2002. One of her favorite campaigns was for Doctors Without Borders!
Karen also worked as a senior level fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of New York City and the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation. After a successful decade-long career in development, Karen left fundraising and became a Jesuit Volunteer with JVC Northwest. Karen was assigned to work at a mental health center in Missoula, MT, where she supported and advocated for women and men with debilitating mental illness. The vulnerability and grace of this work changed Karen’s life and she stayed 10 months longer than her one-year JVC assignment.
Upon returning to the east coast, Karen continued in her new career trajectory, taking a job managing group homes with Putnam ARC, an agency that serves people with intellectual disabilities. It was this work of accompaniment that allowed Karen to finally say yes to a longing she had been holding in her heart since college – to return to school for a Master’s degree in theology. Karen attended Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA, and was able to take classes at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry in the course of earning her degree. Karen’s studies focused on the lives of great holy women including Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena and others.
Karen collects icons of holy women, and listens carefully to see what their lives and spiritual paths can teach us today. She is drawn to Mary Magdalene and Catherine of Siena as especially profound spiritual mothers. Karen continues to practice the Ignatian spirituality she learned in college as her primary form of discernment and prayer. Her various forms of church-related ministry include serving as lector, choir member, and director of the RCIA in her home parish in Brewster, NY. Karen also leads retreats through her retreat business, KarenMarie Retreats (KarenMarieRetreats.com).
Karen is an avid swimmer who believes an hour a day with her “head underwater” makes life better for everyone in her life! Karen has crocheted more than 100 blankets, which she gives to family and friends as gifts. Her favorite activity is to spend time with her nieces, ages 8 and 4, whose innocence, love, joy, and curiosity Karen believes are proof of God’s incredible love for us.
What actions, thoughts, and attitudes in us need to be pruned so that we may bear more faithfully the fruits of the Resurrection? What actions, thoughts, and attitudes in our Church need to be pruned so that together as a community, we may bear more faithfully the fruits of the Resurrection?VIEW