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John Joseph Barker, S.J. was born in Winnipeg on November 10, 1904, and entered the Society of Jesus in July of 1922 at the St. Stanislaus Novitiate in Guelph, Ontario. He proceeded to complete training between Guelph and Washington, followed by three years of teaching at the residential school in Spanish, Ontario. Barker was ordained in June of 1935 at Loyola College in Montreal, and proceeded to study Ojibway at the Holy Cross Mission in Wikwemikong, Ontario.
For the next twenty years, Father Barker was stationed at various posts around Northern Ontario, particularly at Spanish and along the north shore of Lake Huron but also including assignments at West Bay, Manitoulin Island, Cape Croker, Holy Cross Mission, and Garden River. As time progressed, poor health prevented Father Barker from his ministries; he spent the last fourteen years of service as hospital chaplain at the Sault Ste. Marie General Hospital, where he learned Italian in order to communicate with a broader reach of patients. He died of a heart attack in 1977.