Brother Mathias BARRETT

Brother Mathias was born Maurice Patrick Barrett in Waterford, Ireland, on March 15, 1900.  When he was fourteen, Mathias returned home from school one day and announced to his mother that he intended to join a community of brothers. Following a series of delays and compromises, at sixteen he finally boarded a Dublin-bound train to start a journey that would lead him to the order of the brothers of John of God and travelling to France, Canada, Ireland and the United States.

In 1934, Mathias was appointed provincial superior of the newly established province of the John of God Brothers, and in fourteen short but eventful years he helped establish five institutions: a refuge serving the needs of 200 men; a hospital with 500 beds; a soup kitchen; a home for epileptics; and a convalescent home for seventy-five patients. In 1941 Mathias travelled to Los Angeles and spent the next nine years establishing hospitals, nursing homes and night shelters in and around Boston and Los Angeles.

The circumstances of his life allowed him to experience alienation, misunderstanding and rejection. His sometimes spontaneous response to an obvious human need was unnerving and unsettling. Confusion and misunderstanding eventually led to his dispensation in September of 1950 severing his ties to the Hospitaller community.

Brother Mathias founded the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd in 1951, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He expanded his ministry to Hamilton in 1961 at the request of Bishop Joseph Ryan. Good Shepherd began as a small hostel for destitute and homeless men.

Brother Mathias died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on August 12, 1990 at the age of 90.

Today, thanks to the perseverance of the Brothers and the generosity of the community, Good Shepherd is the leading provider of human services to vulnerable men, women, youth, children and families in Hamilton.

  • To watch the video Mathias and John: A Fusion of Hospitality, click here.
  • To watch the video Ritual of Surrender and Fusion Celebration, click here.