Bernard Lonergan was born on 17 December 1904 in Buckingham, Quebec, Canada.
In 1922, after four years at Loyola College, Montreal, he entered the Society of Jesus in Guelph, Ontario.
From 1926 to 1930 he studied philosophy, languages, and mathematics at Heythrop College and the University of London, England.
He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest in 1936. His four years of theological studies as required by the Jesuits were done at the Gregorian University, Rome, from 1933 to 1937. He added two years of doctoral studies in theology and obtained his S.T.D. from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1940 – the awarding postponed due to World War II – for a dissertation, advised by Charles Boyer, S.J., and later published as Grace and Freedom: Operative Grace in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
He began teaching theology at Collège de l’Immaculée Conception in Montreal in 1940. He taught at the Jesuit Seminary in Toronto from 1947 to 1953, and then at the Gregorian University from 1953 to 1965. His first great book—rounded off in preparation for departure to Rome – Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, was published in 1957.
From 1965 to 1975 he was Professor of Theology at Regis College, Toronto, and in 1972 published the long-awaited Method in Theology. He was the Stillman Professor at Harvard University in 1971-1972, and in 1975 became Distinguished Visiting Professor of Theology at Boston College.
In later life while teaching at Boston College, Lonergan returned to the economic interests of his younger days. The University of Toronto Press has published his two works on economics: For a New Political Economy and Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis.
He returned to Canada in late 1983 and died at the Jesuit Infirmary, Pickering, on 26 November 1984.
In the course of his long and illustrious academic career, Bernard Lonergan received 19 honorary doctorates and a number of other honours, including being invested as Companion of the Order of Canada in 1971 and being named Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1975. He was named by Pope Paul VI as one of the original members of the International Theological Commission.