God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Love Unlimited

Brother Mathias Barrett (1900-1990)

Brother Mathias Barrett (1900-1990)

In 1987 I met Brother Mathias, age eighty-seven at the time, in the Chicago Midway Airport.  A friend had called, “Come and meet Brother Mathias.  He is flying into Chicago today from Albuquerque.”  I had heard much about this man from my friend, Tom.

Brother stood five feet, five inches tall, with heavy thick glasses, because of his poor sight.  He wore a black baseball cap, with his religious collar and black suit.  Most noticeable about his appearance was his warm, expansive smile.

In 1955, Brother Mathias founded the Brothers of the Good Shepherd in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to feed the hungry and care for the homeless.  Before 1955, he had served the mentally impaired as a member of the Order of St. John of God for thirty five years.  He continued his service to God’s needy, until his death in August, 1990 at the age of ninety.

In May of 1991, I stood at the foot of his grave in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Etched in the gravestone was the motto of his Order, “Charity Unlimited.”  An eternal flame burns at the foot of the grave, to signify the love that ever burned in his heart for others.

Along with clothes, food, a clean place to sleep, Brother Mathias without limits gave words of good cheer, encouragement and respect for the image of Christ in each one seeking help.  In some miraculous way, this man did not run out of love and words of support for all whom he met.

The story of Brother Mathias tells us of the possibilities for love in the hearts of each one of us.  “Love Without Limits” could be our watchword.  A loving heart is a masterpiece of creation.  The one who is trying mightily to possess those marks of love –  such as kindness, forgiveness, respect for others, and patience is already beginning to enjoy Heaven on earth.

No one received more hard knocks than Brother Mathias.  Yet, he did not succumb to self pity, bitterness or take out his frustrations on other people.  When people came looking for help, they received a gracious welcome.  Never did he bring up questions such as, “Why are you here?  Why didn’t you take better care of yourself?”

Brother and I sat in the lobby of Midway Airport on the first day we met and talked for some time.  He had an abiding interest in the Midway Airport Chapel – which was still a year away from opening!  He promised daily prayers for its success.

This human being walked the way of love.  Why cannot we do the same?  We need not to open soup kitchens, but we can imitate him in other ways of love.            Fr. George Mc Kenna

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March 25, 2012 - Posted by | Bulletins


  1. Hi Father George! So glad to see another post from you! It is my way of knowing that you are doing ok. I tried to call you and your message machine is full. Tim and I are doing fine -. I am going to try and call your friend, Fr. Tom, and see where you are located. You are in my daily thoughts and prayers. Lent is going along fine – I attend the weekly Stations of the Cross. Every day I am thinking of you and your great and profound impact on my life. You are my dear friend, Fr. George!

    Thank you for sharing your story of Brother Mathias. So many people have touched your life too – but I am sure that you have touched many more, all in positive good ways.

    Comment by Nancy Westvang | March 25, 2012 | Reply

  2. H, i Father,

    Today my 14 year old daughter Molly, and my Mother Helen ( who lives in the St. Francis residence across the way) and my self, Lynne came to visit you. Thank you for your books, and for taking the time to visit with us. You are truly and inspiration to me personally, and my Mom, but also to my daughter Molly, whom you had a profound impact on.

    We look forward to your stories! And I’m so happy that we stopped by.

    Comment by Lynne Donegan | March 27, 2012 | Reply

  3. Dear Father. McKenna,

    I am overwhelmed with happiness after seeing you today. You were wonderful as always. Our God is so
    pleased with you I am sure. You have served faithfully and given so much to so many. Kindness radiates
    from your face and your eyes sparkle as always. I asked you if you knew what Maris Stella meant and you
    said ” Star of the Sea”. I told you I would come home and Google that and sure enough, you were right!
    Bob and the boys were happy to hear news about you and will keep you in their prayers too.
    We are blessed to have you in our lives. May Our God shine His Richest Blessings on you, his humble

    See you soon,
    Your friend, Carol Ingersoll

    Comment by Carol Ingersoll | April 20, 2012 | Reply

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