Born on January 3, 1936, one of five kids, Robert R. Brett knew from an early age what the wanted to be. As his sister Rosemary Rouse noted, “He always wanted to be a priest. He was always there for everyone.”
He attended Saint Edmond’s and Saint Gabriel’s grade schools and then attended a preparatory seminary for high school. Brett entered the Marist novitiate at Our Lady of the Elms on Staten Island and made his profession of vows on September 8, 1956. Studying at Catholic University, he received a BA in philosophy in 1958 and a Master’s Degree in Latin in 1963. He was ordained a priest of the Society of Mary in 1962 by Bishop Thomas Wade at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.