Pat Bowen is a Sunday Eucharistic Minister Volunteer to Valley VNA Residents

 Pat Bowen was raised in a devout Catholic family near Poughkeepsie, New York, and her experience with Catholicism led her to join a convent, the Dominicans of Newburgh (now the Dominican Sisters of Hope), after high school. There she studied and discerned her future vocation for two and a half years, progressing through three of the seven steps toward her final vows. After prayerful consideration she decided she would continue her desire to teach outside of the convent. However, her time in religious formation afforded her the opportunity to “bring up any question and ask anything about Catholicism,” and the result is a more steadfast faith in God that remains a very important part of her daily life.

As a young teacher nearly 40 years ago, Pat met her would-be husband Chuck, a printing-industry estimator, on a fortuitous camping trip with mutual friends. Together they raised three boys, now grown: Mark, Kevin, and Paul; a fine artist, brewmaster, and middle school technology teacher, respectively. After 15 years in New York they relocated to Wisconsin where Pat resumed her vocation as a preschool and elementary teacher in the now-named St. Mary Catholic Schools. She retired five years ago and is happy to have the time to enjoy her first granddaughter, Karalyn, 17 months, who lives in Oshkosh with her parents, Mark and Karissa Bowen.


Pat volunteers at Valley VNA and 15 years ago got involved with a ministry that beautifully shares her devotion to her Catholic faith and her love for nurturing people at all stages of life. She is a Eucharistic minister (a distributor of Holy Communion) to residents at Valley VNA on Sundays during the community’s televised Mass. Her Sundays start out with 7:30 Mass at St. Margaret Mary Parish in Neenah where she picks up the consecrated hosts for the typical number of Valley VNA residents she serves. She arrives in time to give Communion to residents within their televised Mass and often stays after to visit with others individually. “I explain to people I am there to share Holy Communion, and their eyes just light up!” Pat said. “Even if they are confused about other things, they understand what I am offering them and thank me. It gives me such joy—it makes my day.”

The best Sundays are when Pat arrives at Valley VNA and sees so many people at Mass, she has to literally “break bread” to serve them all. “One day there was a resident with her daughter, son-in-law, and five grandchildren. I know that lady was so happy to have her family at church with her. On a big day, I bring communion to 30 or 35 people, and for part of the year I split Sunday duties with another couple, Jenny and Dennis Bauer.” The result is up to two hours of visiting, shared prayers, laughs, and affection at Valley VNA—all inspired by the love of God and His people.