Connections to the Vincentians endure for Bill and Mary deHaas
This article initially appeared in the winter 2023 issue of our quarterly newsletter, The Vincentian.
Bill deHaas grew up attending the Vincentian-run Most Precious Blood Catholic Church in Denver, where he was taught by the Daughters of Charity. In the late ‘60s, Bill moved back to his home state of Texas after eighth grade and attended St. Vincent de Paul Seminary High School in Beaumont.
Bill decided to enter St. Mary’s, novitiate in Santa Barbara, CA. He found himself a member of the Vincentians’ largest novitiate class in the world that year and later entered St. Mary’s of the Barrens Seminary College in Perryville, MO.
“We had great formation directors with Reverends Bill Bogel and Otto Schneebeck guiding us,” he recalls. “And the Very Reverend Lou Franz led us to think about the future — about developing the whole human person.”
After a fulfilling time in seminary, he graduated with three advanced degrees and was ordained in summer of 1978 a Vincentian priest at Holy Trinity Church in Dallas.
Those early years were filled with learning and serving and growing closer to God. As he neared a decade of ministry, Bill began discerning a profound interior change. “On my tenth anniversary of ordination, I made the decision to leave the Vincentians and return to Dallas, where my family lived.”
Not long after, he reconnected with Mary Rushmore, a parishioner whom he’d met a few years earlier. Mary was living in Chicago working on a master’s degree in nursing.
The couple married the following year.
Back home in Dallas, Bill and Mary settled in and worked to raise their two children. Bill’s career focused on managing behavioral health services for large corporations. Mary, a native New Yorker and lifelong active Catholic, embarked on her 44-year career in nursing that included roles in critical care, administration, and medical research.
In the 1990s, Bill and Mary began to deepen their ties with the Vincentians when former Provincial Fr. Jim Swift, C.M., contacted Bill to assist in organizing events for former Vincentians. In addition, “I taught Father Pat McDevitt, the current provincial, in college,” Bill says. “He began to include Mary and me in specific requests and projects going on around the province.”
Mary and Bill have begun making financial gifts to support specific C.M. ministries.
“We have been blessed with a comfortable life in retirement, and we are eager to support what we see of new beginnings and a renewed spirit taking shape in the province,” Bill says.
“I see the new provincial office at Aquinas Institute … the new Vincentian Mission House for formation … engaging senior priests in ministry teams … focusing on retirement needs and continuing education … These things remind me of the robust revitalization that took place for the Vincentians in the mid-19th century as the superior general basically re-founded the CM community around the world.”
Mary adds: “We certainly feel the joy and gratitude coming back. The priests call us and visit us. Father Pat officiated our daughter’s wedding at Holy Trinity, taking his own time to travel and do that. No matter which church you belong to, there’s no better feeling than growing closer to those who are receiving your offerings by their words and deeds of appreciation.”
Today, Bill remains active as a lector and helps lead a group studying racism within the Catholic Church. He serves as treasurer and as a board member of Dalla Area Interfaith, a non-partisan, multi-ethnic group of Dallas-area nonprofits that seeks to improve the lives of people across Dallas. Mary stays busy supporting Bill in various parish ministries and also volunteers at Baylor Cancer Center.