Brother Benet was born James Conroy in 1943 in Ashington, Northumberland. He had a traditional Catholic upbringing. In 1961 he went to the Novitiate house of the La Salle Brothers at Dogmersfield, Hampshire, where he spent four years in religious training and studying for an honours degree in English. In 1965 he began his teaching career at St. Josephs College, Ipswich, where he remained for thirteen years. From 1978 to 1983 Brother Benet was Deputy Headmaster and then Headmaster of St. John’s College, Southsea, followed by a period as Brother Provincial or Auxiliary from 1984 to 1996.
After a year’s sabbatical, Brother Benet came to St. Cassian’s as the Director of the retreat centre for six years (1997 – 2003), and it is in memory of his time here that a room is named after him.
They were happy and fulfilling years for him, and all who visited the centre were able to benefit from his leadership and inspiration.
He brought the centre’s programme into the computer age; he used his artistic skills to decorate many of the rooms in the centre and he began the development of what now it is called The Old Stables by refurbishing the Damian Lundy Room.
After a year in Oxford, he joined the Brothers’ community in Bristol, where they spent one day each week in each of the catholic secondary schools in and around the city. However, in 2007 Brother Benet was diagnosed with cancer; he moved to the Brother retirement house at Clayton Court, near Liss in Hampshire, where he died on 19th April 2009, two days after his 66th birthday.