The late Dean Brackley was born in upstate New York in 1946. He entered the Jesuit order in 1964 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1976. He received his doctorate in theological ethics at the University of Chicago in 1980.
In the '70s and '80s, Brackley worked in social ministry and popular education on Manhattan's Lower East Side and in the South Bronx. He taught at Fordham University for two years before joining the staff of the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in El Salvador in 1990. He taught theology and ethics in El Salvador from 1990 through 2011. He also administered the university's School for Religious Education and collaborated with other schools for pastoral formation sponsored by the UCA.
Brackley was a beloved pastor for the urban community of San Salvador.