Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ (28 July 1844 - 8 June 1889) was an English Jesuit priest and poet. During his life, he was seldom known as a poet, since he never published his poetry. However, a posthumous volume of his poems, edited by fellow poet Robert Bridges, was published in 1918, and thus Fr Hopkins became recognised as one of the leading Victorian poets.
Fr. Hopkins was born on 28 July 1844, in a prosperous and artistic High Church Anglican family. He studied in Highgate School, where he won the poetry prize for The Escorial. He also won a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Classics and became friends with Robert Bridges. During his education, Hopkins was drawn into a religious conflict between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. While studying in Oxford, he developed doubts about the Church of England and consulted John Henry Newman, a famous Catholic convert. Under Newman's guidance, Hopkins converted to Catholicism on October 21, 1866. Two years later, he discerned a vocation in the religious life with the Society of Jesus. To mark this occasion, he burned all his poems before entering the Jesuit novitiate. However, he returned to writing poetry during his study and was ordained in 1877. Fr. Hopkins carried on his duties teaching and preaching in London, Oxford, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Stonyhurst. In 1884, Fr. Hopkins became a professor of Greek and Latin Literature at the Catholic University College in Dublin. Sadly, his life was cut short; he contracted typhoid fever and died on June 8, 1889.