Mary Slessor [A Short Summary]
Mary Slessor was born in Aberdeen, Scotland on Saturday, 2 December 1848. She was the second child of Robert and Mary Slessor’s seven children. Her family was poor, and they barely had enough. To add to the pain, she lost three of her siblings at a very tender age, and another when she was in her twenties.
At the age of eleven, she had to work with her mother at a cotton mill to support the family. The mill had a school for young workers, which Mary utilised to get a formal education. She spent part of her day working and part of it being educated.
As she grew, her love for humanity and divinity grew, and that love caused her to embark on the journey from Scotland to Calabar, Nigeria, a few months before her 28th birthday. She spent most of her remaining 38 years on earth serving the people of Calabar. Her aim was to preach the gospel, and that she did.
What she saw in Calabar brought sorrow, but not discouragement. Calabar was mosquito-infested, but she did not mind. Her love was powerful enough to wade off all discouragement.
She learnt Efik, united communities, built schools and churches, treated the sick with her basic medical knowledge, preached the gospel, taught the inhabitants, mediated quarrels, and adopted abandoned children. Defying customs and traditions, she prevented the death of twins when she could. She lived as though she was bred in Calabar. She was a leader, a teacher, a preacher, and most importantly, a lover. She made a difference. Her life made a difference. Her love made a difference. She was a difference and a heroine to Calabar, Nigeria, Africa, and the world.
On her deathbed, her last words were, “O Abassi, sana mi yok,” which means “O God, release me.”
The British government awarded her as an “Honorary Associate of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem” on 27 May 1913.
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Read a more comprehensive detail of her life and impact here.