Rev. Andrew T. Corcoran, CSV, died Jan. 27, 1904 in Phoenix, AZ from heart and lung complications brought on by pneumonia. He was 48.
At the time, Fr. Corcoran had been ordered by his doctors to rest in the dry, warm climate of Arizona for the winter. He was there only two months, before his untimely death shocked his friends in Chicago and Canada.
Fr. Corcoran was born Mar. 21, 1855 in Rawdon, in the Province of Quebec, Canada. His early education was entrusted to the Clerics of St. Viator, and as a young teen, he entered their congregation, in 1870.
His studies began with a classical course, before he was sent by his superiors to Paris, and afterwards to Rome, where he pursued an advanced course in philosophy and theology.
Fr. Corcoran was ordained to the priesthood in 1887, by the Rev. Édouard-Charles Fabre, Archbishop of Montreal.
Upon his return from Rome, he taught philosophy for several years at Joliette College in Quebec, Canada.
In 1895, Fr. Corcoran was named Assistant General to the Superior General of the Viatorian Community in Paris, the Rev. Pascal D. Lajoie, CSV. He was credited with offering valuable service to his community with his prudent administration of affairs, his wise counsel and his tact in dealing with difficult situations.
At the earnest solicitation of the Chicago province, Corcoran was appointed provincial in 1900. He was headquartered at St. Viator Normal Institute in Chicago and he also had charge of St. Viator Church, where he quickly developed a strong relationship with his parishioners. Within a few months, he oversaw the building of a school for the children, with the generous support of his parishioners.
During this time, not only was he provincial and pastor, he also served as master of novices and chaplain of St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum. He also still found time to preach retreats in many of the houses of the Little Sisters of the Poor, including those in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
It was about this time when his health began to fail. A pair of pneumonia attacks in 1903 left him weak and prompted him to seek recovery in Arizona.
Fr. Corcoran was respected by his confreres, as a persuasive preacher, profound theologian and man with a sympathetic heart. Consequently, his death was a severe blow to his community.
When the alarming news of Fr. Corcoran’s condition was received, the Rev. J.J. Cregan, CSV, of Chicago, left immediately for Arizona, but he arrived a few hours after his death. Fr. Cregan accompanied the remains back to Bourbonnais, where the solemn funeral was held Feb. 2 at Maternity of the Blessed Mary Virgin Church.
The Rev. Cyrille Fournier, CSV, celebrated the requiem Mass, during which Bishop Peter J. Muldoon paid a fitting tribute to the memory of Fr. Corcoran.
Due to a forbidding blizzard, the body was not buried until the next day, Feb. 3, in Maternity BVM Cemetery near the central cross.
Taken from a booklet, “In Memoriam” published by the Viatorian Community, date unknown