Article collaborated by Rev. Kevin
Shanley, O.Carm., and Mr. Sal Lema
The Order of Carmelites of The
Most Pure Heart of Mary Province
under the direction of the
Very Reverend John F. Welch, O.Carm.,
Prior Provincial mourns the loss of the
Rev. Cecil C. Pickert, O.Carm., who
died at the age of 73 in Washington,
DC on Thursday, July 28, 2005, where
he was living in retirement.
Visitation for Rev. Pickert, was held
at St. Boniface Church, in Garnett,
Kansas on Tuesday, August 2, 2005 with
the Mass of Christian Burial held there
on Wednesday, August 3. The Very Rev.
John F. Welch, O.Carm., Prior
Provincial was principal celebrant.
Interment followed in Scipio, Kansas.
Rev. Cecil Pickert, O.Carm., was
born in Richman, Kansas, on June 29,
1932. After graduation from East
Scipio School, he enrolled at Mt.
Carmel Preparatory Seminary in
Niagara Falls, Ontario, where he
began studies for the priesthood with
the Carmelite Order.
Following his high school studies
in Niagara, he spent the next year as a
Carmelite Novitiate in New Baltimore,
Pennsylvania. He professed his simple
vows at the end of that year on Sept.
1, 1951. From there he returned to
Mt. Carmel College in Niagara Falls,
where he continued study in philosophy
and other subjects. He professed
his solemn vows there, three years
later on Sept. 15, 1954.
After theology studies at
Whitefriars Hall in Washington, D.C.,
he was ordained to the priesthood on
May 31, 1958, in Kansas City, Kansas.
In addition to his theology studies, he
also received a BA degree in Philosophy
from St. Bonaventure University
in Olean, N.Y., and a MA degree in
Biology from Notre Dame University,
South Bend, Indiana. He was also a
Councilor and Spiritual Director
receiving that training from the
Cardinal Meyer Institute in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin; Aquinas Institute in
Dubuque, Iowa; and the Jesuit School
of Theology in Chicago, Illinois.
Serving as teacher, Rev. Pickert
taught at Mt. Carmel High School in
Los Angeles, California; and did
formation work at Mt. Carmel in
Niagara Falls, Ontario; Mt. Carmel in
San Diego California and Carmel
Hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was
in Milwaukee that Rev. Bill Wert,
O.Carm., Province Vocation Director
remembers him fondly. “Fr. Cecil was
a steady hardworking dedicated
Carmelite priest,” Wert said. “Even in
his retirement, he continued to be an
excellent role model for our students
at Whitefriars Hall.”
His parish assignments included
St. Anastasia in Teaneck, New Jersey;
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Darien,
Illinois; St. Joseph in Leavenworth,
Kansas and Mt. Carmel in Louisville,
“Fr, Cecil was a good natured,
dedicated priest, much loved by the
people he served,” said the Very
Reverend John F. Welch, O.Carm.,
Prior Provincial. “He gave a lifetime
of generous service, with a variety of
assignments in our seminaries, high
schools, and parishes.”
May he rest in peace.
The Order of Carmelites of The
Most Pure Heart of Mary
Province mourn the loss of the
Rev. Thomas Schaefer, O.Carm., who
died on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 in
Venice, Florida where he had been
living in retirement.
Father Schaefer was born in
Grand Rapids, Michigan on Jan 16,
1922, the youngest of three Schaefer
children, to the late Ferdinand and
late Genevieve (Dolan) Schaefer.
Thomas was predeceased in death by
his brother, Ferdinand Jr., and his
Visitation for Rev. Thomas
Schaefer, took place on Fri, April 29,
2005 at the Lemon Bay Funeral
Home, in Venice, Florida. Mass of
Christian Burial took place at the
Santa Maria Chapel, Epiphany
Cathedral in Venice on Saturday,
April 30th. Burial immediately
followed at Venice Memorial Gardens.
The Rev. Simon Kenny, O.Carm., was
Born in Grand Rapids, Thomas,
attended St. Stephen grade school
there until his family moved to
Chicago where he completed his
grade school at St. Viator’s and St.
Francis De Paula school before
enrolling at Mt. Carmel High School
on the city’s Southside.
According to an oral biography
taken by Sister Ann Ganley, SSND, Fr.
Thomas stated that his father earned
a meager living for the family as a
traveling jeweler. Thomas would tell
the story of throwing rocks at the
trains so that the engineer would
throw pieces of coal back to be used
for the coal stove at home.
After graduating from Mount
Carmel High School he attended
Mount Carmel Preparatory Seminary
in Niagara Falls, Ontario to study for the priesthood in the Carmelite
Order. In his biography, Thomas
spoke of his love for those seminary
years at Niagara Falls. Not only did he
love the seminary but also his time at
Camp Maria where the seminarians
spent their summers. Fr. Silvan Boyle,
O.Carm., who is retired and living in
Phoenix, AZ, remembers his friend
Ferdy as “a great classmate…a
wonderful person who was always
concerned about others. He was a
great cook…on vacations he was the
number one guy in the kitchen,” Fr.
Boyle said. Thomas then went with his
class mates to New Baltimore,
Pennsylvania for a year of study as a
Carmelite Novitiate. “He was a super
guy and a good athlete,” stated Fr.
Jerry Heinen, O.Carm., who was two
years behind Fr. Thomas in formation
and remembers him fondly. “The
classes would play each other in sports
contests and Ferdy (as we called him)
would always excel in touch football
and baseball,” said Fr. Heinen.
In New Baltimore, Thomas
professed his first vows with the Order
on August 15, 1942. There he took
the religious name Ferdinand.
Returning to Mt. Carmel College in
Niagara Falls, he continued his
studies in Philosophy and other
subjects and also made his solemn
profession there three years later to
In 1945, Thomas (Ferdinand)
Schaefer continued his religious
journey attending Theology and other
related classes in preparation for ordination
to the Priesthood at
Whitefriars Hall in Washington, D.C.
Fr. Thomas Ferdinand Schaefer,
O.Carm., was ordained a priest in
Chicago on June 5, 1948 and said his
first Mass at St. Clara Parish there.
After a final year of study at
Whitefriars Hall after ordination, Fr.
Thomas began his career serving in
parish life. Fr. Hilary Milton, O.Carm.,
who presently serves at St. Cecilia
Parish in Englewood, New Jersey
described Fr. Thomas Schaefer as “a
pastoral and caring person who was
there for the people.” Fr. Schaefer
spent most of his career in New
Jersey. From 1956 to 1989 Fr. Thomas
served in St. Joseph’s parish in
Bogotá; a pastor at St. John’s in
Leonia and St. Anastasia parish in
Teaneck until his appointment as
director of St. Therese Chapel in the
Bergen Mall Shopping Center in
Paramus, New Jersey. Fr. Brice
Riordan, O.Carm., who succeeded
Fr. Thomas Schaefer as Director
reflected on the six years that he
spent with Fr. Thomas, “he established
efficient procedures by which
we run the chapel today… Oh God,
he loved to shop! He was a real home
body, didn’t travel much…just liked
to tinker in the garage and around
the house. And he loved to visit the
parks and rivers by himself. During
those years with me at the chapel…
I found him very dedicated to his
work,” Fr. Brice said.
In his priestly life, Fr. Schaefer
spent a great amount of time in counseling,
especially of alcoholics. He
received a certificate as a psychotherapy
counselor from the Alfred
Adler Institute in New York. While in
New York, Fr. Thomas uncovered his
gift of painting. He continued to
paint in some shape or form until his
death. Fr. Thomas had other hobbies
as well. He enjoyed whittling, and
other arts and crafts, putting clocks
together from kits, etc. He also
received a certificate as an alcoholic
counselor from the South Oaks
Hospital in Amityville, Long Island,
N.Y. and at Rutgers University in New
Jersey. He also received accreditation
from the American Examining Board
of Psychoanalysis in 1981 which
permitted Fr. Thomas to work as a
Licensed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist.
Fr. Schaefer also did
graduate work in Education at the
Catholic University of America in
In his first years as an ordained
priest, Fr. Thomas (Ferdinand)
Schaefer, O.Carm. served in Chicago
at St. Cyril’s then St. Clara’s parish
and school with a short time between
at St. Joe’s parish in Leavenworth,
Kansas. While in Leavenworth, Fr.
Thomas worked in prison ministry
with women who were confined there.
In his later years Fr. Schaefer moved
to Massachusetts where he served as
the Director and Prior of Our Lady of
the Scapular Priory and was director
of the Chapel of St. Therese at the
North Shore Shopping Mall in
Peabody. Fr. Thomas was proud of his
work as director of the Carmelite
Chapels in both malls in NJ and MA.
Fr. Thomas Schaefer retired from
active ministry after his term at Peabody
and retired first to Niagara Falls,
but moved to Venice, after one year.
Sister Ann Ganley, a close friend
for many years stated,” Fr. Thomas
was a wonderful son, brother, an
outstanding Carmelite, and a faithful
friend. He had a joy about life that
May he rest in peace.