2007 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree

Mairead M. Barrett, OSU

Mairead M. Barrett, OSU

Founder and board member
New Ground

Acting on a personal desire to help others is one thing — it’s quite another, however, when one manages to integrate this calling into one’s work — and with phenomenal success. This is the case with Mairead M. Barrett.

Born in Ireland, Barrett immigrated to the U.S. in 1967 to join the Ursuline Congregation of Tildonk, an international religious order devoted to education and care for children and adults.

She attended St. John’s University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Barrett also obtained a master’s degree in Theology from the Maryknoll School of Theology’s Institute for Peace and Justice. She then went on to receive a post-graduate certificate in Family Studies from the Long Island Institute of Psychodynamic Training.

In 1986, Barrett and four other women formed a partnership with the Interfaith Nutrition Network (The INN) to open the Angela Merici Inn, an emergency shelter for women and children. Living in the shelter had such an impact on Barrett that she soon after created the first educational advocacy program on Long Island.

In 1991, Sister Mairead Barrett formed New Ground, Inc., a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of families caught in the vicious cycle of homelessness. Whether facilitating parenting classes or demonstrating how to balance a checkbook, Barrett has personally helped hundreds of individuals to successfully transition to their own homes. Today, Barrett remains with New Ground as a board member.

Sister Mairead Barrett has received numerous awards and honors for her commitment to the homeless. For outstanding service in education, she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award. Barrett also received the Women of Distinction Award for her unparalleled contributions to society on Long Island.

Barrett is often described as a woman willing to take risks to help those in need — she’s determined to decrease the rate of recidivism within the homeless community. Every day she does something about it. Currently she is in ministry of Service in Leadership for her Ursuline Religious Community—USA Province.