|Fr Bernard Vaughan SJ was born 20 September 1847. There is some confusion about his place of birth, whether he was born on Jersey or at his father's house at Courtfield, Herefordshire, but the more probable place is Courtfield.
Vaughan was born into an old recusant family. He was the eleventh of fourteen children, nine boys and 5 girls. All the girls became nuns, and 6 of the boys took Holy Orders. The eldest, Herbert, became Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the second, Roger, became Archbishop of Sydney, the third, was founder of the Abbey at Fort Augustus, the fourth, Kenelm was a secular priest and the youngest, John, was titular bishop of Sebastopol and auxiliary bishop of Salford. Vaughan was educated at Stonyhurst and entered the Novitiate at Roehampton on 7 December 1866, went to St Mary's Hall, Stonyhurst until 1871 and was then Assistant-Prefect of the Lay-philosophers at the College. In 1873 he was sent to Beaumont to teach for four years, then went to St Beuno's for Theology, and was ordained on 20 September 1880, his 33rd birthday. In 1881 he returned to Beaumont as Sub-Minister. He took his last vows as Spiritual Coadjutor on 2 Feb 1884, and his Four Vows on 2 February 1897.
Vaughan became operarius at the Church of the Holy Name, Manchester in 1883 and on 3 May 1893 was made Rector there. He spent time in Rome in 1897, for the benefit of his health, but also preached a course of sermons at the Church of S. Silvestro. In the same year, 1897, he made the first of a series of visits to the French Riviera, where he met and became friendly with the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, who on occasion would listen to him preach. In 1901 Vaughan left Manchester and moved to Farm Street where he stayed for the rest of his life. In 1902 Vaughan was plaintiff in a libel action taken against a newspaper named The Rock, in which he was awarded £300 damages with expenses of a further £300, resulting in the The Rock closing down. In 1904 he organised a concert at the Albert Hall to raise funds for the relief of the poor in the East End. Throughout Vaughan's time in London he was involved with parishes in the East End, working particularly alongside Canon T. J. Ring in the Parish of St Mary and St Michael, Commercial Road. After Vaughan's death there was a proposal for a secondary school to be established in the East End as a memorial to him.
Bernard Vaughan was a renowned preacher. He was always theatrical; his acting skills had been prominent when he was a schoolboy, and were put to good use in the pulpit. His sermons drew large crowds, first in Manchester and then in London, and he became very well known, with reports of his movements and sermons appearing in the press. He preached series of lectures, especially against the 'Smart Set' in London, which were published as 'The Sins of Society', and for which he became known as 'The Modern Savonarola'. He also preached on 'St Joan of Arc', and against birth control, and versions of these sermons, and many more, were published. Vaughan went on preaching tours, including to Canada and America in 1910 and America, Japan and China in 1911-1913. In 1921 Vaughan left for South Africa for his health rather than to preach, but his health worsened and he returned to England in July 1922 and died at Manresa House, Roehampton, on 31 October 1922.
A full obituary can be found in L&N 38, 1923, pp 120-164.