Kathy Bowser was born in Miami, Florida in 1944, and raised in a working-class Catholic family with an alcoholic dad, and a mom who managed to be both devout and fun-loving. Kathy attended Catholic schools for 12 years. At the age of 18, she entered the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary convent in Philadelphia to be a nun.
After eight years behind convent walls, the cry of the outside world, with all the turmoil and ferment of the 1960s, became too loud. In 1970, Kathy returned to Miami, and started teaching Sunday school in a migrant labor camp. She became increasingly involved in community organizing, volunteering with Cesar Chavez’s organization La Raza, and coordinating Chavez’s local lettuce boycott on behalf of agricultural workers.
While working in the migrant camp, Kathy fell in love with another woman. They moved in together and Kathy came out to her family. Her parents accepted Kathy – Dad immediately and Mom over time – but not so the Catholic Church, which branded Kathy’s love a sin. Infuriated by this, by the Church’s outlandish riches and general disregard for women, Kathy bolted. She was done with God.
Over time, Kathy moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to work for the March of Dimes. Eventually she became their executive director for North Texas. She also met and fell in love with Fluffy Jones, a Waco native with the endearing habit of wearing pearls while jogging. Kathy and Fluffy have been together ever since.
Kathy and Fluffy bought a place on Cedar Creek Lake, about 90 miles southeast of Dallas-Fort Worth. In time, a small, queer-friendly church in the area called Celebration on the Lake asked Kathy to be their pastor. She served in this capacity for ten years, helping the congregation grow out of a storefront into their own building.
Today, Kathy and Fluffy live in Arlington, Texas. Along with many other activities, Kathy serves on the board of the Coalition for Aging LGBT, which works with local agencies to protect and improve the quality of life of older LGBT adults in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
In person, Kathy is forceful and self-assured, with piercing blue eyes. It’s easier to imagine her as a business executive than as a pastor or a nun. But when she talked about her personal faith journey, Kathy shed tears of joy. She seems exceedingly glad to have found her way back to God, and to have helped others to do the same.