By Paula K. Parrish, CFRE, Chief Advancement Officer
When the winds are swirling in Louisiana, the vortex may not be a hurricane. It might just be Patrick and Randalle Moore.
Both are retired now, but you would never know it.
After 40 years of 70-hour corporate work weeks, Patrick now spends 100 hours a week serving others. After a career as senior partner with a global sustainability company, he keeps busy in retirement by working as a spiritual direction intern for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and helping with directed retreats at the Jesuit retreat houses in Grand Coteau, La. This spiritual work is in addition to serving on the board of the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL), assisting a local engineering firm, helping former clients plan sustainable environments and investments, attending board meetings and managing his sustainable farm.
He also helps care for his grandchildren (who call him “Captain”), attends annual retreats at Manresa House of Retreats (every year for 37 years!), prays as he learned from Jesuits and finds God in everything.
This frenetic pace reflects his passion for life and all things Jesuit.
Randalle, known to her family as “Supermom,” volunteers at Inner-City Revitalization Corporation, teaching environmental classes and pushing efforts for recycling.
Together, they have two children and four grandchildren. Randalle notes that they like to “live lightly on this earth” at their home in Alexandria, La. They pray the Examen together every day and focus on caring tenderly for their family and an aging parent. They are true partners in life, her quiet poise a complement to his more outgoing nature.
Both landscape architects, Patrick and Randalle met in Atlanta at a student meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects. They married, moved to Alexandria and started a new company in a rental house – all in the same week in 1982. These multi-taskers seem naturally imbued with strength, drive and courage.
I first met Patrick almost a year ago when he called out of the blue to ask how he could donate money to the Jesuits. He was passionate about the Jesuit retreat houses in Louisiana but knew little about the province. We spoke for hours about his desire to sustain the Jesuits.
“Ensuring we have many more Jesuits to lead our retreats and touch our lives is critical to our faith!” he said, noting that, “Most of the men who go to retreats at Manresa don’t realize there is a central office in St. Louis managing all 340 of the Jesuits in this province.”
Moore experienced his first 30-day silent retreat one year ago. Everyone who knew him told him he would never make it. “Patrick? Silent for 30 days? It will never happen,” they said. He was not sure he would make it either, even packing twice with the intention of leaving. But if there is one word to describe Patrick, it is persistent. I’d add loyal and devout, as well.
The late Fr. Edmund Romagosa, SJ, was Patrick’s spiritual director for many years and accompanied him as he explored his place in life and his relationship with God.
“His sincere care and advice not only kept me grounded and ‘above water,’ but allowed me to share that spirituality with others, which I inherently enjoy,” Patrick said.
Today, Patrick meets with Fr. Tony Ostini, SJ, at the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau. Father Ostini directed Patrick during his 30-day retreat in 2021. “It was life-changing,” Patrick said.
He remembers fondly Fr. Harry Tompson, SJ, who cradled Patrick in his arms when he could only cry about a painful relationship. Patrick drove three and half hours early one morning from Alexandria to New Orleans just to hear one of Fr. Tompson’s eight-minute sermons.
Patrick believes that the Jesuits are grounded in the true vision of Jesus. “Their diligence, intellect, care, sustainable life … they are simply a great investment in a reality of the meaning of life itself. They are the ‘Marines of the Church!’” he says. “They have our backs!”
I have witnessed Patrick sitting in his garden and watching his six-year-old granddaughter, Iris, dance. During these tender moments, he considers what more he could do to fix something that is messed up or could be better.
He prays about it. He reads the Bible. He finds hope in his prayer and contemplation.
Patrick paraphrases Romans 5:1-5, “‘Justified by faith, let us have peace with our Lord Jesus Christ, and know that suffering leads to endurance and endurance leads to HOPE! And HOPE is eternal!’ That’s the message for the Catholic Church!”
Always the landscape architect, Patrick envisions new sustainable landscaping at the Jesuit retreat house in Grand Coteau. “I have the perfect place for a courtyard and statue of St. Ignatius!” he says. But it is his deepening of faith that permeates Patrick’s every action. He insists that anyone considering retirement “must” have a plan and an attitude of meaningfulness and the value of giving back.
That is what the Moores do. They give back. They are members of the Ignatian Heritage Society, which means the Jesuits are included in their estate plans. They orchestrated a meeting of like-minded Louisiana businesspeople to meet the provincial and the novices at a special event in Lafayette, La. They believe that the Lord has blessed us and asks only two things in return: 1. Be joyful! Take care of the world, because you do not own it; and 2. Be yourself! The Lord gave each person unique talents and asks that you use those talents like a palette of paint colors to paint a masterpiece with your life.
When a powerhouse couple with hearts of gold steadfastly believes in the power of prayer and the blessings of the Jesuits, good things happen. They may have lofty goals, but focused as they are, they ensure God’s will shall be done.