Brian O’Leary hails from Wexford. After secondary schooling at Crescent College in Limerick he entered the Jesuits in 1954 and was ordained in 1969. He was then missioned to study spirituality at the Gregorian University in Rome. For his doctorate he researched the Memoriale or spiritual journal of St. Pierre Favre, the first companion of St. Ignatius. This work completed, he joined the staff at Manresa House, a Centre of Ignatian Spirituality then enjoying a period of creativity and growth.
Brian made his Tertianship in Guelph, Canada, under the guidance of John English, a major figure in the renewal of the Spiritual Exercises throughout the Anglophone world. Some time after this he spent a two-year period in Zambia, lecturing at St. Dominic’s Major Seminary in Lusaka and as well as giving retreats and workshops. From 1991-2006 he was involved fulltime at the Milltown Institute. He lectured on the history of spirituality, religious life, Ignatian spirituality, and spiritual direction (in which he also ran a practicum).
Brian currently continues to work both on the academic and experiential levels of Ignatian spirituality. This sometimes brings him to other countries in response to invitations to share his expertise. Kompass, an ecumenical Ignatian network in Sweden, has him as their Senior Advisor. His major book from this period is Sent into the Lord’s Vineyard: Explorations in the Jesuit Constitutions. Brian continues his interest in St. Pierre Favre and, like him, is drawn to matters ecumenical.