Great Jesuit Missionary who was Poisoned by Convert's Wife
After an exciting and heroic life of missionary adventure, recalling the most glorious pages of Christian missionary history, Fr. Cuthbert Cary-Elwes, S.J., has died in Glasgow at the age of 78.
Nephew of Fr. Augustus Law, S.J., pioneer of the Zambesi mission, who died after indescribable sufferings on their first trek, Ft. Cary-Elwes himself pioneered -the mission to the Red Indians of the Tahiti' and Rupunnuni Rivers in South America. During the fourteen years of his work on this mission, which he established, even erecting the necessary buildings himself. and learning the language of the people. he travelled for thousands of miles on foot, by canoe and op horseback. About May. 1923, however, he unfortunately became demented, his condition attributed to an attempt made to poison him by the second wife of an Indian whom he had converted.
Fr. Cary-Elwes came of a wellknown and distinguished Catholic family, being a cousin of the late Bishop Cary-Elwes, a former Bishop of Northampton, a cousin of the famous tenor, Gervase Elwes and of Lady Winefride Elwes. He has a brother, Dom Alastair Cary-Elwes, O.S.B., a monk of Fort Augustus, and a nephew, Dom Evelyn Columba Cary-Elwes, a monk of Ampleforth.
Educated for two-and-a-half years at Downside and six at Stonyhurst, he began his noviceship in the Society of Jcsus in 1887.
It was in 1904 that he sailed for British Guiana, was stationed at the Cathedral, Georgetown, from 1904-6 and at Morawhanna from 1906-9. That year he left Georgetown with Bishop Galton, Si., to start a new mission among the Macussi Indians on the Takutu River. It was pioneer work among a primitive and nomadic people and be threw into the work all his amazing energy. He was soon joined by two Sisters of Mercy from Georgetown. who devoted themselves to teaching in the school, and later by another Jesuit priest and two more Sisters of Mercy, and considerable success attended their efforts from the very beginning.
During the fourteen years of his work on the mission, he laboured in defatigably and travelled many thousands of miles by launch and canoe, on foot and on horseback, and placed the mission on a very firm footing. By his continued personal and daily contact with the natives, he gathered an immense knowledge of their history, habits and customs, and in the course of his travels made not a few valuable geographical discoveries Himself a competent photographer, be was able to keep a valuable photographic record of his navels, and for several years before his death he was engaged in preparing for the press a book embodying his experiences. travels and discoveries during his years of missionary activity.
When the attempt was made on his life he was taken to hospital in Georgetown and later to Berbice. 'After a time he began to recover and was able to sail for England, reaching home in perfect health in August of the same year. But he was never able to return to the mission to which he was so deeply attached to the very day of his death.
After a sheet rest he was able to undertake supply work at Great Billings, North Hants He subsequently served in Richmond. Yorkshire, and at Boscombe. For the last four years or his life his failing health compelled him to 'lead a more retired way of life, but he was always eager to give retreats, talks and lantern lectures in convents and colleges. He was a talented musician and the author of a play Becky, designed for production in convents, colleges and schools.
Solemn Requiem Mass was sung in St. Aloysius' Church, Glasgow, Last Friday for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace 1