William Case Morris

William Case Morris - Monument in The Británico Cemetary, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaWilliam Case Morris - Monument in The Británico Cemetary, Buenos Aires, Argentina

He sought entry into the South American Missionary Society, hoping that he would be able to continue and improve his work among the waifs and strays of Buenos Aires. The Society accepted him in 1897 and granted him permission to make an appeal for £5,000 with which to begin work. He used this money to found a new school between Guemes Street and Iriate Street in Palermo, it began with 18 pupils and soon had over 2,000 a fact illustrative of his ever-widening influence. This school was the start of what was to eventually become a large organisation known as the "Argentine Philanthropic Schools & Institutes". This great structure contained every possible branch of education for every class of people and every age of pupil. All school needs were provided, and medical examinations and career assistance were available.

In 1899 William started the San Pueblo Church in Charcas Street in the Palermo District. Between 1900 - 1909 William set up three boys' schools, two girls' schools, one primary school, two mixed schools, three night schools and one vocational school and by 1913 his work was recognised as a charity by the Argentinean Government. In 1923 William and his wife Cecilia celebrated their silver wedding anniversary and opened a new music school and started a mothers’ association and an alumni association.

One of his most appreciated accomplishments was the foundation of the 'Hogar el Alba' on 29th May 1925, it housed 350 homeless children and moreover educated them in such practical skills as carpentry for the boys and dress-making for the girls. Among his other institutions were one Church, one Chapel, three Christian Mission Halls and five Sunday Schools, all of which used Spanish translations of the Prayer Book. His funds came from many private subscriptions and various government subsidies, all secured by Morris' devoted efforts. It is no exaggeration to say that thousands of illiterate South Americans were thus converted to Christianity. Yet, while maintaining close contact with the poorer people, he also succeeded in greatly influencing the upper classes by means of his monthly magazine, "La Reforma".
His work was well-known in Britain, too, for in 1925 he received official recognition by being reviewed by the Prince of Wales who was on a state visit to South America. In April 1932, he fell ill through over-work. Everyone, from the humblest labourer to the President of the Republic of Argentina, enquired after his progress. On the 19th May he returned back home to England with his wife. His health improved a little during the Summer months and he was well enough to attend a reception of Missionaries given by the Archbishop of Canterbury in July of that year. He desperately wanted to return to South America where he had dedicated so much of his life, but sadly died on the 15th September 1932 on the eve of his departure. He was buried at the Fordham Road Cemetery in Soham on 17th September 1932 at the ripe old age of 68. After a full life of strenuous self-sacrifice and devotion abroad; in such high repute were his character and services held that cables of regret were sent at his death by Dr Sagarna, Judge of the Supreme Court, and the President of the Republic of Argentina, General Justo.


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