Born in Minnesota, Berrigan was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1952. He became famous as a peace activist during the Vietnam war. With his brother Philip (formerly a Josephite priest), he was one of the "Catonsville Nine" who burned draft files in protest US involvement in Vietnam. The two also helped to form the anti-nuclear weapons group, the Plowshares Movement, in 1980. A major figure in the American religious left, he teaches at Fordham University and is a contributing editor of Sojourners magazine.