He follows in Francis of Assisi’s footsteps

By Angie Landsverk | For The Compass | February 23, 2017

Pat Shaw sees Prayer of St. Francis as the road map for his life

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]WEYAUWEGA — Pat Shaw sees the “Prayer of St. Francis” as his guide for living.

Everything he does may be traced to the words of that prayer by St. Francis of Assisi.

“I kind of latched onto it after I became a Knight,” he said of it.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Pat Shaw (Angie Landsverk | For The Compass)

Shaw is the grand knight of Knights of Columbus Council 13702, at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Weyauwega. The council formed in 2005 and Prayer of St. Francis is its closing assembly prayer.

The four principles of the Knights are charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism, Shaw said. “Charity is our biggest,” he said. “We try to help, and sometimes it’s not a lot, but it’s something.”

Shaw serves his parish in a variety of ways.

“I’ve got the time,” he said. “I can keep going and kind of do the Lord’s work.” He is able to do more volunteer work since retiring in 2011, after working at the Bemis Company, in New London, for 43 years. However, he began volunteering long before he retired.

When his parish operated a St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Weyauwega, Shaw and his late wife, Mary Lynn Clark, were among its volunteers. She counted money there, as well as at the parish. “And, we would stop there and help sort clothes on Mondays,” Shaw said.

The couple joined the parish in 1982, after moving to rural Fremont. Clark became involved in teaching religious education and Shaw helped out as well. “I guess because she enjoyed doing it (volunteering), I enjoyed it,” he said. “And we did so much of it together.”

When she died of cancer in early 2012, opportunities for him to serve in additional ways appeared.

“I wanted to get away,” Shaw said as he recalled those first months after her death. He decided to call Fr. Amal Roche, who was to become the new priest at the parish, and ask if he needed help moving from North Dakota to Wisconsin.

Fr. Roche did need assistance and Shaw helped him.

When St. Vincent de Paul Society in Appleton wanted to start a conference in Weyauwega, Shaw’s fellow parishioners — Kathy Wagner and Don Planz — were among those who attended a meeting in Appleton about it.

“On their way home, they called and said, ‘We’re going to have a conference,’” Shaw said. “I don’t know why they called me. I guess they just figured I’d do it.”

They were right.

Shaw became involved and accompanied Becky Fickel on home visits in the area. “The Weyauwega conference takes care of the Weyauwega-Fremont School District,” Shaw said. “Families in need call the Appleton office.”

Some families need assistance paying a utility bill, while others need help paying their rent. “We normally put a cap between $150 and $200 on how much we can help with,” Shaw said.

The conference often partners with Salvation Army.

Shaw has been doing home visits for about three years. “Sometimes, people open up and tell their whole life story,” he said. You have to understand (them). It’s mostly to listen to them and help them.”

Shaw grew up in the church. Born and raised in New London, his home parish was Most Precious Blood.

“I had four siblings in my family and my mom and dad, so there were seven of us,” he said. “My mom came from a large family. I have an uncle who’s a retired priest.”

Shaw grew up on a farm, and while his father was not Catholic, his dad made sure Shaw and his siblings went to Mass on Sunday and also finished their chores on the farm in time to get to their weekly catechism class.

When Shaw sees a need, he quietly and humbly fills it. That includes being an altar server at a Mass when there is no one else available, picking up bakery and produce at area grocery stores one Saturday each month for the Weymont Food Pantry, helping in the kitchen for funeral luncheons and even sprinkling a bit of sand on the ice at the end of the parish office’s driveway.

Through his actions, Shaw tries to be an instrument of the Lord’s peace. He does so with a smile and a spirit of generosity and also points out that others do so as well. “There are so many more people in this parish,” Shaw said. “I am just a small part.”

Save[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Your Catholic Neighbor

Name: Pat Shaw

Parish: SS. Peter and Paul,   Weyauwega

Age: 68

Favorite saint: Francis of Assisi

Words to live by: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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