Birth: Dec. 1, 1945 Profession: Dec. 14, 1975 Death: Mar. 14, 2010
A professor at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Sister Bowe had been staying with her community following a diagnosis of brain cancer and a rapidly worsening condition. She was diagnosed only a few months ago and her colleagues and friends are in shock and mourning.
The author of Biblical Foundations of Spirituality: Touching a Finger to the Flame, she was also co-editor (with three other RSCJ) of Silent Voices, Sacred Lives: Women's Readings for the Liturgical Year. As Sister Bowe once said: "The challenge of faith begins - for every person - with the invitation to know the mysterious deity we call 'God.' But soon we learn that no name, no affirmation about God, no set of descriptors or dogmatic formulas can fully capture the One who is Holy Mystery and so we begin, as Moses did, in every God encounter by taking our sandals off in recognition that we are on holy ground."
Among her many contributions at Catholic Theological Union, Sister Bowe served as director of the Masters of Divinity program, as director of the Biblical Spirituality Certificate program, and as assistant, associate, and full professor of Biblical Studies. She also taught at various Sacred Heart schools including Convent of the Sacred Heart 91st Street in New York City and Kenwood Academy of the Sacred Heart in Albany, New York.
She joined the Religious of the Sacred Heart in 1967 at the Kenwood novitiate in Albany, and made her final profession there in 1975. Sister Bowe received her B.A. in American history from Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York; she then earned a Masters degree in Religious Education from Boston College and a Masters degree in Theological Studies and Th.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard University Divinity School.
Sister Bowe was born in Schenectady, New York, in 1945. Her parents, both deceased, were Dr. William John Bowe and Margaret Dineen Bowe. She is survived by her sister, Patricia Bowe Wilson of Knoxville, Tennessee, and her brother and sister-in-law, John D. and Susan Bowe, of Moraga, California. Another brother, Timothy Bowe, preceded her in death.
In a letter to Sister Bowe written just before her death, Manhattanville classmate Harrie Mahoney Hughes said: “The places our conversations took us were journeys in themselves—a sharing of thoughts, insights, and values that were years ahead of our chronological age. That was the remarkable thing to me about Manhattanville and your friendship in particular—that two young women could actively participate in their own formation as human beings of conviction and compassion yet still be spirited and products of their own age. It was after all the 60s.”
A Eucharistic Celebration of Sister Bowe’s life will be held at 10:00 am, Thursday, March 18, at Oakwood. A Memorial Mass will take place at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago on April 6th at 4:00 pm. The Mass of Christian Burial and interment is at Kenwood on Saturday, April 17 at 12:00 noon.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Society of the Sacred Heart, 4120 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108.