Father Ramon J. McCabe, the sixth child in a large family, was born in Madelia, Minnesota on September 15, 1928, son of Osmond and Mary McCabe. His father and five of his brothers served in the military during three major U.S. wars. Father McCabe attended Mater Dolorosa grade school and Madelia High School and upon graduation entered Maryknoll in September 1946.
Because of the post-war vocation boom, Father McCabe and eight other Maryknoll Seminarians were sent to Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minnesota. The following nine years were spent in the various Maryknoll seminaries in New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York. He was ordained on June 9, 1956 at Maryknoll, New York. In those years one was not given a choice of where to go, but Father McCabe was fortunate to be assigned to the country he most wanted to go and still enjoys, Tanzania.
The country as well as the Church have experienced dramatic changes and growth during the four decades Father McCabe has worked in Tanzania. The country became independent and quadrupled its population; the Church leadership went from a handful of European and American Bishops to 30 indigenous Bishops.
Father McCabe is now pastor at Kiagata Parish where there is a convent and four African Sisters. During his forty years in Tanzania, Father McCabe was principally involved in pastoral ministry and evangelizing among the rural poor. During two periods he had the additional work of food relief distribution.
Several other priests started their Tanzania careers with Father McCabe. At various times over the years he has lived and worked with several Maryknoll priests, a Maryknoll Priest Associate, two priest associates from Poland, and five African priests.
When asked about the rigors of mission life in Africa, Father McCabe wonders jokingly if he could have survived so long in the cold Minnesota winters he experienced as a child.