BANGKOK, Thailand – Father Raymond Brennan, an American Roman Catholic priest who cared for abandoned children for 31 years at an orphanage he founded in Thailand, has died of heart failure, his publicist said Monday. He was 70.
Brennan, born into a devout Irish Catholic family in a poor neighborhood of Chicago, died Saturday at a Bangkok hospital, a public relations firm representing his orphanage said in a statement.
Brennan was a highly respected figure in the Thai seaside town of Pattaya where he had lived and worked since 1972 for children and other destitute Thais, said the statement.
Pattaya is 70 miles south of Bangkok.
Fondly known as Father Ray, Brennan joined the missionary Redemptorists and was ordained on July 2, 1959, a year before he was posted to Thailand where he had expected to stay for only one or two years.
Brennan liked to recount his mother’s reaction to the news of his Thai posting. “I knew God had a reason – you are the only one of my children who likes rice,” she said.