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He was born at Herefordshire. He was educated at Stonyhurst, and became a member of the Society of Jesus. His uncle was also a Jesuit, Richard Vaughan SJ, who went on design Sacred Heart Church in Edinburgh.
For 18 years he took a conspicuous part in the religious and civic life of Manchester, particularly as priest at the Holy Name Church, Manchester. In 1901 went to London, where he worked among the poor of Westminster and in the East End. His sermons on "The Sins of Society" in 1906 attracted large audiences. He preached at Montreal in 1910, traveled in Canada, the United States, and Alaska, and lectured in China, Japan, Italy, and France.