Eugene John Hebert

Father Eugene John Hebert was an American born Jesuit missionary in Sri Lanka. He along with his Tamil driver Betram Francis disappeared on August 15, 1990 as part on the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war. He went missing on his way to the eastern city of Batticlao from a nearby town of Valachchenai. He was known for his Human Rights activity on behalf of the local civilians. The Jesuits believe that he was killed along with his driver.


Eugene John Hebert, S.J. was born in Jennings, Louisiana, USA, on October 9, 1923. He joined the Jesuits on August 14, 1941 at the age of 18. After completion of Jesuit studies, he volunteered for the Ceylon Mission. He was accepted and arrived that September 1948. After serving a year in the eastern township of Batticaloa and another in Trincomalee at the Jesuit Colleges he went to Poona India for the study of Theology. He was ordained priest on the 24 March 1954. After returning to Ceylon in April 1956. he was assigned to St Joseph’s college in Trincomalee as a teacher and sports coach. He was named principal there for a brief period. In 1970s Jesuit schools were taken over by the State and Fr. Herbert sent to Batticaloa to work at the Eastern Technical Institute, the joint Jesuit and Methodist technical institute as its director. He was also the basketball coach at St Michael’s College in Batticalao, where he achieved national championship status over several years.

He was prominent member of the Batticaloa Peace Committee that has interceded on behalf of the many disappeared and missing people as part of the Sri Lankan civil war.