Brian was born in Dublin, educated by the Christian Brothers, and joined the Jesuits at the ripe old age of sixteen. Why the Jesuits? Because he did not know what work he was capable of, and felt that since Jesuits do all sorts of things, they might find a place for him somewhere.
Jesuit formation brought him an expansion of horizons in many ways, and fostered whatever talent he had. He fell in love with theology and Ignatian spirituality, and the desire grew in him to share what he had learnt with people who had not had his chances. He feels he has lived a full and happy life, and this was helped by being assigned to work in both these areas. Through lectures, workshops, individual guidance and writing he has had the joy of helping people catch on to God’s vision for them. He relies on Pope Francis’ assertion ‘When everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.’ This, he believes, enables us to blossom and live to the full, no matter what mistakes we make.
Dramatic moments in his life thus far include the experience of living in Somalia in 1981. The utter poverty all around made him decide never again to complain about poor conditions and limited prospects. By and large he has been faithful to that decision except when someone takes out the house car without signing for it! Another moment was when an employee burnt down the house he was living in. He lost everything, and wandered around in a daze for some months wondering was it worthwhile to start up again from scratch. Supportive companionship, both lay and Jesuit and lay, female and male, brought him through.
The scandals of the Church have taught him to be less dependent on the Church as institution, while the decline in vocations is teaching him not to find his meaning of his life in Jesuit works, but in God alone. He has assisted at the death of many cherished things over the years, but is easier about that now. The struggle for justice both in the world and the Church, engage his energy, but deepest down he hopes, works and prays for the salvation of all humankind. This, he believes is the ultimate motivation for getting up the morning!
He has worked in administration throughout his life, and is a former President of Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Dublin, and Associate Professor of Spirituality. His publications include Our Graced Life-stories; A Spirituality of Ageing, and Where to from Here? – The Christian Vision of Life after Death. He co-authored Meetings Matter: Spirituality and Skills for Meetings. He was for a number of years the Director and Editor of Sacred Space, a world-wide online prayer site of the Irish Jesuits. He is currently Superior of the Jesuit Community in Leeson St, Dublin, and is writing a book on Christian decision making.