Some background re Brother John Gaven

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By a Broken Rites researcher

  • Article updated 13 May 2013

John Francis Gaven, CM, is a Brother in the Catholic order of Vincentian priests and brothers (this order is also known as the Congregation of the Mission). According to the 2011 edition of the annual Australian Catholic Directory, there are about three dozen Vincentian priests in Australia (plus three Vincentian brothers, one of whom is Brother John Gaven).

According to the 2011 Catholic Directory, the Vincentians' Australian head office is in Marsfield, Sydney. In 2011 a number of Vincentians (including Brother John Gaven) were living in Vincentian accommodation in Marsfield. In 2011, other Vincentians were listed as being located in:

  • St Stanislaus College, Bathurst, NSW;
  • St Vincent de Paul Parish, Ashfield, Sydney;
  • St Joseph's parish, Malvern, Melbourne;
  • Rockhampton cathedral, Queensland;
  • a couple of other Australian parishes; and
  • Fiji.

In April 2008 a website of the "Vincentian Family in Australia" (FAMVIN) stated: "Br John Gaven joined the Vincentian Brothers and Priests in 1959 at the age of 18. As a teenager, he was attracted to the Congregation of the Mission by the life and dedication of the Vincentian priests in his parish of Southport on the Gold Coast."

[At that time, Queensland's Southport parish — called the Guardian Angels parish — was staffed by Vincentian priests.]

The Vincentian Family website said that after a brief period in Fiji, John Gaven spent the next thirty or so years working with the Vincentians in Bathurst and Adelaide.

In Bathurst, he was a member of the support staff at St Stanislaus College, with duties including grounds maintenance and being a dormitory supervisor. He eventually became a senior administrator of the school. He was a rugby referee at St Stanislaus and in the NSW central west for many years. At St Stanislaus College, a rugby refereeing award is named in his honour.

St Stanislaus College opened in 1867 and the Vincentians took control in 1889. The school has played a pivotal role educating Catholic farm families of western NSW. In 2008, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, 615 boys were enrolled, including 189 boarders.

By 1992, according to the Vincentian Family website, John Gaven had left St Stanislaus and was ministering to people living with HIV/AIDS, both for the Adelaide Diocesan AIDS Council and in Sydney with VINCARE.

In July 2008 (the month of the World Youth Day celebrations, when Pope Benedict visited Sydney) Brother John Gaven was one of six organisers for a Vincentian Fathers' trip to Bathurst with 300 young pilgrims — mainly from the South Pacific — who spent four nights at St Stanislaus College.

In its article about Brother John Gaven in 2008, the Vincentian Family website stated: "John has always been passionate about youth".