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San Diego's Father Joe remembered for generations to come

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Posted at 9:49 PM, Jul 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 13:18:58-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego icon was known by many as being a champion for the homeless community. But there is one woman who was able to get to know the real Father Joe and share his story for generations to come.

It was in 1974 when writer Kathryn Cloward met Father Joe Carroll for the first time.

"He just nodded his head and said Kathryn I have a book I want you to write for me."

While he was Priest at Our Lady of Grace, Cloward's mother worked alongside him as his scouting secretary and remained one of his right hands, as he took on his new venture of Father Joe's Villages.


"He didn't want to do the same model," shares Cloward about Carroll's pride and joy. "He wanted people to have dignified housing, he wanted people to believe that they themselves could pull themselves out of poverty. But they needed compassion and support to do that."

It was that work of his with the homeless community, that made Cloward say yes to the man of faith two years ago, to write not one, but two memoirs in his name.

"I would just press record on my phone," recalls Cloward. "I have hundreds of hours of recordings with him, and it was really special ... Father Joe was a really cheerful, kind, compassionate man, he listened. He wanted to know who you were."

And it was not just Cloward's life that was touched, but countless others like Ruth Bruland, who was the Chief Officer for Father Joe's Villages.

"His belief in neighbors helping neighbors, it went throughout San Diego," said Bruland.

Known in his books, which were written by Cloward, as "Goody Goody Joey Carroll," he will now forever remembered as the man with a drive to help others, with a heart that loved and gave to all.

"He said Kathryn I want you to write a book about good priests," expresses Cloward, reminiscing on their previous conversations. "And I said let's start with your story Father Joe. Because he is a good man, I mean everyone you talk to, you could interview a hundred people right now and he made everyone feel very special."

Cloward says she is grateful Father Joe was able to see his books, Father Joe: Life Stories of a Hustler Priest and Father Joe's Six Golden Seeds before he died.

She hopes that now people can read his story, and his legacy can live on beyond the buildings we see.