“The Hermit Of Cat Island” on-line
Peter Ansons’s brilliant study of Fr John Cyril Hawes (1876–1956), “The Hermit Of Cat Island” [P.J.Kenedy & Sons, 1957], is now available on-line.
“(John Cyril) Hawes was born in Richmond, Surrey to Edward, a solicitor, and Amelia Hawes. He attended school in Brighton and Canterbury. After leaving school he began training as an architect in London in 1893 with architects Edmeston and Gabriel. He also received formal architectural education at the Architectural Association School as well as the Central School of Arts and Craft.
In 1897 he began practicing as an architect, designing houses at Bognor. After winning a design competition, Hawes was commissioned to build his first church in Gunnerton in 1899.
After studying at Lincoln Theological College he was ordained as a Church of England priest in 1903. After stints at Clerkenwell and Caldy Island he was posted to a mission in The Bahamas. In 1910 he designed St Paul’s Church in Clarence Town on Long Island.
In 1911 he left The Bahamas for the United States where he converted to Roman Catholicism. After leading a nomadic existence in Canada and the United States for several years, including working as a labourer and as a railway teamster, he began studying for the priesthood in Rome. He was ordained a Catholic priest in Rome on 27 February 1915, after which he was sent to Geraldton, Western Australia where he worked as a priest, architect and builder.
In May 1939, Hawes sailed from Fremantle, returning to The Bahamas, officially on a pilgrimage. He designed and built the Mount Alvernia Hermitage on Como Hill at Cat Island which became his home.
Along with the hermitage, he also designed and built five churches on the island as well as a second church at Clarence Town, St Peter’s.
He died on 26 June 1956 in Miami, Florida, aged 79 and at his own request was buried in a cave located beneath the hermitage at Cat Island”
Digitalized version at: https://archive.org/details/hermitofcatislan000028mbp
Full text at: http://www.archive.org/stream/hermitofcatislan000028mbp/hermitofcatislan000028mbp_djvu.txt