Brother Patrick Corr recently celebrated his 99th birthday at St. John of God Retirement and Care Center, where he has worked as a major fundraiser.
Brother Patrick has overseen the center since 1946, when he left his homeland to be transferred to a place he’d never heard of—Los Angeles. As recently as December 2009, in an article in the Chronicle, he was still president of the Hospitaller Foundation, still working hard and caring for the elderly, most of whom were younger than he.
Born the youngest of 11 children on a farm in Ireland, at 28 he took vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and hospitality, and was a postulant with the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God in Dublin.
In 1945 he earned a diploma in psychiatric nursing and continued to assist the order founded by 16th century Saint João Cidade in Granada, Spain.
The L.A. Care Center opened in 1942 with 12 beds for men with long-term illnesses and incurable diseases. Under his tutelage it has grown to a seven-acre continuum care facility at Adams Blvd. and Western Ave. The Mediterranean-style buildings house 250 men and women in nursing, assisted and independent living facilities as well as an Alzheimer’s patient site.
While Brother Corr was primary caregiver for the early patients, soon he was given the task of fundraising. One of his early successes was enlisting donations from hotel magnate Conrad Hilton, and he raised $5 million for the Alzheimer’s Care Residence alone.