Sister Karen Schneider has been selected as the keynote speaker for Mount Mercy’s University’s 2015 commencement ceremony. Serving as both physician and assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University Children’s Center as well as a Sister of Mercy, Sister Karen works to improve children’s health in the United States and around the world.
“Sister Karen is well known for her work in pediatric emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital,” said Sister Shari Sutherland, executive director for mission & ministry. “She is also known for the work being accomplished by Mercy Medical Missions, which she founded.”
Because of her ministry and life work as a Sister of Mercy, Mount Mercy will present Sister Karen with an honorary doctorate in humane letters.
Recently featured in the National Catholic Reporter, Sister Karen said her journey took off when she was a fourth year medical student. She found herself doing volunteer work in a remote village in Guyana during a malaria outbreak, and the passion she found then has given her the drive to continue providing medical service in various countries ever since.
For many years, Sister Karen has led teams of medical students on four trips each year to countries including Guyana, Haiti, Kenya and Nigeria as part of a course she teaches called Pediatric Tropical Medicine. She believes medical service trips give her students experiences they never would encounter in the United States. Depending on the need of the country, she organizes a group of students with a wide variety of skills and training, including nurses, physicians, medical specialists and surgeons. Together, they work to provide medical attention and education to the children of these underdeveloped countries.
“She has taken her fourth vow as a Sister of Mercy, to serve the poor, sick, and ignorant and reach people of all economic and social arenas,” Sutherland said. “She has been on the back roads and mountains of people who have no electricity and no running water and receive medical care only when these teams come to them. Sister Karen can inspire graduates to embrace their mercy education and the Catholic identity that all mercy institutions strive for.”