Lawrence Patin was born on the 1st October 1937, the eldest of six children whose parents were of German and Polish ancestry. His first home was on a farm in the small town of Sand Lake in the northern US state of Michigan, before the family moved to the city of Grand Rapids.
No matter how busy he was, or how important a meeting was, when Father Larry heard the youngsters arrive he would stop working to welcome his children.
In 1951 at the age of fourteen, young Lawrence entered the minor seminary and continued his schooling until deciding to take vows and become a Redemptorist priest. Religion was very important to the Patin family, and all five Patin boys entered the Redemptorists, Lawrence as a priest and his four younger brothers all becoming Redemptorist Brothers. His parents were both very religious and themselves became Redemptorist Oblates: individuals who have shown a deep commitment to the Redemptorists mission to the poor and most abandoned.
On June 29th 1963 Lawrence Patin confirmed his vows of obedience, chastity and poverty and in the presence of both his parents, four brothers and young sister he was ordained a priest, known from then on as Father Lawrence Patin C.Ss.R.
All Redemptorists use the initials “C.Ss.R.” after their last names. These four letters are an abbreviation for ‘Congregatio Sanctissimi Redemptoris’, the Latin for ‘Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.’
Father Lawrence Patin C.Ss.R. October 1st 1937 - January 8th 2011
After spending a short time at the St. Alphonsus Rock Church in St. Louis, in June 1965 Father Lawrence, or Father Larry as he was sometimes known, made the long journey to Thailand. His first stop in the Kingdom was to school where he studied the Thai language before moving to the minor seminary in Sriracha.
The following years saw Father Larry being posted to parishes around the country, including time at Phon Soong in Udon Thani province and five years at a leper colony in Khon Kaen.
In 1979 he returned to Bangkok where he preached to the city folk before once again making the journey up country and becoming novice master in Nong Khai. It was also at this time that Father Larry was parish priest in the towns of Tabo, Si Chiang Mai and Viengkhuk. Father Larry would spend many happy years in these parishes but in early 1990 he took a break and returned to the capital to become rector of Holy Redeemer Church. After several years in that position he made the journey back to his parishes up north where he again remained for several years.
In the early part of the 21st century Father Larry arrived in Pattaya to become rector of the Redemptorist Center before taking over as President of the Father Ray Foundation, the post had been vacated by Father Banchong Chaiyara who was elevated to Bishop.
Running a large organisation such as the Father Ray Foundation was a lot different to what he was used to; managing several social projects where 850 children and students with disabilities are housed and educated is a great responsibility, but one which he took on with enthusiasm.
In early 2010 Father Larry became unwell whilst visiting his good friend Father Mike Shea in Nong Khai. It was originally thought that he was suffering with a ‘frozen shoulder’, but on return to the US a small tumour was discovered on his brain. A course of radiation treatment was given and this did hold back the tumour, but the mixture of chemotherapy medications was not enough to cure him and he passed away with his family beside him.
Father Larry was a deeply spiritual man, who cared deeply about helping the underprivileged of society, especially children. Whilst he worked in his office in Pattaya most mornings he would be visited by the young toddlers from the Father Ray Day Care Center. More than fifty youngsters would run into his office, screaming and shouting, climbing over the furniture and all clamouring to sit on Father Patin’s knee and be the first to receive a small piece of candy. No matter how busy he was, or how important a meeting was, when he heard the youngsters arrive he would stop working to welcome his children.
The Father Ray Foundation will miss the advice, strength and support Father Larry gave to the workers, children and students. May he rest in eternal peace.