Barbara Collier


When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that,

in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

—Kahlil Gibran


The Martin's community is deeply saddened by the unexpected death of our


Barbara Collier

March 31, 1946 - September 13, 2009

Barbara Collier reached her life long dream of dying and leapt into eternity while in her sleep on September 13, 2009.  Born March 31st 1946 in Malden, Massachusetts, Barbara spent her youth in New York City, Los Angeles and for the past 45 years, in San Francisco, California.

An exceptional human being, she believed with all her heart in the simplicity and spirituality of service.  Barbara lived out her faith daily as an inspirational leader of Martin de Porres House of Hospitality for well over 30 years.  Barbara made sure that everyone, no matter how humble or exalted their circumstance, was treated with respect and dignity at the soup kitchen.  In 1987, Barbara hosted Mother Theresa at Martin’s. In April of 2009, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Martin de Porres House of Hospitality: Barbara’s connection with the Dalai Lama was instantaneous and joyous. There is no language barrier to love.

Barbara was intensely curious about death. Her fascination with life’s inevitable final passage gave many people hope and reassurance in the darkest of times. Barbara worked with the terminally ill and helped hundreds of people transition into the next phase with grace and compassion.

Boodie, as she was affectionately called by close family and friends,  had a zest for life that was infectious.  Her enormous laugh filled every room she was in. Barbara had a huge passion for the color purple, the ocean, the desert, dark chocolate, movies, colored pencils, Diet Pepsi, traveling, Hawaii and her many cherished girlfriends.  Barbara was a very creative visual artist and her art was an important daily ritual for her.  She delighted in simple things like trees and the birds in the backyard.  Deeply conversant in metaphysics, Barbara recognized the divine spark in everything around her.

Barbara leaves behind two beautiful daughters, Ramona Sky Collier and Camila Renee Martin, and her partner and soul mate, Charles Engelstein.  Her enduring legacy includes her beloved Martin’s community, her mother’s group, and  a wide circle of loyal friends who became her extended family.  Barbara was the pillar of many tribes.

Barbara gave so much to those she leaves behind - comfort, guidance, friendship, and her lasting wisdom. As she often said “The only reason why I make sense is that I am totally crazy”

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in  Barbara’s memory to  Martin De Porres House of  Hospitality, 225 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, California 94103

Martin's is named for St. Martin de Porres (1579-1639) of Lima, Peru who is the patron saint of social justice, the sick, the poor, and all the animals.   With his gentle spirit he fed or nursed anyone, or anything, in need.   St. Martin is remembered for his ecstatic prayerfulness, extreme penitence, and profound humility.