Sr. Karen Dunn, FMA
"I understood even as a small child that Sisters were special people who belonged only to God."

Don't forget! Say it with a smile.
That was the advice given to Karen Dunn and her classmates preparing to become Salesian Sisters in 1977 by Andrew Dunn, Karen 's father. If anything can be summed up as a hallmark virtue, it is the smile with which Sr. Karen greets teachers, students, and parents at Christ the King School in Tampa, FL, where she serves the young in our Salesian style of joy and happiness.

Sr. Karen gives her version of what actually happened. "If I have been able to answer God's call and live out my life as an FMA, it is due to the grace of my wonderful parents and the chain of events woven into my life by God Himself."

Karen was born in Rockville Centre, NY, the oldest of four children. The family was a "good, ol' Irish Catholic family. Cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends played a vital part in the life of the Dunn/McGuire clan. Sr. Karen describes it in her own words. "Faith and religion were a priority in the life of my family. My mother especially tried to make faith a visible part of our life together. The reverence both my parents had for the things of God included a deep respect for priests and religious. I understood even as a small child that Sisters were special people who belonged only to God.

From my earliest days, the ideal of dedicating myself completely to Him was firmly set
in my heart." When the family moved from NY to NJ, it was soon time to select a high school. As always, the primary concern of my parents was of the caliber of the religion program and an atmosphere that was best for their daughter. Mary Help of Christians Academy proved to be satisfactory. Karen writes," Although I was apprehensive about leaving my friends for a school out of town, I was faithful to the trust I always had in my parents, and I began my high school there."

She continues, "Immediately I was impressed by the atmosphere of joy and faith among teachers and students. Those four years were ones of growth and fun as little by little I lived and breathed in the Salesian spirit." This was another match made in heaven. She and her friend, Susan Bagli, (now Sr. Susan) spoke of what their futures might be like as Salesian Sisters. So, after a short stint in the "real world" after high school, Karen asked to begin her initial formation to become a Salesian Sister in August, 1977. She made her first profession on August 5,1980.

As a Sister she continued her education, and received her B.A. degree from William Paterson University. Sr. Karen enjoys her mission with youth, in school, religious instruction programs on weekends, athletics and sports, summer camp, and always with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her lips.

Her experience as an educator takes her to many places. Her dedication and openness attract, whether in New Jersey, Louisiana, or Florida. Her primary focus is centered on keeping a healthy school environment through authentic communication, interpersonal relationships, and an integral education given to each student.
Sr. Karen is always willing to make time for the young people whom the Lord has called her to serve. She enjoys the company of the Sisters who feel blessed to have Sr. Karen as "their Sister," and of the people in the various school and parish communities she's met along the way.

She has maintained the balance she learned from her parents and from the Sisters with whom she lived in the past 20+ years. Although her father has already gone to receive his reward in heaven, a day doesn't pass that she doesn't live the advice he gave her years ago: "Don't forget! Say it with a smile."

For more information please contact:
Sr. Antoinette Cedrone, FMA

655 Belmont Avenue • Haledon, NJ 07508 (973)790-4408
© 2002 by Salesian Sisters Vocation Office