Born near Beauly, Inverness-shire, on 14 June 1917, he was brought up Free Presbyterian. He attended school in Beauly and then the Inverness Royal Academy, winning an award to Edinburgh University where he edited his first book at the age of twenty-two. There he also followed Fr Ian Hislop OP into the Catholic Church and was cut off financially by his family. He entered the order at Woodchester in 1939, made his profession on 19 October 1940, and was ordained priest on 29 September 1945.

After obtaining his lectorate he returned to Edinburgh in 1947 to begin postgraduate studies on the Order in Scotland after the Reformation. However in 1950 he was assigned to teach at Hawkesyard. He was elected prior of Woodchester a year later and then in 1954 went to Laxton where he was a popular teacher in the school. He then returned to Edinburgh in 1959 and henceforth either from there or Glasgow exerted wide influence throughout Scotland by his various activities. He was the founder of The Innes Review and of the Scottish Catholic Historical Association and vice-chairman of the Parole Board for Scotland. In 1979 he was elected Rector of the university.

In 1982 he was elected provincial but six months later suffered a stroke. He bore its consequent limitations on his activities with patience and had for to learn once more to speak and to write. In 1988 he published an autobiography. He died peacefully in Blairgowrie, near Perth, where he had been tenderly cared for by friends, on 24 May 1993, aged 78 with 52 years of profession and 47 of priesthood.