About Father Joe
April 12, 1941 — July 10, 2021
Reverend Monsignor Joseph Carroll, affectionately known as "Father Joe" to most people, grew up in the Bronx in a two-bedroom apartment with his parents and seven siblings. From childhood, he was entrepreneurially minded, earning money by doing various jobs in his neighborhood, including being a Shabbos Goy for his Jewish neighbors. In his early 20s, he decided to move across the country to Southern California and a year later entered the seminary. Father Joe was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1974 and was a popular parish priest until 1982, when he was assigned to take over San Diego’s St. Vincent de Paul Center (now known as Father Joe’s Villages).
Tasked to build a homeless shelter on an empty block in downtown San Diego, Father Joe’s persistence, charisma and gregarious personality — along with a fearlessness of the unknown — resulted in developing a revolutionary approach to providing housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. Father Joe's idea, which he boldly shared on national television while being interviewed by 60 Minutes, became reality in 1987 with the opening of the first newly constructed building — St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center. Decades of development followed, as well as countless awards and international recognition for Father Joe, who became known as the "hustler priest" after seeking money to help neighbors in need on television.
Father Joe retired in 2011 yet continued to be dedicated to serving the greater San Diego community, which benefited greatly from his unique mindset of an entrepreneur, heart of a servant and willingness to do whatever it takes to create results. He also continued his lifelong support of the Boy Scouts through retirement and enjoyed attending scouting events as much as possible.
Father Joe joyfully celebrated his 80th birthday on April 12, 2021 with the release of his memoir Father Joe: Life Stories of a Hustler Priest, which he proudly endorsed. He was also delighted to be portrayed as an illustrated character in Father Joe's Six Golden Seeds.
Father Joe passed away on July 10, 2021. His legacy of service, compassion, and love lives on in the countless lives he impacted.
About Author, Kathryn Cloward
Kathryn Cloward is an award-winning book series author, multi-genre songwriter, and producer. She has earned national praise for her purposeful Kathryn the Grape® children’s media, and has written impact songs for causes that support children braving cancer, rare disease awareness, and refugee youth programs. A prolific storyteller of simplification, Kathryn enjoys crafting big topics into compelling stories and songs for people of all ages to easily grasp and appreciate together. Having known Father Joe her entire life, being asked by him to write his book is one of her greatest honors; she joyfully dedicated two years to writing it in service of honoring Father Joe and his legacy.