Br Ambrose, as he was known, has been an outstanding figure not only for the Christian Brothers, but also in the Catholic Church in Australia and indeed in Australia as a whole.
He is notable for his dedication and selflessness, and his belief that everything he experienced was from the hands of a provident God. From an incident early in his life he had an outstanding devotion to Mary the Mother of God.
Ambrose arrived penniless in Australia with three other Christian Brothers in 1868. In addition to starting a school at St Francis in Melbourne, the Brothers began collecting from the settlers in Victoria and South Australia and from the miners in the gold fields of Queensland and Western Australia to finance their schools. Some of these journeys on horseback to remote areas are the stuff of legend. During 30 years as leader of the Brothers, Ambrose opened more than 20 schools in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth, as well as in several country towns.
Ambrose’s mission efforts in New Zealand and in Oceania are detailed in Br Regis Hickey’s book “Ambrose Treacy: Christian Brother, Enterprising Immigrant”.
Significant to the Treacy story was his aim to nourish faith, extend compassion to those in need and provide educational opportunities for children at a time when Irish Catholics, because of penal laws, were at the bottom of the social ladder.
Ambrose opened his schools to all.
Ambrose died of cancer in 1912 and is buried in the Brothers’ plot in Nudgee Cemetery, Brisbane.
Download a comprehensive account of Ambrose’s work in the Oceanic region.