“For me, being an SCJ means that I strive to give of myself totally out of love for the One who loves me and each person. As an SCJ I recognize the calling to be inwardly dedicated to returning the love the Heart of Jesus has for each of us.”
-Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ, 1941-2023
Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ, died on June 28; he was 82.
Originally from Ohio (he grew up near Toledo), Fr. Tom – known to many as simply “Fr. Westy” – professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart in 1957. He studied theology at Sacred Heart Monastery and earned a master’s degree in Modern European History at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1966.
Fr. Tom’s first assignments were in education and formation: Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Lenox, MA (1967-71), Sacred Heart Novitiate in Ste. Marie, IL (1971-74), and Dehon Seminary in Lanesboro, MA (1974-79).
In 1979 Fr. Tom joined the SCJ community at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD; for many years, he was the school’s director.
For three years Fr. Tom was the province vocation director (1990-93) but returned to South Dakota in 1993 where he served in parish ministry at All Saints in Eagle Butte (1993-2004) and St. Mary’s in Lower Brule (2004-07).
Fr. Tom was often the recording secretary at province gatherings, including several provincial chapters. His last assignment before retirement was in the province archives.
“For me, being an SCJ means that I strive to give of myself totally out of love for the One who loves me and each person,” said Fr. Tom. “As an SCJ I recognize the calling to be inwardly dedicated to returning the love the Heart of Jesus has for each of us.”
When he first began his studies for the priesthood and religious life, Fr. Tom wanted to go to the foreign missions. “But as I continued my studies I realized that there are so many opportunities to serve the poor and marginalized – not just overseas, but at home as well,” he said.
A member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML, in recent years Fr. Tom was in nursing care at St. Camillus in Milwaukee.
Friday, July 7
Good Shepherd Chapel at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake
Reception of the Body: 9:30 a.m., followed by a Wake
Funeral Mass: 10:30 a.m.
Interment will be at the community mausoleum.