Originally published by Decided Excellence Catholic Media in Green Bay Parish Neighbors
Article by Joan Koehne | Photo by Timothy Mayer Artworks
In her first teaching assignment after graduating from UW-Stevens Point, Karen Palluconi’s life was filled with new experiences. She met so many new people during that first year, but one really stood out. Karen met her husband-to-be, Mike, in the teacher’s lounge at Roosevelt School on their first in-service day. Karen and Mike, members of Nativity of Our Lord Parish, were married in 1971 at Karen’s hometown parish. Both are retired teachers.
Living her Catholic Fatih
Faith has always been a huge part of Karen’s life.
“It is the factor that gets me through the challenges of life – disappointments and tragedies. It also reminds me to appreciate the joys and the blessings that we have,” she said.
Volunteering at Nativity Parish
Karen enjoys volunteering in many different capacities. She previously served on the Nativity of Our Lord Parish Council, Family Life Commission, Social Concerns Ministry, and Faith Formation Committee and currently is involved with the Living Justice Ministry. She is an active member of the Women’s Guild, chairperson of the Giving Tree ministry for nursing home/assisted living and the homebound from the parish, and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.
Volunteering at Love Life Ministries
Since 2010, Karen has volunteered at Love Life Ministries, an ecumenical outreach ministry which provides diapers, baby clothes, layettes, and other childcare items to families in Brown County that are struggling financially. Additionally, Karen and Mike volunteer through the ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center) delivering Meals on Wheels. Previously, Karen volunteered for the Back to School Store, Coats for Kids, and Nativity Faith Formation classes as a fifth-grade catechist.
Spending Retirement by Giving to Others
“I love volunteering,” Karen said. “I am retired, so I have the luxury of time to devote to more volunteer activities.” Karen’s parents, who were actively involved in the parish and community, set an example for her to follow.
“Since I have been retired, I was looking for activities to fill my time and realized there are a lot of organizations that need volunteer help,” she said. “Volunteering is one of those things that gives a reward to the receiver and the giver.”
Enjoying a Teaching Career and Hobbies
Karen taught in the Green Bay school system for 33 years, at Roosevelt School, Fort Howard School, Helen Keller School, and Martin Luther King School. She taught fifth grade for most of her career. In retirement, she enjoys reading, cooking, walking, hiking, geocaching, crossword puzzles and crypto quotes, and traveling in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. She is a fan of the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Ashwaubenon High School teams.
Spending Time with Family
The Palluconis’ two daughters, sons-in-law and four grandchildren live in the Minneapolis area, and Karen and Mike see them as often as possible. Sarah and Mike are the parents of Jaelyn, 14, and Mason, 12. Korinne and Chad are the parents of Evan, 14, and Mia, 11. They are avid fans of their grandsons’ hockey teams and enjoy watching their granddaughters’ dance performances.
“We went to Disney World with them in 2018, and the past two years we have rented a cabin in northern Wisconsin where we spent a long weekend enjoying water activities and sharing meals together.” Karen said.
Attending Mass & Praying Daily
The Palluconis believe that everything is better with God at their side. Karen and Mike attend Mass regularly, and they read the daily Mass readings on the days when they don’t attend in person. Karen’s favorite prayers are the Hail Mary and the Memorare.
“Mary had an incredible faith in God, and she is a remarkable role model,” Karen said.
In difficult times, Karen turns to prayer.
Accepting God’s Will in Her Life
“Yes, there have been challenges, but praying and realizing that I need to accept God’s will has helped me,” Karen said. “It has made me a more-faith filled and giving person.” Karen also trusts that “God never gives us more than we can handle,” even when she experienced moments in life when this promise was difficult to believe.
“But when I look back on some of the difficult times in my life, I realize that things work out, and God knows what is best for us. God does answer prayers – not always the way we envision, but in a manner that is for the best,” she said.