Brother Patrick Corr O.H.

Thomas Francis Corr was born the youngest of eleven children on a farm in County Kilkenny, Ireland on April 27, 1914. In addition to working on the farm, young Tom Corr worked five years in town at Nicholas Kenny’s Dry Good Store on High Street. The Irish village tradition of direct caring for one’s neighbor suited his natural concern of the sick and elderly and the roots of his vocation, to care for the sick, the aged and the needy can easily be traced. “When a neighbor got sick, you went and helped him,” Brother Patrick says, “my father had a great love for caring and as I grew up, I wanted to care for the sick and needy as well.”

The spirit of hospitality, the Caritas, which the Hospitaller Brothers adopted as their Grand Motif, was an integral part of his own early experiences. The call to religious life blended with his interest in serving God and neighbor, leading Thomas to become a postulant in the Order of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God on September 1, 1939. He took the name of Patrick and vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and hospitality when he was 26 years old. The Mission of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God is to witness to Christ’s healing love as expressed by their charism of hospitality, through a community of faith and a compassionate service to God’s suffering people. The Hospitaller Brothers strive to incarnate the sentiments of Christ towards the sick and those in need and to manifest these sentiments with actions of mercy.

Six years later in Dublin, he received his diplomas in Psychiatric Nursing and Teaching and in nursing the Mentally Handicapped, specializing in childhood psychiatric disorders.

In 1946, thirteen years after entering the Order in Ireland, Brother Patrick was sent to join the Brothers in Los Angeles where the Order was establishing a care center for men with long-term illnesses and incurable diseases. “Los Angeles?” Brother Patrick thought to himself, “Where in the world is that? I’ve never heard of it.” He was immediately welcomed into the busy community at Western and Adams. In fact, soon after his arrival he was given multiple tasks: he was made primary care giver for 6 patients and 8 long-term residents and was named Director of Novitiate. After only 5 years of service, at the Mount St. John of God Sanitarium, the Brothers were being forced to turn any needy men away since they didn’t have room.

The Brothers quickly established a reputation for running a wonderfully caring facility, which in turn won them many valuable friends who responded to Brother Patrick’s requests for financial assistance as the Brothers felt the need for expansion.

While caring for a patient and speaking with her daughter of the financial need, Brother Patrick awakened Miss Crowley’s intent to help. She asked her associate, Conrad Hilton to investigate the need and suggest a response. Hilton and the Crowley family gave a sizable sum to the ministry of the Brothers.

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