Conway, John Basil (Fr Ambrose) (1906–86), Cistercian monk, was born 13 March 1906 in Ennis, Co. Clare, one of three children of Jeremiah Francis Conway, a member of the RIC, and Alice Conway (née O'Shea). Conway was educated at Summerhill College, Co. Sligo, before his family moved to Dublin. On finishing school he worked in the civil service having been refused entry into the Jesuits, who felt he was unsuitable for their order. As an avid reader he became interested in the lives of Trappist monks, which led to his entry in 1925 into Mount Saint Joseph Abbey, Roscrea, to study to become a Cistercian monk. He flourished in the Cistercian order and was given the rare honour of being made father master of the brothers of the order even before he became a deacon. Ordained to the priesthood on 13 August 1933, Conway took the religious name of Fr Ambrose, and was devoted to the study and teaching of moral theology throughout his life.
In 1946 Fr Ambrose was chosen as second superior for the new Cistercian foundation at Nunraw, near Edinburgh, which was the first Cistercian monastery to be established in Scotland since the Reformation. It was founded on 29 January 1946 at the invitation of Dr MacDonald, archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, as a daughter house of Mount Saint Joseph Abbey.
In 1960 Fr Ambrose was reluctantly persuaded to participate in Malcolm Muggeridge's television documentary on the Cistercians, ‘A hard bed to lie on’. Deeply impressed by Fr Ambrose's piety and charity, Muggeridge described him as the only living saint he ever met. He died 28 November 1986 in Nunraw.