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Brothers of the Good Shepherd Records

Identifier: BGS

Scope and Content

Correspondence files of the founder, Brother Mathias Barrett, and financial records of the organization in its early years; correspondence files of the second Superior General Brother Camillus Harbinson, and records of council meetings and minutes, General Chapter papers, and information on individual houses during the years 1977-1986; correspondence files of the third Superior General Brother Justin Howson, and circulars and memos of the organization; General Chapter records; formation / vocation records; files kept by the Generalate concerning individual houses; records of each individual house; deceased brothers and priests files; printed material including prayerbooks; objects; photos and scrapbooks; audiovisual material; and miscellaneous material collected by the Brothers of the Good Shepherd.

The records of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd are divided into two major groups: the generalate files and the individual house files. The Superior General files contain primarily correspondence. Superior General and founder, Brother Mathias, has eight boxes total, seven of which are correspondence (1950-1990s). The earliest letters to Archbishop Byrne (1950-1951) reveal his desire to establish the Good Shepherd organization. Letters are arranged chronologically within series on the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, Good Shepherd Congregation, sisters, priests, brothers, dioceses, laymen, laywomen, foreign countries, relatives and family. The files also contain bank statements, receipts, bills, memos, meeting agendas and minutes, and constitutions.

Files of the second Superior General, Brother Camillus Harbinson, also include correspondence, but focus more on council meetings and minutes, constitutions, General Chapter items, workshops, profession and postulate records of brothers, newsletters, and individual houses (1977-1986). Brother Justin Howson's Superior General files include a series of circulars and memos (1986-1994), General Chapter records, correspondence, ministry assembly notes, and brothers' surveys.

Various brothers of the Good Shepherd held official positions within the organization, but their files were not designated as such. Often they were interspersed with the Generalate information. With the administration of Brother Justin, specific titles began to emerge within the filing system. Vicar General files of Brother Majella Marchand (1987-1992) include correspondence. Treasurer General files of Brother Mark Harmueller consist of one folder. Brother Jerome McCarthy (1989-1990), the first full-time Treasurer General, and Mrs. Judy Brinkmann (1990-1994), the first lay Treasurer General, have files in chronological order.

The General Chapter of 1977-78 directed that an archives be created, thus Brother Michael Carlyle's files as archivist. These include cemetery records, a coat of arms, a history of the congregation, archival forms, prayer manuals, silver jubilee information, constitutions, house reports, mailgrams, Shepherd's Call booklets, and requests. The General Chapter (1956-1992) series include the canonical status of the brothers, constitutional revisions and corrections, chapter meetings and minutes, proposals, questionnaires, speeches, reports, and a chronology of all the chapters. The General Council files contain minutes and correspondence (1978-1987).

The General Chapter Records (1956-1992) include series on the canonical status of the brothers, constitutional revisions and corrections, and chapter meetings with minutes, proposals, questionnaires, speeches, reports, and a chronology of all the chapters. The General Council Files contain minutes and correspondence (1978-1987)

Formation / Vocation records include printed material, manuals, handouts, and admission forms. There is an alphabetical file of Good Shepherd applicants (1950-1980s). Canonical Status files consist of messages of Pope Paul VI (1968-1972), Holy See material (1980), Sacred Congregation for Religious (1956-1984), and Vatican correspondence (1966-1978).

The House information for the Generalate (1950-1990) covers the Albuquerque region, Canada, Missouri, Ireland, Florida, California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and England. Documents include Articles of Incorporation, property deed copies, bylaws, bills, checks, statements, donations, maps, trust and estate information, legal papers, statistics, and minutes of house meetings.

Miscellaneous files are alphabetized according to person / subject, and cover historical, political, and religious people and organizations (1940-1980). The House records reveal the day to day operations of the brothers who manage them. Many different document types form the files: bank accounts, real estate information, liquid assets, receipts, development funds, payroll records, printouts of finances, appraisals, policy manuals, disbursements, balance sheets, insurance forms, staff newsletters, taxation documents, income statements, corporation minutes, donations, contracts, invoices, court cases, individual resident files and correspondence.

The Deceased brothers and priests files also serve as dossier files; they include personal items, mass cards, booklets, scrapbooks, etc.

A legal size file was established to consolidate the numerous newspaper articles (1950-1990s) on Brother Mathias and the BGS houses. They are arranged alphabetically according to house name. The Brothers of the Good Shepherd collection also contains scrapbooks of newspaper clippings kept intact. Index cards of applicants, professed brothers who left the organization, alphabetical and subject files, prayer cards and postcards round out the collection.

Items pulled from the collection due to their legal size are indicated as such with an information sheet called a "Separation Record", which will list where the items originally came from and to which folder they were transferred. Item are also removed from a collection due to physical characteristics. For instance, printed material such as books, pamphlets, prayerbooks, and the like, form their own collection - PBGS. Artifacts such as medals, crucifixes, relics, brothers' habits, commemorative coins, and plaques comprise the OBGS or object collection. There exists one oversized box which contains garments worn by the brothers. The GBGS or graphics collection includes slides, and various sizes of photographs. There exist thousands of these and they are categorized according to an alphabetical listing of houses; smaller (4x6) to larger (8x10) size photos; and black-and-white to color photos. Each photo album is given a folder number. If the album cannot fit into a single folder, it is separated into several folders which are designated as such: GBGS 11/03A, 11/03B, 11/03C and so on. The Brothers had a collection of printing blocks of varying sizes, which they used in newsletters, memos, souvenir booklets, etc. Other graphic items include papal blessings, prints, and drawings, which due to their size have been transferred to an oversized box. Audiovisual material consists of cassette tapes, VCR tapes, records, and movie reels. One lone computer disk constitutes the digital collection of the Brothers, and has been transferred to the Disks #3 collection within the Archives.

Also Brothers of the Good Shepherd audio-visual material, consisting of 46 audio cassette tapes: First General Chapter, 1978/04-05; 22 audio cassette tapes: Workshop, Kansas City, 1980/06/12 and following; 10 ten tapes: General Chapter of Affairs, 1980; 5 tapes: Chapter of Elections, 1983; 2 tapes: General Chapter Day of Recollection, 1983/06; 1: Good Shepherd Manor- Br Mathias and Diocesan Visitors, 1989/04/18; 12 tapes: Jean Vanier Shepherdhood Series; Mother Teresa in Her Own Words / Br Thomas and His Boys; Brother Thomas and His Boys- Kilkenny, Ireland; Anthony Darby Funeral Service; 18 tapes: General Chapter, April 29 - May 6, 1997, 1992/04-05; Ministry Proposals, Companionship Program, Sister Corita Clarke, Sister Christine May, Ordained Membership, Stewardship, 1992/04-05; 11 tapes: Ministry - Moment of Decision, 1994/0131; 3 tapes: on Br Mathias by Siobhan, for a book re him, 1982; Br Mathias re booklet on a Mature Religious; Br Mathias re Rosary Before the Blessed Sacrament; Aldo Vaco, etc. (dates indicated in recording); Thanksgiving Day - Alameda, New Mexico, 1988/11/24; 13 tapes: General Chapter of BGS, 1997/05/12; 1 audiotape, 6 large super 8 movie reels, 6 small super 8 Movie reels, 1 45-rpm record, 1972-1976; 2 large and 1 medium 16mm silent movie reels, 4 VHS tapes, 1969-1990.


  • Creation: 1950-[ongoing]


Language of Materials



Summary: Religious order of men founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico by Brother Mathias Barrett on 19 January 1951. Adhering to the motto "Charity Unlimited", the Brothers of the Good Shepherd devoted themselves to the care of the homeless and poverty striken. They expanded their ministry geographically outside the Albuquerque region to Ohio, Louisiana, Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Canada. At the same time, the Brothers extended their ministry spiritually to care for the mentally and physically handicapped youth.

The Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd (CBGS) was founded by Brother Mathias Barrett on January 19, 1951. He was born in Waterford, Ireland on March 17, 1900. As a child he listened to storiesof want and hardship of the elderly, and it sparked his desire to go and help the poor in America. After serving 33 years since the age of 15 in the Order of Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God, Brother Mathias left to pursue his dream. Archbishop Edwin Byrne of Santa Fe, New Mexico, invited him to start his own religious order.

Established in Albuquerque, the Good Shepherd Refuge opened its doors to the homeless and poverty striken. Adhering to the motto "Charity Unlimited", the Brothers of the Good Shepherd expanded outside of the Albuquerque region and traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where St. Martin's Home opened in 1954. Ozanam Inn, New Orleans, Louisiana, followed in 1955. By their tenth anniversary, the Brothers' congregation had grown from seven men and one house to 25 men and six houses. Numerous houses were established in the 60's, among them Camillus House in Florida, Good Shepherd Refuge and Center in Canada, St. John's Hospice in Philadelphia, Good Shepherd Manors in Wakefield and Kansas City, and Mount Aloysius in New Lexington, Ohio.

Beginning with only seven men, the congregation grew to 25 professed brothers in the year 1961, and peaked to 105 in 1987. The number of houses at that time also increased to 26. The Brothers of the Good Shepherd maintained their numbers throughout the 80's and only saw a dramatic decrease in the year 1995, when the total number of professed brothers dropped to 41. The thinning ranks of the Brothers made their ministry much more difficult as they still had over 20 houses which demanded much attention.

Brother Mathias acted as Superior General until the First General Chapter in 1977, where Brother Camillus Harbinson was elected. He served two terms until his sudden death in 1986. At that time Brother Justin Howson was elected to serve a ten year term as Superior General.

Houses of the Brothers of the Good Shepherd

  1. 1951 Good Shepherd Refuge - Albuquerque, New Mexico
  2. 1952 "Villa Maria" (later became Good Shepherd Manor) - Alameda, NM
  3. 1954 St. Martin's Home (c 1969) - Columbus, OH
  4. 1955 Ozanam Inn (c 1987) - New Orleans, LA
  5. 1960 Camillus House - Miami, FL
  6. 1961 Good Shepherd Center - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  7. 1963 Good Shepherd Refuge - Toronto, Canada
  8. 1963 St. John's Hospice - Philadelphia, PA
  9. 1963 Good Shepherd Manor (c) - Wakefield, OH
  10. 1966 Notre Dame on the Rio Grande (c) - Albuquerque, NM
  11. 1966 St. Anne's School (c 1971) - Albuquerque, NM
  12. 1967 Good Shepherd Manor (c) - Kansas City, MO
  13. 1968 St. Joseph Manor (c 1987) - Bernalillo, NM
  14. 1969 Mount Aloysius - New Lexington, OH
  15. 1971 Good Shepherd Manor - Momence, IL
  16. 1971 Good Shepherd Center - Birmingham, England
  17. 1972 Montini House - Wolverhampton, England
  18. 1973 Our Lady's Manor (c 1991) - Albuquerque, NM
  19. 1976 Matt Talbot House - Kilkenny, Ireland
  20. 1985 Barrett House - Albuquerque, NM
  21. 1991 Villa Mathias - Albuquerque, NM
  22. 1991 Brennan House - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  23. 1993 Emmaus House - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


105 linear feet. 11.25 linear feet of printed material. 10 linear feet of objects. 12.5 linear feet of photos. 2.5 linear feet of audio-visual material.

Brothers of the Good Shepherd Records
University of Notre Dame Archives
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Archives Repository

607 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame Indiana 46556 United States
(574) 631-6448