May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Karen (Marie Theresa) Shirilla, SJ

Sr. Karen (Marie Theresa) Shirilla, SJ, entered eternal life May 11, 2024, at the age of 91.

She was born September 14, 1932, the oldest of three daughters born to Andrew and Victoria (Kasperowicz) of Detroit. After completing elementary school at Our Lady Help of Christians, she attended the Felician Academy and St. Ladislaus High School in Hamtramck.

Sr. Karen entered the Congregation of Felician Sisters in 1950. There she received her education and engaged in the ministry of teaching. She earned degrees from Madonna College, the University of Detroit in Mathematics Education and a Ph.D. from the University of Toledo, Ohio, in Higher Education Administration. She taught mathematics from 1952 to 1974 in junior and senior high schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit and in Manistee, as well as being the director of student teachers at Madonna College.

Sr. Karen (Marie Theresa) Shirilla, SJ
Sr. Karen (Marie Theresa) Shirilla, SJ

Sr. Karen transferred to the Servants of Jesus, a newly formed religious community in the Archdiocese of Detroit, in 1974. Her 43 years of ministry as a Servant of Jesus were spent in higher education in a variety of roles as curriculum coordinator for the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Saginaw, director of field education and associate dean at St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, assistant dean in the College of Education at the University of Detroit, and academic dean at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake.

After retirement, Sr. Karen engaged in many volunteer ministries that served the poor, among them being the Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen, Groundwork for a Just World, and the Siena Literacy Center. She served her community for 23 years in various leadership roles.

Sr. Karen died peacefully May 11, 2024, at the IHM Senior Living Community, where she was a resident. She is survived by her sisters Dolly Martin and Patricia Chojnacki, several nieces, nephews, cousins, and the sisters and associates of the Servants of Jesus Community.

Services will be held at the IHM Motherhouse Chapel, 610 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, Michigan, on May 20, 2024. Welcoming of the body begins at 9:00 a.m. A Remembering and Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Streaming will be available online beginning at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at a later time at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Detroit. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to The Servants of Jesus, 821 W. Elm Ave., Monroe, MI 48162.

Obituaries for clergy and religious who have lived or served in the Archdiocese of Detroit may be emailed to [email protected]. Obituaries are printed as they are submitted, but may be edited for grammar and style. Detroit Catholic reserves the right to refuse or edit any submissions.



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