Bro. Skip Matthews dies at 77: the face of Christ for others, especially for those in need

bro-skipSince 1994, Bro. Francis “Skip” Matthews, S.M. has been a fixture in the Chaminade family. He has graced the school with his infectious smile, boundless energy, and irreplaceable spirit.

Chaminade College Preparatory is deeply saddened to announce Bro. Skip died on December 14, 2016 in Cupertino, California. He was 77 years-old, with 57 years of religious profession. The entire school family will miss his presence on campus, be it through his work in Campus Ministry, supervisory time in the cafeteria, substituting in the classroom, or to discuss social justice, the Dodgers, or the previous night’s Chaminade basketball game. You could always count on a resounding, “Hello,” if you saw an older, white pick-up truck in the parking lot.

“Bro. Skip meant the world to Chaminade’s Chatsworth community,” says Middle School Principal, Mike Valentine, “To the students he was the official greeter,  the one who woke them up and started their day with an encouraging word and a smile. To the faculty and staff he was a true inspiration, mentor, and  confidant. I can’t think of a single adult on campus from the faculty, to the physical plant crew, to the support staff who didn’t have a special relationship with Bro. Skip.”

A native Angeleno, Bro. Skip was raised in Manhattan Beach. He attended grade school at American Martyrs, and later Junipero Serra High School in Gardena. He professed his first vows in 1959, in Santa Cruz. He studied with the Brothers of St. John of God at their Los Angeles hospital, and learned the fundamentals of nursing and caring for the elderly. In 1962, he made perpetual profession in the Society of Mary.

In his early ministry, Bro. Skip served in health care and directed the Marianist Infirmary in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ten years later, he became a paramedic at a remote facility in Zambia. He served there for 18 years, and also assisted with work at Matero Boys Secondary School, a Marianist school in Lusaka.

Chaminade President Rob Webb reflects, “Bro. Skip traveled the world, taking the charism of Fr. Chaminade with him. He lived a very full life bringing some of the most disenfranchised, disconnected people closer to God. He cherished his time at Chaminade as much as his time anywhere else. We are all blessed to have known him.”

In addition to his ministry at Chaminade, Bro. Skip volunteered at hospice and the Good Shepherd Shelter, a safe house for battered women and children. He also visited Skid Row twice a week to help the homeless and spend time with them. For more than 20 years, from December 1 to 24, Bro. Skip set up a table and offered to write cards to family members and friends of people living on Skid Row. This year, Bro. Skip could not do his usual work, but over the summer he collected clothes for to the Good Shepherd Shelter and cards for the Los Angeles Catholic Worker. The items were recently donated to both organizations by the Marianist Community.

Bro. Skip was honored in 2013 at the Annual Brothers Mass and Banquet with the Annual Brotherhood Award. Archbishop Jose Gomez and Bro. Larry Moen, C.M.F., presented him with the award, “Honoring Bro. Skip’s religious commitment to the service of the Lord as a Marianist Religious Brother and his faithful ministry in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles through education and outreach to the poor and the homeless.”

8 thoughts on “Bro. Skip Matthews dies at 77: the face of Christ for others, especially for those in need

  1. Brother Skip was a positive influence in my life. HIs love for the homeless was inspiring . I never saw him without a smile on his face. I am pleased to be considered by him as one of his friends.

  2. You couldn’t have met a better person with as big a heart as his. Brother Skip made it a point to say hello to everyone. He will be missed greatly.

  3. I first met Bro. Skip at my 1st LIFE program in 2010 in Mission Springs. In subsequent LIFE, I always looked forward to his warmth and love. Gruff as he may sound, he had a genuine and gentle heart who exemplified all that is Marianist. I cherish his post-LIFE mail. Rest in peace and love my friend. A hui hou, Art Fillazar, St Anthony Parish of Wailuku, Maui, Hawai’i.

  4. Pingback: Memorial Services for Bro. Skip Matthews | CHAMINADE NEWS

  5. Dear Skip, how we the Hughes / O’Neill families will miss you.
    You travelled the world and touched many a heart with your genuine caring spirit t. You are finally home the arms of our Heavenly Father.
    Easy goes it.
    Hughes/O’Neill clan Northern Ireland

  6. Skip was the person who met my mum,dad and older sister, a babe in arms, off the plane when they landed in Lusaka, Zambia as volunteers in 1972. From that point on he was a part of our family, Godfather to two of my brothers and the man we would always refer to as our second dad. He was the epitome of goodness and with a heart of gold, to him all things were possible because of Christ who strengthened him. If there’s one thing we can learn from Skip’s life is how to be a true soldier of God and the one and only important thing that we should all live by is love…love of God, of self and love of others.

    I’m so glad we got to spend Joe’s special day with you last year Skip and I will forever hold in my heart that loving face of yours as we said goodbye at Heathrow airport. Love you dearly Skippo. Until we meet again xx

  7. Bro Skip was the oldest of us cousins on the Kennedy side. He was a true example and inspiration on how one should live their lives . He encouraged us to be generous with our hearts , thoughts and actions. I will truely miss him and so will our entire family God Bless

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