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Retired Oblates

In the United States there are 85 fully retired Oblates and 33 Oblates in reduced active ministry. Like the people they served in the missions for so many years, these men require medical care, food, and shelter. Having lived lives of poverty and mission, these retired Oblates simply do not have the means to survive on their own.

Oblate retirement communities are located in Tewksbury, Massachusetts; San Antonio, Texas; Belleville, Illinois; St. Paul, Minnesota and Los Angeles, California. These special facilities assure that retired Oblate priests and brothers have comfortable living arrangements, medical necessities and transportation.

Father Tom Hayes, O.M.I.

Fr. Tom Hayes, O.M.I.

Father Tom Hayes, O.M.I.
“The First Sign Of Love Is To Listen”

Father Tom Hayes, O.M.I. proclaims the Gospel in powerful ways – without saying a word.

Father Tom is a chaplain at the Apartment Community of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.  He spends 25 hours a week with residents of the community.  He presides at liturgies, visits patients and performs other pastoral duties.  But he spends most of his time doing one thing – listening.

“I heard a long time ago that the first sign of love is to listen, and I really try to do that,” Fr. Tom says.

Father Tom has earned a reputation at the Apartment Community as someone people can turn to when they are dealing with a difficult situation.  He counsels residents who are estranged from their families, who have questions about their faith or who are dealing with end-of-life issues.  But most of his time is spent listening to the hopes and fears of the elderly.

Father Tom discovered the importance of being a good listener while working with AIDS patients in California in the 1980s.  It was a time when little was known about the disease, and hysteria about AIDS made many patients outcasts in their neighborhoods and even their own families.  For 14 years Fr. Tom worked with more than 2,000 victims of the deadly disease.

“The people I met were unbelievable examples of strength and faith and goodness,” said Fr. Tom.  “I looked at people who were 20 to 35 years old who were dying and asked myself if I could ever handle it as well as they did.”

In 2000 Fr. Tom accepted an assignment as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Oakland, California.  The parish is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.  At Sacred Heart Fr. Tom also did a lot of listening.  He listened to homeless men who had no place to sleep, and to mothers who were in fear that their sons might join a gang.

In 2009 Fr. Tom moved to Belleville to begin his present ministry as an Apartment Community chaplain.  Father Tom says working at the Apartment Community has been a real blessing for him.  He enjoys his ministry of presence, being available to residents whenever they need to talk with someone.

Always known for his sense of humor, Fr. Tom says that he especially likes interacting with the kitchen staff at the Apartment Community.   He jokes that “it’s easy to be a good listener when your mouth is full.”

Fr. Ted Pfeifer, O.M.I.

Fr.-Ted-Pfeifer

Fr. Ted Pfeifer, O.M.I.

For years people told Fr. Ted Pfeifer, O.M.I. that he should write a book. After 44 years of ministry in Mexico he finally accomplished it in retirement.

Father Ted began writing his autobiography, When The Wolves Came, in 2007 after he moved to the Oblate Madonna Residence in San Antonio, Texas. Father Ted, age 78, still lives there and prays daily for his beloved poor in Mexico.

Father Ted risked his life repeatedly to fight for the rights of the poor. He spoke out strongly against government corruption and the powerful drug cartels. He survived several assassination attempts.

Today Fr. Ted shares his experiences with young Oblates in San Antonio who are preparing for the priesthood. These young men see in Fr. Ted a modern-day “good shepherd” who is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. In the following video interview Fr. Ted shares his missionary work in Mexico and what he once went through when he crossed paths with drug cartels.