Robert Joseph Bernabei was born to Ralph Bernabei and Tillie Bernabei Ranellone on July 5 1928. He joined an older brother, Raymond.
After his primary and secondary education, Robert attended Manhattan College where he received his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering in 1950. He then entered the De La Salle Christian Brothers Novitiate in Barrytown later that same year. He gained his religious name, Br. Austin of Mary when he received his religious habit on September 7, 1950. He received an M. S. degree from The Catholic University in Washington DC in 1953, and then received his Ph. D. from NYU in Nuclear Physics in 1964. Br. Austin completed postdoctoral medical studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City in 1981.
Br. Austin's research carried him to the Brookhaven National Labratory on Long Island for some time.
Br. Austin had an extensive career in the US as well as internationally. He was a teacher at St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, RI from 1953-1956. From 1956 to 1987, he worked as a physics professor at Manhattan College. He then spent two years in Palestine teaching at Bethlehem University. After two years in Palestine, he returned to Manhattan College, only to go abroad again in 1991. This time, Br. Austin travelled to Nairobi and Rongai, Kenya where he was on the staff at the De La Salle Novitiate and was a teacher at the Rongai Agricultural and Technical School. After four years in Africa, he returned for a brief period to the Christian Brothers Community at Manhattan. He departed soon after to return to Rongai for two more years until 1998, when he travelled to teach at St. Martin's Secondary school in St. Vincent, West Indies. He taught at Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas upon his return to the states in 1999. He left Texas in 2001 to be a professor at La Salle College in Ansfrere, South Africa, where he stayed until 2004. He returned to his position at Manhattan College for only a year before going back to El Paso, and then returning to the Manhattan College Community to commence his retirement in 2007. Br. Austin spent his final years (2011-2013) at De La Salle Hall in Lincroft, NJ.
Br. Austin passed away on February 2, 2013. He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, NY in his family plot