Caruana, Joseph (24.8.1836-29.10.1913)

Jesuit missionary

Caruana was born in Victoria. In 1845 he was sent to St Paul's College, then run by the English Jesuits, at Mdina and later to Rome to study for the priesthood. He was ordained at the early age of 22 by special permission of Pope Pius IX. In 1860 he joined the Society of Jesus and, at his own request, was sent to the Indian mission of the Roxky Mountains.

By 1863 Caruana was alread working among the Coeur d'Alene tribe on the site of the future sitethe future city of Spokane. He spent the rest of his life working for his beloved Indians. It was written of him: 'For years Father Caruana was the "trouble-shooter" of the mission. He rebuilt burnt missions; filled posts left vacant by death; turned initial failures into success; went anywhere and everywhere at a moment's notice.' (Jesuit Seminary News, April 1935, p.2).

On 19 October 1913 he was the central figure of an impressive celebration marking the golden jubilee of his missionary activities. Eight days later, to the great sorrow of all, he suffered a heart attack and died two days later.

Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri

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