Franciscan Spirituality Center920 Market StreetLa Crosse, WI 54601608-791-5295https://www.fscenter.orgSteve Spilde: Today. I am honored to welcome my friend and mentor, Vince Hatt. Vince was alongtime director of the Franciscan Spirituality Center, and he happens to be one of the wisestpeople I know. Welcome, Vince.Vince Hatt: Thank you very much. [It’s] good to be here.Steve: Vince, you were on the podcast a couple years ago, and since then you spent some timein the hospital, correct?Vince: Correct, yes.Steve: You were diagnosed with a form of cancer?Vince: Yeah, Acute Myeloid Leukemia.Steve: Have you been feeling OK?Vince: Yeah, most of the time.Steve: As you face the challenge of cancer, Vince, how has spirituality changed for you? Whatseems more important? What seems less important in your life?Vince: Well, let me start with a story. In 1967 – 55 years ago – I was a young priest [at] HolyGhost of Dubuque, and I was visiting Eleanor in the hospital. Eleanor had breast cancer. It wasStage 4, and finally they knew they could do no more for her. I came in there very worried whenI got that information. She looked at me and said, “Vince, either way I’ll be OK.” I was to leada tour to Europe for 17 days, and she was not supposed to be able to survive that long. I saidgoodbye to her tearfully and thanked her for who she was in my life, and I went off to Europe. Igot back 17 days later at 2 a.m., and I went immediately to the rectory office, looked into thebook of deaths in the parish, and she was not in there. I got up at 6 a.m., went to the hospital andsaid, “Eleanor, I can see you again.” She said, “Thank God you’re back. You can have myfuneral,” and she died two days later. She prepared me for this moment: either way, I’ll be OK.I’ve kind of prayed into that over the years knowing that someday I’m going to get a deathsentence. My response was actually, “Either way, I’ll be OK.” I had also heard that Francisonce said, “What if you find out you’re going to die tomorrow?” He said, “I’d continue to hoethe garden.” I’ve continued to hoe the garden. I still do Spiritual Direction. I still do groups. Istill write articles. So really, my life hasn’t changed significantly except every six weeks I go infor IV chemo. The things that were important are still important, which is relationships and mydesire to love God and neighbor, so it wasn’t really drastic.Now, I’m no hero. I hate pain. I’m not afraid so much of death, but pain? I’m afraid of that.But on the other hand, I’ve had severe depression for three years, and this is trivial compared toVince Hatt podcast2that. Depression is 24/7, and it’s everywhere. It’s omnipresent. This [cancer] is … I go in everysix weeks, otherwise my life is pretty much the same. That’s kind of my story right now.Steve: How many years ago did you have the depression?Vince: The worst depression was from 1986 to 1989. I’ve had bouts afterwards, but that reallywas the one that was God-awful.Steve: What did you learn from that journey that’s been helpful since you’ve had cancer?Vince: Probably acceptance. There is so little that I can control. You just have to show up eachday and see what the day presents. I was a compulsive driver …Steve: Do you mean, like, pushing yourself all the time?Vince: I’m a ___________. If something wasn’t successful, I just worked harder. Now, I’m at astage where I’m riding a horse and notice it’s dead, I get off of it. I don’t push like I used to.Steve: How did that work for you, riding a dead horse in the old days?Vince: It didn’t work very well. It just didn’t work – it exhausted me.Steve: That’s why I said you’re one of the wisest people I know – when the horse is dead, youget off, which isn’t a universal response.Vince: No. And sometimes I’m on a little too long. _______ start smelling, and I get off.Steve: When you’ve been challenged in the last couple years and throughout your life, what areyour sources of resilience?Vince: That’s a good question. I suppose my parents. My parents went through hard stuff, butthey never gave up. My mother was depressed all my life, and she never gave up – she alwayshung in there. A source of resilience is my Christian faith. If you want to live, you’ve got to die,and the dying you’ve got to do is to one’s own ego. That’s been a never-ending challenge. I’mmuch better at it now than I was when I was young.