Fr. Haake new SLC retreat master

Fr. Thomas Haake is a highly qualified retreat master now at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita. Those interested in a retreat with Fr. Haake may call the Spiritual Life Center at 316-744-0167 or visit (Advance photo)

Fr. Thomas Haake has some consoling words for those considering an Ignatian retreat at the Spiritual Life Center: “It won’t hurt you. And so far everyone who has done a retreat with me has survived.”

Fr. Haake is an Oblate of the Virgin Mary on staff at the center who celebrates Masses, hears confessions, and serves as a retreat master.

“My apostolate is guiding the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius,” he said.

A variety of retreats

He invited the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita to a one-month retreat. He also leads four-day and eight-day retreats and a 20-week retreat – one hour a day for five months.

“God doesn’t need a lot of time,” Fr. Haake said. “But in general, the more time you give him, the more he can work with you. Not everybody’s ready for a one-month retreat.”

Those who are hesitant about making a retreat should reconsider, he said.

“Ask yourself why, and ask yourself why not?” he said. “Most often people don’t want to pray because that can’t take that much truth facing God.”

From the Midwest

Fr. Haake is from the region, having been born in St. Joseph, Missouri, moved at age four to Harrison, Arkansas, and spent most of his youth in Wheaton, Illinois, the home of Wheaton College, a private Evangelical Christian college that graduated noted evangelist Billy Graham.

“I used to caddy for Billy Graham,” Fr. Haake said, adding that he also carried golf clubs for Coach Mike Ditka, radio legend Paul Harvey, and jockey Willie Shoemaker.

He was ordained on May 3, 1981, in Rome, but if he had not been persistent, it might not have happened.
“I applied to this order and I never got an answer,” Fr. Haake said. “So my pastor said go knock on the door.”

He did. “The guy said, ‘I should have answered you. You can stay if you want.’ And I stayed – with no books, no money, no clothes, or anything.”

Fr. Haake, who received a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, has spent most of his life outside of the country: 24 years in Italy and 14 in the Philippines.

It is only by chance, or perhaps an act of the Holy Spirit, that he is assisting at the Spiritual Life Center. He met Bishop Carl A. Kemme last December in Jerusalem when the bishop was in the Holy Land.

“He invited me,” Fr. Haake said. “And I took a look around and said, ‘why not?’”

More about Fr. Haake
Father Thomas Haake graduated from Marquette University in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Other universities and degrees: Pontifical University of S. Tommaso, Rome, Italy, 1980, Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology; Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987, Licentiate in Sacred Theology; Pontifical University of S. Tomas, Manila, Philippines, 2007, Doctor of Sacred Theology.
Father Haake worked in a parish in Sardinia, Italy, in the early 1980s. From 1983-87 he was on staff at a seminary in Boston. He served as a superior in Amery, Wisconsin, from 1987-91 when he moved to Rome where he worked in the general curia or as superior. Father then led retreats, served as superior, or both, in Cebu, Philippines, from 1997-2003. From 2003 to 2008 he was a professor at San Beda College in Manila and later a lecturer at the University of S. Tomas. He returned to the United States in 2009 where he worked in parishes through 2010. He returned to Rome in 2011 to serve the general curia for 10 years. In 2022 through 2023 he led retreats in Cebu, Australia, and Sri Lanka; and arrived at the Spiritual Life Center on Oct. 13. This is only a synopsis of Fr. Haake’s education and service to the church.