Father Thomas J. Carey, MM

Born: March 25, 1910
Ordained: June 16, 1937
Died: March 1, 1945

Father Thomas J. Carey, a missioner both in Korea and in South America, was born in Newark, N.J. March 25, 1910. He studied two years at Seton Hall College before his entrance into Maryknoll in 1930. He was ordained in 1937 on June 16th, and departed for Korea in July.

Unusual circumstances made it necessary for Fr. Carey to shorten his language studies to six months. After this brief training he was assigned to assist Father James Ray in the thriving mission at Niken. The parish was large and visitations to the mission stations were difficult. Soon Fr. Carey became known among the people as ‘Big Spiritual Father’, because of the missionary work that kept him on the roads and in the mountains of the district.

In the Fall of 1938 he was appointed pastor of the mission at Un Yang Si where he opened a school for poor children. He carried on the successful dispensary work begun by Father Stephen Hannon, until the outbreak of the war in 1941. At this time Father Carey was interned by the Japanese. He was repatriated six months later, returning to the United States on the Gripsholm in 1942.

With the opening of Maryknoll’s work in South America in 1943, Father Carey was among the group assigned to the region of Puno, Peru. He devoted himself to the new language and was soon appointed pastor of Cuyocuyo, a parish high in the Andes. Here he labored zealously among the Indians in his care.

Father’s mission work came to a close suddenly and tragically in 1945. He was traveling with Fr. Joseph Donnelly to Puno for the annual retreat when the truck in which they were riding overturned. Fr. Donnelly was able to jump clear but Fr. Carey was unable to do so. Fr. Donnelly administered conditional absolution. The body was brought to Puno for the Solemn Funeral Mass and burial on March 5, 1945.