Enders Island arts and crafts mansion and rose garden. Photo by Lynn Monty.
Wherever there is an Edmundite, the whole Edmundite community is present in that work, Father Tom Hoar, S.S.E. said. His labor of love lies in addiction recovery efforts that take place on the 11-acre island in Mystic, Connecticut; and in bringing The Word of the Lord to anyone who will listen. Daily, he is pulled between the Enders Island Catholic Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption and United States Sub Base nearby in Groton.
Father Tom lives and ministers on Enders Island, where men and women from all walks of life come to experience renewal, healing and inspiration. In 1954, Alys Enders entrusted her arts and crafts mansion to the care of The Society of St. Edmund where hundreds of young men went on to enter the S.S.E. Novitiate. In 2003, stewardship was transferred to St. Edmund’s Retreat under Father Tom’s care. He serves as President and CEO of the nonprofit operation that now focuses on spiritual renewal, addiction recovery, and sacred art education. Father Tom attributes the success of St. Edmund’s Retreat to prayer. He calls on his group of “Prayer Warriors” when needed—“always has, and always will. They are a powerful group,” he said.
The mission of St. Edmund’s Retreat is to offer retreats in St. Michael’s Hall (The old Novitiate building), residential recovery opportunities and regular Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, spiritual development, and educational programs. Enders Island is also home to an art institute and Catholic psychotherapy offices.
Vice Chair Kate Careb said in an interview in 2019, “I tell you, that man is guided by the Holy Spirit,” She met Father Tom while trying to get her longtime friend some help with addiction. His graciousness and generosity during the process captured her attention. “He was really something else that day I met him. I thought I was taking my friend to see a nice, sweet priest but what he had to say was just jaw dropping.” Kate jumped on board to help with Enders Island fundraising efforts soon after.
“We were called here. I believe that,” Kate said. “There is a beautiful, miraculous intervention that brings people to this place.” Father Tom runs marathons, holds multiple doctorates, and studies law. He said Enders Island is home to a ministry of healing and hope. “We see the fruit of that every single day,” he said. “Whether there is an Edmundite on these grounds or not it will always be an Edmundite charism. We help people scale obstacles and find a personal relationship with God. We are all called to a life of spirituality and holiness. What’s here at Enders Island can’t be replicated. The grandeur of God is all around us and in the staff and retreatants. There is perseverance and respect here. Worthiness happens here.”
For more information about Enders Island, please visit https://www.endersisland.org/.
The Chapels on Enders Island. Photo taken in July, 2019 by Lynn Monty.