The Most Reverend Roger William Bede Vaughan, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and author, was born in Ross, Herefordshire, England in 1834 to a prominent and wealthy family with a tradition of leadership in the Catholic Church. Vaughan began his illustrious career in 1853, when he was accepted in to the Benedictine Order and took the name Brother Bede. In 1855 his father sent him to Rome to further his studies and four years later in 1859 he was ordained a priest. In 1861 he took the position of Professor of Philosophy at Belmont near Hereford and served as Cathedral Prior from 1862-1873. It was during this time that he wrote The Life and Labours of St. Thomas of Aquinus in two volumes.
Although reluctant and somewhat unhappy with his position at Belmont, Vaughan accepted an appointment as Coadjutor-Archbishop of Sydney in 1873. Once in his position in Sydney, Vaughan found that his ideas on running the Church clashed with those of Archbishop Polding's and promptly set out to make changes. It was only in 1877 upon Polding's death that Vaughan succeeded as Archbishop of Sydney.
During his time as Archbishop, Vaughan defended Catholic rights and created an education system which was strengthened by sound financial administration and good religious teachers so that between 1873-83 the number of schools and pupils in Sydney more than doubled.
Vaughan's relentless work eventually became a physical strain, which saw his health rapidly deteriorate, and whilst stopping at Liverpool, England, on his way to recruit teachers in Rome in 1883, he died suddenly in his sleep. He was buried at Belmont but was later re-interred in the crypt of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney in 1946.