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 China
Growing 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 entered the Franciscan Order in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 1983. 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.
In September, 2016, while preaching a parish mission in Farmington, New Mexico, I had the opportunity to meet Mario Bernardone, the direct descendant of one of St. Francis of Assisi’s brothers.
As a member of the Sacred Heart Province of the Order of Friars Minor, I am so proud of my brothers and the way we minister to the poor, the marginalized, and the forgotten. If you are in a position to share your time, talent, or treasure and yearn to be a part of the transformational change we are making in the world, please visit www.FranciscanCharities.org.
How I Stay Out Of Trouble
After 12 years of living out of a suitcase as an itinerant preacher and earning 1.3 million (!) frequent flyer miles on United, I accepted the invitation in September 2018 to become the chaplain and join the retreat team at Cedarbrake Retreat Center, Belton TX, in the diocese of Austin. That includes my ministry of spiritual direction and training future spiritual directors as I have done in Peoria IL as well as at the Chiara Center, Springfield, IL. I also continue my ministry as a writer in the area of spirituality.
Former Co-host of Spirit and Life
From 2010-2015, along with my sister “the sister,” Bridget OSU, I was the co-host of Spirit and Life, a show that aired every weekend on the Relevant Radio Network. Our listeners said the show “cackled with sibling rivalry and crackled with the revelation of God’s presence in our everyday lives.” Over the five years, we discussed just about every aspect of spirituality and the spiritual life: the Beatitudes, discernment, the fruit of the Spirit, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, spiritual darkness and dryness, gratitude…you name it and we talked about it!
5 Minute Video Introduction
Ordained a Franciscan priest in 1983, Albert Haase, OFM, is a popular preacher, teacher, spiritual director and guest on talk radio shows. A former missionary to mainland China for over eleven years, he is the award-winning author of eleven books on popular spirituality and the presenter on five best-selling DVDs. He is currently chaplain at Cedarbrake Retreat Center, Belton TX. Visit his website at www.AlbertOFM.org