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Sylvan Mattingly, C.F.X., (May 28, 1882 – December 30, 1951) was a Catholic Brother who served as a teacher in the United States. In an effort to support the labors of missionaries working to spread the Catholic faith in underdeveloped countries, he founded what grew to be the largest Catholic rosary-making organization in the United States.[1]


Joseph Augustine Mattingly was born in Leitchfield, Kentucky, the son of James Thomas Mattingly and Mary Eliza Edelen,[2] a family descended from Catholic colonists from England who settled in Maryland in the 17th century. His older brother, Michael Alphonsus Mattingly entered the Xaverian Brothers, a religious congregation dedicated to teaching, where he became known as Brother Alexander (1880–1955). Michael entered the same congregation about the year 1900, being given the religious name of Brother Sylvan.[3] At the end of his life, he taught at St. Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.[1]

Brother Sylvan was inspired by the message of Our Lady of Fatima to spread the use of the rosary in prayer. Mattingly had a gift for making rosaries, and would teach others, using wire, beads, and a pair of pliers. In 1949, he made a trip to Denver, Colorado, in order to teach a group of people to make rosaries.[4] Upon his return, with $25 donated by an elderly couple for a typewriter, he formed "Our Lady of Fatima Rosary Making Club" in the basement of St. Xavier High School. That organization later grew to be Our Lady's Rosary Makers, which has 14,000 active members in the United States and has distributed hundreds of millions of free rosaries worldwide.[5]

According to Michael Ford, general manager of Our Lady's Rosary Makers, Brother Sylvan's purpose was "to promote the rosary and the making of rosaries so that they could be provided free to missionaries serving around the world".[6]

Mattingly died in his sleep on December 30, 1951,[1] and was buried in the Brother's plot in St. Louis Cemetery in Louisville, where his brother was later buried alongside him.[2]

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