September 5, 2023 at 2:52 p.m.

Sister Karen Ann Shults, CSJ, 79

Sister Karen Shults CSJ
Sister Karen Shults CSJ

Sister Karen Ann Shults (Sister David Marie), CSJ, 79, died on Aug. 21 in the 59th year of her religious life.

Sister Karen was born on May 27, 1944, in Syracuse, the daughter of John and Margaret Shults. Sister Karen entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on Sept. 15, 1963. She earned her bachelor’s in nursing from Russell Sage College in Troy, fulfilling a dream which began in high school.

Sister Karen began her nursing ministry as a staff member on the infirmary floor of St. Joseph’s Provincial House in 1966. She was recognized immediately for her kindness, compassion and generosity to the elderly and sick of her community. Nothing was too much for Sister Karen. She performed her duties with energy, professionalism and perennial good humor and wit. In 1969, Sister Karen was transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam. Sister Karen served there for 11 years as a registered nurse bringing comfort, care and spiritual nourishment to her grateful patients. In 1984, in a testament to her knowledge, commitment and concern for those afflicted with disease and infirmity, Sister Karen was appointed Director of Inter-County Home Care for Catholic Family-Community Services in Herkimer. In this capacity, as always, Sister Karen labored tirelessly for those who were needy and often disenfranchised. In addition to her other responsibilities, Sister Karen also served as home-health aide coordinator. In all that she did, Sister Karen responded to human need in ways that preserved the dignity of the individuals whom she served.

In 1997, Sister Karen was appointed Province Director of Health Care for her community, a position which she held for 20 years. In this capacity, in addition to advising and accompanying many of her community members on their journey to healing and wholeness, Sister Karen also provided timely updates on topics of good health practices for all. 

Sister Karen is survived and mourned by her sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Kevin O’Leary, her brother, David, and her religious community. She was predeceased by her sister, Kris Toole.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Aug. 28 at St. Joseph’s Provincial House. Contributions in Sister Karen’s memory may be made to the Office of Mission Advancement, St. Joseph’s Provincial House, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, N.Y., 12110.


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