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On January 19, 2015, the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd fused with the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God. This ‘fusion’ of the two religious orders saw the end of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd as a formal entity. The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd have now become Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God.
The Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd are known locally for the work that is done through Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto. Elsewhere, the Brothers minister in Hamilton, Illinois, Florida, New Mexico, Haiti, England and Ireland.
The Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God is one of the oldest religious orders in the Catholic Church. They were founded with the mission to provide assistance for the sick and needy. It had its origin in Granada, Spain in the second half of the 16th century to continue the charitable work of Saint John of God, who was born at Montemor-o-Novo (Portugal) and died in Granada on the 8th of March 1550. The Brothers operate hospitals and other related health care and social services in 52 countries around the world.
The founder of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, Matthias Barrett, was originally a Hospitaller Brother of St. John of God before founding the Congregation in 1950. “In so many ways this reality was little more than the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd exchanging their white habits for the black habits of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God,” said Brother Justin Howson, Brother General of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd. He added, “the mission, the values, the work of these two religious orders are virtually identical and will not result in any changes in the day to day work with the poor and needy.”
“As part of the combining of the two orders, the new Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God Province of the Good Shepherd in North America was created,” stated Brother Jesús Etayo, Prior General of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God. “This new Province will combine the existing North American ministries of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd with our existing ministries in Montreal and New Jersey. Brother Justin Howson has been appointed the Provincial Superior with the Provincial Office located in Hamilton, Ontario.”
Brother David Lynch, Executive Director of Good Shepherd Ministries in Toronto, offered, “This is an opportunity for us to draw upon the strengths that a much larger religious order can offer to us including learning different approaches to supporting the sick and needy from around the globe.” He added, “The programs and supports delivered to those in need in our community through Good Shepherd Ministries, Toronto, will continue unchanged.”
The ceremony to celebrate the fusion of these two orders took place on Monday January 19, 2015 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.