Born in New Orleans, I have always been called by the French pronunciation of my first name, “Al-bear.” I still laugh when I introduce myself and someone thinks my last name is “Bear.”
The Slow Boat To ChinaGrowing up on Apricot Street, I spent a lot of time in the backyard trying to dig a hole to China. I thought I would never get there – until 1990 when the General Minister of the Franciscan Order asked for volunteers to once again bring the Franciscan presence to the Chinese. And so, on August 15, 1992, I made my way to the island of Taiwan to begin two-and-a-half years of Chinese language studies. After that, I finally achieved my childhood dream of making it to mainland China. I taught English in Wuhan for one year. From there, I went north to the Chinese capital of Beijing where I lived for ten years. I taught English for two years and then became the Director of Human Resources for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. (I jokingly tell people that Saint Francis started off in the business world and then dedicated his life to God; I did it backwards by dedicating my life to God and then entering the business world!) My weekends in Beijing were spent ministering to the English-speaking Roman Catholic community; I was the priest and pastor of a community of 500 Catholics from 27 different countries.
Friar, Priest, Egghead
I was born on Holy Thursday, 1955. My mother used to always say she knew I would become a priest because after I came out of her womb and had my bottom slapped by the doctor, I took a deep breath and said, "Let us begin: in the name of the Father, and of the Son..."
I entered the Franciscan Order in 1976. Ever since I was "knee high to a duck," I wanted to be a friar. It's part of my DNA.
I received a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Fordham University in 1990; I wrote my dissertation on Franciscan hagiography, specifically, Bonaventure’s Major Life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Though I enjoy dabbling in academia, I am far from being a scholar.
How I Stay Out Of TroubleI am an itinerant preacher of parish missions and retreats as well as a teacher of adult education courses for numerous Catholic parishes. I do spiritual direction from St. Maximilian Kolbe Friary, Crowley, TX, and train spiritual directors at the Chiara Center, Springfield, IL. I am the co-host of the weekend radio show, Spirit and Life, heard Saturdays and Sundays on the Relevant Radio Network.
Ordained a Franciscan priest in 1983, Albert Haase, OFM, is a popular preacher, teacher, spiritual director and radio personality. A former missionary to mainland China for over eleven years, he is the author of eight books on popular spirituality. He trains spiritual directors in the diocese of Springfield, IL. He is also the co-host of Spirit and Life, a radio show heard every weekend on the Relevant Radio Network. His website can be found at www.AlbertOFM.org