Archive for October, 2015

These are they which follow the Lamb….

 Women, in their devotion to God’s cause over the world, have never been deterred by any form of heathenism. With cultured intellects, womanly tenderness, and spiritual devotion they have gone into unhealthy climates, suffered privations, isolation, and even death at the hands of those for whom they labored. (Page 167)

This quote is from the book, Eminent Missionary Women written by Annie Ryder em miss wmn bookGracey in 1898. Mrs. Gracey was a missionary herself and thus was well able to present these stories of women who sacrificed so much to take the Gospel to the lost in many lands including India, China, Greece, the South Seas and Mexico.

The women featured in this book all lived during the nineteenth century. In spite of obstacles due to the fact that they were women, they did not let that stop them but answered the call of God in their lives to minister to the lost in the way that Jesus did – healing both physically and spiritually.

Dr. Fanny Butler (Page 132) and others braved the scorn of their contemporaries to get an education with only one thought in mind – to serve their Lord Jesus. Many other women went to some of the harshest places to live and opened schools. All used whatever gifts God gave them to serve.

In this book you will find the biographical sketches of many women. You will be thrilled and maybe a little convicted as you read them. Here are brief summaries of just three of the amazing women whose stories are told.

Melinda RankinMissionary to Mexico  —   (1811 – 1888)

Rankin-Melinda100wMelinda Rankin served for twenty years as an independent missionary in Mexico.

She was a remarkable woman, combining great strength and independence, womanly tenderness and religious devotion, and was a power in any position. Born among the hills of New England, she found her life work in the sunny land of the Aztecs. She never shrank from duty or from danger in all the varied and trying experiences that came to her, and in writing up some of these experiences she says, “I tell them because I hope to prove by actual facts which have occurred in one woman’s life that our divine Master has still work for woman to do in his kingdom on earth.” (Page 58)

The United States and Mexico had been at war in the 1840’s. Protestant missionaries were not allowed in Mexico so Melinda Rankin moved to Brownsville, Texas and opened a school for Mexican girls. There were many Mexicans on the U.S. side of the border. Melinda gave away bibles to Mexican women who carried them into Mexico even though that was illegal. Melinda spent her time getting as many bibles across the border as possible. She cared more for the Word of God than the laws of man.

Eventually Melinda was able to be part of opening one of the first Protestant churches in Mexico. By 1872 the church in Zacatecas had grown to one hundred and seventy-two members. The Mexicans themselves began to oversee the work of the church.

Melinda’s health began to fail around age sixty. She returned home after more than twenty years of faithful service to convalesce. She visited the churches occasionally until her death on December 7, 1888 in her seventy-seventh year.

Mrs. H. C. Mullens“The Apostle of the Zenanas”  —  (1826-1861)

Hannah Catherine Mullens was one of the most successful missionaries in the High_caste_women,_Harkua,_India,_ca._1915_(IMP-CSCNWW33-OS14-37)Zenana mission work in India. This work was named after the “zenanas”, women’s quarters where men were forbidden to enter. It became really important then for female missionaries to go to India – only women could reach these neglected Indian women.

Of all the population in India women have most felt the wrongs and burdens of heathenism. Despised at their birth, subject to chances of infanticide in earliest years, or bartered to some unknown husband, condemned by custom to lifelong imprisonment, ignorance, and ill treatment, neglected in sickness, shut out from the enjoyment of nature, without education, without hope in Christ of a joyful hereafter – such is the condition of women in civilized heathendom. (Page 92)

It seemed an impossible task to overcome so much prejudice against women, but Hannah Catherine Lacroix Mullens was up to the task.

faith and victoryHannah was born in Calcutta, the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. A. Lacroix, missionaries to India. She was bright and intelligent. She spoke the Bengali language fluently. She was later able to write religious works for the native women in their own language.

Hannah prayed for an opening to visit the Indian women in the zenanas. Her chance came one day when an Indian man saw the slippers that Hannah had made. The needlework was intricate and very beautiful. He told her that he would like his wife taught how to do the needlework. Hannah leaped at this chance and soon began to visit women in the zenanas to teach them needlework and to talk about Jesus.

Many other opportunities came and eventually Hannah was able to visit in many Indian homes taking the good news of the Gospel with her. Soon the word got out and women began to come to hear Hannah and her missionary mother, Mrs. Lacroix speak the “new words”. At one time she had charge over many zenanas and some small girls schools that educated over eighty women and seventy girls.

Hannah toiled on with her work among the women of India for many years. She went home to England in 1858 to speak about the work in India. When she returned to Calcutta she found that public opinion about education for women had begun to change.

In 1861 while working on a book for women, Hannah was suddenly taken ill and died. She was only thirty-five years old, but her work had been completed. She had opened the doors for missions to women in India. One hundred and fifty Hindu converts attended her burial. Truly Hannah earned the title given her of “The Apostle of the Zenanas”.

Charlotte Maria Tucker – “A Princess in Israel”  —  (1821 –1893)

Charlotte was born in England in 1821 to prominent wealthy parents. Her fathercharlotte maria tucker had an important position in the government and was at one time the director of the East India Company. Though Charlotte grew up in luxurious circumstances she always had a missionary heart.

Charlotte’s nom de plume of A.L.O.E. (A Lady of England) became familiar all over the English-speaking world. Charlotte wrote more than 150 stories for young people that were collected into many books. She very often gave away the earnings from her books to missions or other charity work. Popular titles include, “The Rambles of a Rat” and “Pomegranates from the Punjab”. These and many more are in print today and available.

Charlotte is remembered for being a missionary to India as well as a writer. She worked in the Punjab region, first in Amritsir and then in Batala for the rest of her life. She learned the language of the Punjab and was thus enabled to go into the zenanas and to visit the women in the surrounding villages.

She was probably the first Christian writer to issue religious story books in the languages of India. With wonderful ease she adopted the native modes of thought and language. Her books, tracts, and leaflets – of which she wrote over one hundred while in the country – were translated and circulated, and have become very popular – sought after by native women and by young girls in mission schools. (Page 117)

At the request of the Christian Vernacular Education Society for India Charlotte wrote an explanation of the parables of Jesus entitled, “Pearls of Wisdom”. It was also published in individual tracts so that even the poorest could afford to buy them.

God called this precious daughter home in December 1893. Charlotte had contracted a cold earlier in October that then worsened and she never recovered. She asked to be buried in native style in a little village cemetery near her home. On December 5 the boys from the high school that she had supported carried her to her rest in Batala. Hymns, some of which she composed, were sung in the procession.

Charlotte considered her greatest work to be the Christian literature that she prepared for the women of India. This was a great legacy for which many women in India were very grateful. After her death the Christian Literature Society for India republished many of her books and translated them into more Indian languages.

There are many more great stories in the book about courageous women who went into all parts of the world taking the love of Jesus to share. You will be encouraged and uplifted when you read it.









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These are they which follow the Lamb…..

We have been reviewing the lives of many of the remarkable women of the nineteenth century. Many opportunities opened up for women to minister in the Kingdom of God in the 1800’s. There was a tremendous new interest in religion that came as a result of the Great Awakenings that would lead to the desire to spread the Gospel. A belief that Christ would come when the Gospel was preached to the ends of the earth prompted many to be a part of a great missionary movement within the United States and into foreign countries. Jesus said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

There was a particularly great need for women in foreign countries especially in the medical field. Women in India for example were not comfortable with male doctors. Even today in Muslim countries women are not allowed to be treated by a male doctor unless he is a close relative. The need for female medical missionaries continues to be very great.

One woman who answered the call of God in her life to minister to women in IndiaDr. Fanny Butler was Fanny Jane Butler. Though she only lived to be 39 years old, Dr. Butler was able to assist in the treatment of thousands of women. She was also instrumental in founding a hospital that is still in existence today.

Fanny was born on October 5, 1850 to Thomas and Jane Isabella Butler. She was the eighth of ten children. Only her brothers received formal education. Fanny was an intelligent girl and had a thirst for knowledge, but she had to be content with teaching of her older sisters until she was nearly 15 years old.

When Fanny was thirteen she gave her heart to Christ. At fourteen she became a Sunday school teacher. Her attention was directed to missions by her pastor who was very enthusiastic about taking the Gospel to those who had not heard about Christ. Fanny developed a deep missionary spirit. She asked her parents if she could be a missionary but they would not give her their approval at this time.

A little later on Dr. Elmslie, a Scottish medical missionary, was trying to get female medical missionaries to come to India. Fanny’s sister encouraged her to consider this. At first Fanny did not think she could do it. Later she decided to seek God’s will and when she was sure that medical missionary work was for her she again approached her parents. This time they enthusiastically gave their support.

Fanny became a member of the Indian Female Normal Society. She attended the London School of Medicine for Women for her medical training. This was a new school that only recently had accepted women. Fanny passed second out of one hundred and twenty-three candidates applying for the school; one hundred and nineteen of them were men.

She was a top student and received only flattering testimonials from her teachers. She took her final examination in Dublin where her professor said that her paper was the best he had ever had from any candidate. Fanny received the prize of pathology in 1879 and prize of anatomy in 1880.

In 1880 Fanny went to India as the first fully equipped female medical missionary sent from England. Her first destination was Jabalpur in the central part of India. Owing to some complications she traveled to Bhagalpur. She spent four and a half years in Bhagalpur pouring her whole energy into working in the dispensaries and attending several thousand patients a year.

In 1887 Fanny returned home to England for a short furlough. After this she srinagar__india_mapaccepted an appointment in Kashmir specifically in order to work with the women there. She rented a little house close to Srinagar, the chief city in that area, and opened a dispensary. She was immediately pressed from all sides for help. In the first year she treated five thousand patients. At least two thousand heard the Gospel.

Fanny opened another small house for a hospital. This house was outside of the city
because missionaries had been forbidden to live inside the city. Fanny traveled daily by pony or by boat the four miles into the city to see her patients. She dressed wounds, dispensed medicine, performed surgical operations, read, prayed, and talked to the suffering about the great Healer, the Lord Jesus.

The government was finally persuaded that Fanny only meant good and they let her have some land for a dispensary, a hospital, and a mission house. Fanny had a longing to build a women’s hospital but no funds. God graciously provided the money.

About this time an English woman named Mrs. Isabella Bird Bishop was traveling in India. Even while traveling in the East as a child, Isabella’s heart was saddened by the intense poverty of the women in India. She longed to be used of God to serve them.

When she grew up Isabella married a Scottish doctor named Dr. John Bishop. After only a few years of married life she became a widow. She again traveled to the East. In 1888 she visited Srinagar and there she met Dr. Fanny Butler. She found out that Dr. Fanny Butler was a pioneer woman doctor serving many thousands of poor women, but she had no hospital. Isabella generously gave the money for the building of the hospital. It was named in memory of her husband – the John Bishop Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Fanny was just as concerned for the spiritual well being of her patients as their physical health. One by one she took many of them to an upper room to talk to them about Christ.

Thinking of how Dr. Fanny served the poor a helper later wrote, “I make my way with difficulty up stairs to receive my instructions from the brave presiding genius of the place, the doctor, Miss Sahib. Here she is, sitting at the table, with a little collection of poor sufferers at her feet. They will look up in her face, with clasped hands, and say, ‘We heard your fame, and have come far, far;’ and again the words come back, ‘I have compassion on the multitudes, … for divers of them came from far.’” Truly Fanny showed the love of Christ to the Indian people.

Constantly pressed from all sides for help the strain became too much. Fanny Butler burned herself out for the love of Christ and the Indian people. In the summer of 1889 she fell so ill that she was unable to do her work. When she recovered she went right back to work because she could not turn down the thousands of women and children begging for medicine.

By the fall Fanny was suffering so much that she was unable to attend the ceremony where they laid the foundation stone for the new women’s hospital. She continued to grow worse. Her mind remained clear and her last thought was for the work that she loved. Her dying wish was that her post might be speedily filled.

Dr. Fanny finally succumbed to dysentery on October 26, 1889. She was buried in a cemetery in Srinagar. The natives insisted on bearing her coffin to her grave. “They had eaten her salt, and no other arms must bear her.” Many people came to show their respect for this woman who had given her all to help the poor and downtrodden.

women dr's IndiaFanny Butler left a blessed legacy for both Indian and international women. She was the first to provide medical care for many women in India. She inspired many women to join the movement for education for women, especially medical education. Even though Fanny did not live to see the John Bishop Memorial hospital completed, she is credited with its creation. The John Bishop Memorial Hospital still exists today, although in a different location. A few years after it was built the hospital was destroyed in a disastrous flood and it was rebuilt in Anantnag. (At left is a modern picture of the women doctors at the John Bishop Memorial Hospital in Anantnag.)

Dr. Fanny Butler is remembered today for her care in treating Indian women both medically and spiritually. The London School of Medicine for Women established a scholarship in her honor after her death.

She rests from her labors; and her works do follow her.



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As a girl Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was not interested in being a doctor. Years later in her book, Dr. Elizabeth BlackwellPioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, published in 1895, Elizabeth said that she “hated everything connected with the body, and could not bear the sight of a medical book… The very thought of dwelling on the physical structure of the body and its various ailments filled me with disgust.”

Then one day a close friend who was dying explained to Elizabeth that she would have been spared her worst suffering if she had had a woman doctor. Things changed for Elizabeth. She now knew that she wanted to help women as a physician.

Emily_BlackwellEmily Blackwell (1826-1910) on the other hand wanted to follow in her older sister’s footsteps and enter the medical field. Emily struggled as Elizabeth did to get medical training. After finally getting degrees in medicine the sisters sought experience in clinical medicine. When Elizabeth and Emily were rejected by many medical facilities that distrusted women doctors they built a hospital of their own to treat women with their unique female health problems.


The Blackwell family was an amazing group of people. Samuel and Hannah Blackwell emigrated from England in 1832 with their nine children eventually settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. Samuel Blackwell Sr. started a farm to convert beets into sugar because he wanted to reduce the dependence on slave-produced cane sugar. The Blackwell’s were ardent abolitionists.

Samuel and Hannah Blackwell were deeply religious and raised their children with a sense of social justice that was unusual for their time. This included the view that women should be educated to live in a growing and changing world. During an era when girls were expected to study only the subjects that prepared them to be good wives and mothers, the Blackwell’s saw to it that their daughters as well as their sons studied mathematics, science, literature, and foreign languages. Samuel and Hannah also encouraged their children to engage with the world of nature asking questions and expressing their thoughts freely. Emily especially liked to roam in the woods and commune with nature.

Elizabeth was born into this unusual family in Bristol, England in 1821. Emily was born in 1826. They were 11 and 6 years old when their family moved to America in 1832. Sadly, their father died in 1838 leaving the care of their family to their older brothers.

The girls in the Blackwell family were all intellectuals – both Elizabeth and Emily became doctors. Their brothers were no doubt inspired by their amazing sisters to marry intellectual women as well. Henry Blackwell married Lucy Stone, a brilliant woman and advocate for reform. Samuel Blackwell Jr. married Antoinette Brown, first woman to be ordained as a minister in a Congregational church (See posts 9-15 and 9-23, 2015).

Though the Blackwell’s were advocates of education for women they still held somewhat to the traditional expectations for women in their day. The most acceptable career for women outside of the home was teaching. Elizabeth therefore began her early career in teaching. It was when a dying friend told Elizabeth that a woman physician would have spared her much agony that Elizabeth decided to become a doctor.

As a woman Elizabeth knew that it would be difficult to become a physician. Most of her family and friends were discouraging, but eventually two physician friends let her read medicine with them for a year. Elizabeth applied to many medical schools before she was finally accepted at Geneva Medical College in New York in 1847.

In 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical degree from an American medical10BlackwellMedium school. She then traveled to Europe to study for two more years under English and French doctors. While undergoing training in midwifery she contracted an eye disease from a patient. Elizabeth lost her sight in one eye and gave up on the idea of becoming a surgeon.

Returning to New York Elizabeth tried to gain a practice in a dispensary. She was refused. So she opened her own dispensary in a rented room treating up to three patients a day. In 1854 Elizabeth was able to buy a house and continue to enlarge her practice. In 1856 her sister Emily and another woman physician, Dr. Marie Zakrzewska joined her. In 1857 they founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Here they provided medical care for the poor and offered opportunities for other women to receive training in the medical field.

Emily Blackwell was a sensitive and brilliant woman. Like her sister she tried teaching as a young woman. She hated it and talked to her sister Elizabeth about practicing medicine together. Emily began to look for medical training and received rejections by 12 medical schools before finally being accepted by Rush College in Chicago. They only let her study for one year. She was then accepted by Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she graduated with highest honors in 1854. Like her sister, Emily went to Europe to study medicine.

Returning to New York, Emily and a young German-born woman of Polish ancestry, Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, joined Elizabeth in opening the hospital for women. Since Elizabeth’s eyesight was poor, Emily did the surgeries.

e blackwell quoteThe women also pioneered in the medical industry by offering the first in-home care to poor patients. They not only saw to the medical needs of the women and children but also offered them training in better health care practices and sanitation.

Elizabeth and Emily continued to campaign for medical training for women. When it became clear that no one was willing to help they started their own training program in 1868. They offered a full three years of study at their infirmary that included clinical experience.

In 1869 Elizabeth moved back to England to continue her medical work. Emily became the full-time administrator of the hospital. Under her direction the hospital and medical school did so well that she needed to move it to larger quarters. In the 1870’s the training program was expanded from three years to four and a comprehensive training course for nurses was added.

Finally in 1899 Cornell University Medical College began accepting female students on an equal basis with men. Emily could rejoice that all of their hard work paid off. Now that women could study medicine freely she transferred her students to Cornell and retired. Her very capable staff continued to run the infirmary, still in existence today as NYU Downtown Hospital.

Emily Blackwell spent her retirement years between her homes in New Jersey and Maine. Elizabeth continued to live in England. The sisters saw each other one last time in 1906 when Elizabeth came to visit Emily in the United States.

A year later Elizabeth suffered from a severe fall while traveling in Scotland. She never fully recovered from it. In May 1910 Elizabeth suffered a stroke and died in England. A few months later at her home in Maine, September 2010, Emily died from an inflammation of the intestines.

Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell paved the way for women to become physicians. 360 women graduated from the school that they established. Today due to their courageous pioneering efforts many thousands of women are working in the field of medicine. We can all be thankful that they were willing to give their lives to the cause of helping others.















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