About the Apostolic Lady

Karen M. Hurley was elected President General of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations (WUCWO) in 2006 —the first woman from the United States of America to hold this position since WUCWO was founded in 1910.  A public international association of the faithful, with a membership of almost 100 organisations, active in more than 60 countries, WUCWO represents more than 5 million Catholic women of every walk of life.   The aim is to promote the presence, participation and co-responsibility of Catholic women in Church and society in order to enable them to fulfill their mission of evangelization and to work for human development.

In 2011 Karen served as a Member of the Holy See Delegation to the United Nations 55th Commission on the Status of Women.  She was an invited presenter and co-organizer of the International Congress sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace on Life, Family, Development:  The Role of Women in the Promotion of Human Rights (2009).  She is also an invited presenter and participant in numerous International Congresses sponsored by the Vatican Secretariat of State, Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Karen has been actively involved in the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW) for many years on the parish, deanery, diocesan and national levels.   She served as NCCW President-Elect in 2013.  She makes presentations to large and small groups, as well as leads retreats and days of reflection.  Karen is a Board Member Emeritus of the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land (FFHL).  She served on the Governing Board of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP). 

For more than 21 years, Karen served as Pastoral Associate of Saint Margaret Mary Parish in Harrisburg, PA.  In 1990 Karen received a certificate in the first Diocese of Harrisburg Lay Ministry Formation Program through Mount Saint Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, MD.  She is a member of the Diocese of Harrisburg’s Committee for the Continuing Formation of Priests. 

At the request of Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI granted Karen the Pontifical Honor of Dame of the Equestrian Order of Pope Saint Sylvester for service to the Church in the Diocese of Harrisburg.  The Catholic Daughters of the Americas honored Karen as Catholic Woman of the Year 2008. She was awarded the Justitia et Pax Medallion by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2009. 

Karen and her husband, Terry, are members of the Cathedral Parish of Saint Patrick.  Karen is a self-employed Global Pilgrimage Coordinator.