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Br. Austin Stephens

 Date of Death: 11/08/2017
Place: Australia, Adelaide
Province: Australia
Age: 97

John Henry Stephens was born on 20 July 1921 in Hamley Bridge, South Australia, and died today (11 August 2017) at 12:10 pm (Adelaide time) at Flora McDonald Lodge, Adelaide. He died peacefully with his sister Patricia and niece Majella, by his side. He was in his 97th year of life, and 78th year of Marist religious life; he was the oldest Brother in the Australian Province. He never recovered from the stroke he suffered last week.

He entered the Juniorate in January 1937, became a Postulant in 1939, received the Habit on 2 July 1939, took first vows in 1940 and made his final profession in 1946. He was given the name Austin and maintained it throughout his religious life.

Austin was a passionate teacher and educator, initially in Primary but later in secondary. He was a violin student at the SA Conservatorium and had a great love of music which he imparted to students through his involvement in choirs and musicals. He was Principal at Brunswick from 1952-1954, and later at Bendigo, from 1977 to 1982. He was the Melbourne Province Supervisor of Schools from 1971 to 1975. For an extended period, from 1983 to 1996 he worked in the Catholic Education Office in Adelaide where he was much valued and respected. He served on the Boards of a number of schools and other agencies.

Austin was a “lifelong learner”, well before the term became popular! He held degrees in Arts, Education and Educational Administration, and following his retirement from the CEO he completed a Bachelor and then a Masters of Theology – the latter was awarded in 2009.

There is no doubt that his long Religious Life was sustained by a deep spirituality and prayerfulness.