Indian police search for missing Jesuit

Brother Mariadoss Antonimuthu has not been seen in Chennai since Jan. 17

Leo Fernando, Chennai, India

January 27, 2011

Police in Chennai are searching for an elderly Jesuit Brother who has not been seen since Jan. 17.

Brother Mariadoss Antonimuthu, 65, was working with Pathai Illam, a Jesuit-run organization helping the rural poor.

“Brother Antonimuthu was supposed to arrive at the office on January 17. He is still missing,” Jesuit Father Joe Arun, secretary of Jesuit-managed Loyola College in Chennai, told yesterday.

“We are still searching for him,” he said.

Meanwhile, police have launched a statewide search for the Jesuit.

The Brother had been expected back at his office following a three-day charismatic retreat conducted by a fellow Jesuit.

After he didn’t show up on Jan. 17, staff contacted the Jesuits to inquire as to his whereabouts. They also discovered his mobile phone had been switched off.

The Jesuits later lodged a missing person’s report and two police teams are currently searching shrines and ashrams in Tamil Nadu state.

Father Arun said the Jesuits believe the Brother may be suffering from memory loss.

“Till now, he has not communicated with anybody in our community or his relatives,” the priest said.

“We are deeply pained by his disappearance and hope that we will soon find him, the Jesuit priest added.

The missing Jesuit, who wears saffron clothes and has a beard, is known to lead an austere life and was interested in the Catholic charismatic movement.

He had worked in government as an engineer before joining the Jesuits.

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