Clara A. Swain, M.D.
by Mrs. Robert Hoskins
Home - Random Browse


First Medical Missionary to the Women of the Orient




"The frail little mother of a frail little daughter" did not live long enough to see the fullest answer to her prayer that her youngest born might "grow up to be a good and useful woman," for she passed away before her daughter began her medical career, but the prayer was not forgotten by Him who ever hears the cry of those who call upon Him in faith.

Clara was the youngest of the ten children of John and Clarissa Seavey Swain. She was born in Elmira, N.Y., but when she was two years old her parents returned to their old home in Castile and here she spent her early life.


She was not a strong child, and being the youngest of a large family naturally received much attention, which in after years she concluded was not good for her. She once described herself as a puny little thing who wanted everything she saw and thought she ought to have it. "I had a will of my own," she said, "and my mother found it necessary to be very firm with me at times. Once I was very rude to her when she did not give me what I wanted, and I shall never forget how grieved she was, how lovingly she explained to me the necessity for controlling myself if I would be loved by those around me." She was six years old when this naughtiness occurred. "I promised my mother then," she said, "that I would be a good girl, and that I would ask God not to let me be naughty again."

She and her sister Hattie, not quite two years her elder, loved out of doors a great deal. They were very fond of flowers and animals, and, hand in hand, would wander up and down the street to stop and admire the flowers in the neighboring gardens, always mindful of their mother's injunction never to take a flower without permission. Happy indeed were they when they could bring home a handful of wild flowers to their mother. "God's flowers" they called them, because they did not grow in anyone's garden.

Clara's love for animals led her to pat every dog she met, and more than once she caught a stray cat and took it home to pet it. A story is told that seeing a lame chicken she wrapped it in her apron and took it home and bandaged its leg neatly, tending it with such devotion that she soon had the happiness of seeing it able to run about to seek its own food. The cousin who told this story laughingly said, "She probably used splints, but of this I am not sure."

Mrs. Swain's sister Elizabeth lived a mile out of the village, while the home of the Swain family was within the boundary line, and as the little red school-house was between them the children of both families attended this school.

Clara was very fond of her Aunt Post and often went home with her cousins, staying with them days at a time. One of these cousins, now eighty-eight years of age, writes: "When Clara was seven years of age she was a very pleasant child, always eager to help someone. She lived with us, off and on, until she was twelve years old, when we moved to Michigan. She was as much at home with us as in her own home and we were sorry to part with her."


When Clara was eight years old her sister Ann, six years her senior, joined the Methodist Church, and this made a great impression on her youthful mind. The consistent life of this sister and the sweet and simple religious life of her mother gave her many thoughtful hours, and she asked one day, "Why am I not a Christian? I want to be good, too." Just before she was ten years old, under the influence of a powerful sermon, she felt that she must give herself to the Lord to be his child forever. There were hours of darkness when she felt that she was too great a sinner to be forgiven, but light came at last and she was happy in the consciousness that she was an accepted child of God.

From her father's family she inherited a fund of Irish humor, while her mother, of good old New England blood, inclined to quietness of spirit with earnestness of purpose; and this blending of fun and sobriety caused the young Christian much perturbation of spirit. Conscientious in the extreme, she had many an hour of self-questioning when she feared that, in the exuberance of youthful merriment, she had cast a shadow on her Christian profession and caused sorrow to the heart of her loving Master. Then it was that the wise and tender mother helped her to see that it was the duty of a Christian, though only a child, to be cheerful and joyous, and that it was possible to please God in her play hours as well as in attendance at church or Sunday school or prayer meeting,—just to be the happy child that he meant her to be, and to ask his help to keep her good and true.

Her school books did not satisfy her mind, and one who knew her at that time says she frequently visited the neighbors and borrowed books, some of which she read over and over again.

Her love for children led her, when she was about twelve years old, to accept the proposal of the wife of the village merchant that she assist her in the care of her baby, and the money thus earned was used to help her with her studies.

In 1848, Clara's sister Ann went to Michigan to teach, making her home with the Aunt Post who had been so dear to the children of the Swain family. After two years of teaching she was married from her aunt's home to a worthy man who still survives her. Before Ann's marriage Clara had gone to visit this aunt and was persuaded to stay, and eventually she took a small school near the farm and taught for a year. "While she was teaching," wrote one of her cousins, "my mother broke her ankle and Clara cared for her almost a year. She was a grand nurse, even at that age, and was a great comfort to us all; she was so bright and cheerful that we were unwilling to have her leave us."

Her talent for nursing was called into requisition soon after her return to Castile when the children of the Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Mr. Hurlburt, became ill with typhoid fever and she was called to assist in caring for them. It was an anxious time for the nurse as well as the parents, as one child after another fell ill. Two of the children died, and later the father succumbed to the fatal illness. The faithful nurse remained with the distracted widow and the remaining children can cared for them tenderly as long as they needed her services. In an old and well-worn Bible is this inscription in her handwriting: "This is the first Bible I ever owned. It was presented to me by Rev. and Mrs. Hurlburt."

The sumer of 1855 found Miss Swain, then twenty-one years of age, teaching a few private pupils in the village. One of her scholars of that summer recently spoke of her loving interest in her pupils and her care for their welfare. The following year she went to live with some cousins in Pike and attend the school there.

Mr. Swain had a sister living in Canandaigua, who, knowing of Clara's strong desire for self-improvement, invited her to come there for a year of study in the seminary, an invitation which she gladly accepted; and after a year of close study she obtained a position as teacher in the primary department of one of the public schools. "Clara was determined to get an education and make use of it if she could," wrote one of her cousins.


In the spring of 1859 began an acquaintance with one who was ever after one of Miss Swain's dearest friends. Miss Martha McFarland of Albany accepted the position of teacher in the intermediate department of the school in which Miss Swain was teaching and they at once became friends. As Miss Swain's aunt was soon to leave Canandaigua, the two friends secured a pleasant boarding-place, and for three years they walked to school together in the morning and home again in the afternoon. Bothe were nature-lovers and many a delightful hour they spent on their holidays and Saturday afternoons and whenever they could find leisure for one of their picnic outings. They were both members of the Methodist Church and were constant in their attendance at the Sunday services and at Sunday school as well as at the midweek prayer and class-meetings, and were ever ready to help in all forms of church work.

Through her years of teaching Miss Swain showed the same conscientious spirit that was evidenced in her child and school life. "Have I done all I ought? Have I been as helpful to my pupils as I might be?" she often asked herself. For a time she taught a class in Sunday school, and her boys were impressed by her consistent life. Later, one of them said, "We noticed that you always went to prayer meeting so we thought we would go and see what was in it." This class was a joy to her and her pleasure was great when one and another gave himself to the Lord for service.

"Miss Swain was ready in season and out of season," said one of her friends. "One Sunday evening when a company of us were together having a sing, she turned to a young man near her and bluntly asked, 'Why are you not a Christian?' Taken by surprise, the young man had no answer ready and they both went on singing." The Rev. Mr. Hibbard was pastor of the Methodist Church in Canandaigua and Miss Swain and her friend very much enjoyed an occasional visit to the parsonage, where they were always warmly welcomed.


Notwithstanding her love for children, Miss Swain did not find teaching altogether a delight. The inattention of the children and the daily routine made her feel irritable, she said, but she kept steadily on, hoping in time to carry out a purpose which she had in mind of some day becoming a doctor. When an opportunity offered for her to take a position in the Castile Sanitarium under Dr. Cordelia A. Greene, she gladly gave up teaching and entered upon a course of training which, though sometimes irksome, proved more congenial than her former occupation.

All the way along, her strong will had availed to overcome obstacles, and here, during many weary hours, she comforted herself with the thought that she was nearing the goal of her ambition. She could not have had a more satisfactory opportunity for the training that she needed; for though Dr. Greene exacted thoroughness in every line of work, she was so sympathetic and so ready to give a word of commendation and encouragement, that her pupil could not do otherwise than accede to all the requirements of her position. It was not long before doctor and pupil became fast friends and the congenial companionship was a life-long pleasure to both. "I owe much to Dr. Cordelia," she said many times in after life.


After three years of study and practice in the Sanitarium she applied for admission to the Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia, from which she was graduated in the spring of 1869. She often spoke of the pleasure she had in lingering in the park after class hours, on her way to her boarding-place, and of the occasional free and intimate talks with certain of her instructors.

She enjoyed the Sabbath services and had many opportunities of hearing some of the celebrated preachers of the day. The Rev. Dana Boardman seems to have been a favorite with her and she took notes of several of his sermons. "Bishop Simpson's Christmas sermon (1868) on Luke 2:13, 14, filled my heart with peace and good-will to (all) men," she notes. A sermon by Dr. Willett in November, 1868, on "What do ye more than others?"—Matt. 5:47, and one by Dr. McGowan on Mark 10:21, "One thing thou lackest," led to much heart-searching. A short time before leaving Philadelphia she heard Phillips Brooks preach from Malachi 4:2. "A wonderful sermon," she termed it, and she greatly enjoyed a talk by him on tithing, which she determined to act upon.

We have no special record of Dr. Swain's years of study in the Woman's Medical College, but we may be sure that she improved every opportunity to perfect herself in her chosen calling. Her instructors were her warm friends and she corresponded with some of them after she went to India. Dean Bodley, in one of her letters, gave the names of nine young women in the college who were preparing for medical missionary work, and Dr. Swain made a note of them, saying that she must write to them before their graduation. Two of these ladies went to India as medical missionaries.


The story of Dr. Swain's call to go to India has been told many times. Mrs. D.W. Thomas, who, with her husband, had charge of the girls' orphanage of the Methodist Mission, had long felt the need of efficient medical aid for the women and children of India and had been doing what she could to alleviate the sufferings of those with whom she came in contact. She had even thought that she would herself study medicine when she should go to America for change and rest. In the meantime she was instructing a class of the older girls in the orphanage in physiology and hygiene, both in English and the vernacular, with the hope that some time they might have regular medical training. She talked with native gentlemen and with English officials of the great need for intelligent medical treatment for the women and children of the country, especially for those who live in seclusion, and of her hope that a lady medical missionary might be sent to India. A native gentleman so thoroughly approved of the idea that he offered to defray all the expenses of a medical school or class if a lady physician could be sent from America to take charge of it.

Mrs. Thomas's letter of appeal to Mrs. J.T. Gracey, a former missionary, for her assistance in the matter, led Mrs. Gracey to inquire at the Philadelphia Woman's Medical College if a suitable person could be found among the graduates, who would accept a call from the Woman's Union Missionary Society of America to go as a medical missionary to India. Miss Clara A. Swain, M.D., was named as one fitted by both professional acquirements and Christian character for such a position. It required much thought and prayer on Dr. Swain's part before she could signify her acceptance of the call, and during the three months of delay in giving her answer the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she was a member, was organized. Naturally she preferred to go under the auspices of her own denomination, and the Union Missionary Society gracefully and generously accepted her decision.

Confident that she was obeying the call of God, she set about her preparations for the long journey before her in a cheerful spirit, answering the demurs of her friends with, "It is God's call. I must go." She was greatly cheered when she found that Miss Isabella Thoburn, whose brother (now Bishop Thoburn) had been some years in India, was to be her traveling companion. They sailed from New York November 3, 1869, and arrived in Bareilly January 20, 1870, during the annual conference of the Methodist Mission.


The two ladies, whose previous slight acquaintance had ripened into warmest friendship during their weeks of journeying together, had hoped that they might be associated together in mission work, but it was not so to be. Miss Thoburn was appointed to educational work in Lucknow, and Dr. Swain found that she was to remain in Bareilly. This appointment gave her the opportunity to begin her medical work at once, for there were not only the girls' orphanage, for which Mrs. Thomas had so long desired efficient medical help, but scores of Christian women who could not go to the city hospital. In addition to these, there was the class of fourteen intelligent Christian girls that had for two years been receiving excellent preparatory training from Mrs. Thomas, who had fully believed that her prayer for a lady doctor would be answered and that these girls would yet have the opportunity for the study of medicine. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were well acquainted with several of the wealthy and influential natives of the city, and Mrs. Thomas welcomed the opportunity to introduce her doctor friend to these homes.

There was no lack of patients for the new doctor; for in addition to her work in the orphanage and her medical class, calls to native homes in the city became more and more frequent. At the end of the first six weeks after her arrival in Bareilly, Dr. Swain's note book recorded one hundred and eight patients. Her report to the conference, after a year of such service as she had never dreamed of, gave the number of patients prescribed for at the mission house as twelve hundred and twenty-five, and of visits to patients in their homes, two hundred and fifty.

The young women of the medical class were gaining practice and experience by caring for the sick in the orphanage and the Christian village, and sometimes accompanying Dr. Swain to visit her city patients, and they were also becoming proficient in compounding and dispensing medicines. This class, begun March 1, 1870, was graduated April 10, 1873, having passed an excellent examination before two civil surgeons and an American physician, from whom they received certificates entitling them to practice in all ordinary diseases.


The need for a dispensary and hospital became daily more imperative, and it was opportunely met in the munificent gift of the Nawab of Rampore, who owned an estate adjoining the mission premises in Bareilly. The Hon. Mr. Drummond, the commissioner of the Northwest Provinces, was interested in mission work, especially in the effort to help the women of the city and neighboring villages through medical aid, and he agreed with the missionaries that the Nawab's estate was just what was needed to carry out their plans. He therefore arranged that Mr. Thomas should go to Rampore and in a personal interview represent to the Nawab his desire to procure a portion of his estate in Bareilly which adjoined the mission property, for the purpose of establishing a hospital for women.

Accordingly, on receiving an intimation that the Nawab would receive them, on October 8, 1871, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas and Dr. Swain set out for this momentous interview. An interesting description of this visit is given in Mrs. Gracey's book, "Woman's Medical Work in Foreign Lands," and in Dr. Swain's book, "A Glimpse of India." Mr. Thomas's carefully prepared Hindustani speech was not finished before the Nawab replied graciously, "Take it! It is yours! I give it to you with great pleasure for such a purpose."

Mrs. Thomas naively wrote: "We were so amazed at the readiness and graciousness of the gift that we nearly forgot to make our salaams and express our thanks and gratitude. The Nawab replied that there were two great merits in this gift—one for himself and one for Mr. Thomas, for taking so great interest in the charitable work. Mr. Thomas then asked permission to found the first hospital for women in India in His Highness's name, to which he replied, 'As you think proper, so do.' So His Highness Mahomed Kallub Ali Khan, Bahadur, Nawab of Rampore, has the honor of making the first generous contribution toward founding the first woman's hospital in India. His Highness again expressed the satisfaction he felt in bestowing this gift, and said he would send his general to Bareilly on Monday to make out the papers and put us in formal possession of the property."

Before the party left the Nawab's dominions, the ladies were asked to see a sick woman in the Tahsildar's house, and they found her very ill indeed. Dr. Swain prescribed for her and for several others who asked for medicines; then they returned to the Rest House to get their breakfast and talk over the interview, and to thank God for his great bounty to the mission work.

Mrs. Thomas wrote: "We were bewildered and overwhelmed to think that the possessions which we had longed and prayed for these many years were ours. The gift came to us so freely and in such a way that we could take no credit to ourselves for having obtained it. Like all God's free gifts it was given before asked for; no persuasions or arguments of ours would have made any difference. God saw our need and supplied it."

The estate consisted of forty acres of land, a fine old kothi or mansion, and an extensive garden. The house needed repairs which were soon completed and Dr. Swain and Miss Sparkes, who had been appointed to take charge of the orphanage, moved into their new home January 1, 1872. A part of the house was used for a dispensary until other arrangements could be made, and then followed busy and often weary days, borne with patience, however, for the work was for the Master.

The much-needed and well-planned dispensary building was completed in May, 1873, and the hospital buildings connected with it received the first indoor patients January 1, 1874. From that time on there was no lack of occupants for the rooms. In the published collection of her letters, entitled "A Glimpse of India," Dr. Swain gives a graphic picture of the buildings, their occupants and their mode of life.

Visits to homes in the city were continued, and Dr. Swain and her assistants were fully occupied every day. Three of the graduates of the medical class were employed by Dr. Swain as Bible women and gave much assistance in the religious work connected with the hospital.


The anxiety and the responsibility of the rapidly increasing work brought weariness of mind and body, and in March, 1876, Dr. Swain returned to America for a much needed rest. This was extended to the autumn of 1879 when, on September 25, she again sailed for India, arriving in Bombay November 6. At the conference held in Cawnpore in January, 1880, Dr. Swain received her appointment to Bareilly and with gladness of heart took up her old work.


In March, 1885, Dr. Swain received a call to a native state to attend the wife of the Rajah, and after two weeks of successful treatment she was formally requested to remain as physician to the Rani and the ladies of the palace. After much thought and prayer it seemed to her that it was the Lord's will that she should remain and do what she could for him in this place where there were no Christian influences; so she consented to the proposal on condition that she and her companion be allowed to carry on the work as Christians should. To this the Rajah agreed, and Dr. Swain signed a contract to remain two years.

In the Blue Book, or Administration Report, of the Khetri State, 1886, the Rajah wrote: "I cannot look back with greater pleasure or satisfaction on anything I have done than on the facilities introduced by me for rendering medical aid to the female portion of my subjects. It is a patent fact that the Indian woman, secluded as she is within the four walls of the zenana, cannot fully benefit by any system of medicine; and it was not till the generous efforts of Lady Dufferin were turned in this direction that the wives and daughters of the richest and most enlightened Indians enjoyed a better position than the lowest and meanest of their fellows. It therefore gives me genuine pleasure to bring prominently to your notice the existence of a regular institution in this benighted portion of India, for the treatment of females of all classes. I have employed a very competent European lady doctor, Miss Swain, M.D., to attend on Her Highness, the Rani Sahiba, and, feeling it my duty to place her advice and assistance within the reach of all my subjects, have established a regular dispensary for women. It was opened June 1, 1885, at the expense of the state, and a room in the palace building appropriated to it until a more convenient and suitable one could be provided. An allowance of Rs. 100 per mensem is fixed for medicines, and is found for the present to be sufficient. The average daily attendance at the dispensary is five."

Under Section 12, Schools, this report is given:—"I am glad to say that the people of my state are beginning to evince greater interest in the education of their children than they have done before. The greatest desire of Her Highness, the Rani Sahiba, was that I should make suitable provision for the education of girls. I, accordingly, engaged a competent European lady, Miss P.E. Pannell, as mistress, and the Khetri Girls' School was opened by Her Highness in April, 1885, in the teeth of opposition from the orthodox portion of the community. As was expected, at first every effort to teach these girls was frowned upon and considered absurd by their relatives and friends. This feeling, however, gradually gave place to trust and confidence, and the school is now showing some return for all the time and patience spent upon it. The number of pupils on the roll is twenty, of which three have gone to their susval (husband's home) and three attend only occasionally. The average attendance of fourteen girls has, however, been regular. Great pains has been taken to teach truthfulness, honesty and love for one another. Instruction is also given in needlework of various kinds, and other things, the knowledge of which is necessary for good housekeeping. The improvement made by some of the girls in this direction may at once be noticed by a change in the manner of doing nicely the little things which go to make up their lives. The school owes its existence to the care of Her Highness, who is much interested in it."

In addition to her school, Miss Pannell was engaged to teach the Rani and some of the court ladies. Dr. Swain and Miss Pannell were the only Christians in the state, but their little Sunday service conducted for their servants gained attention, and others asked to be allowed to attend, some becoming so much interested that they procured Bibles and Testaments that they might read the "wonderful words" themselves. A supply of tracts and portions of Scripture was always on hand, to distribute whenever and wherever the ladies felt they would be appreciated.


The serious illness of one of Dr. Swain's sisters decided her to return to America, and she left Khetri in March, 1888, having spent nearly three years in "seed sowing" as she called it. Her own health, too, demanded a change, and in company with a most congenial missionary friend she turned her face toward the homeland. She returned to India in company with the same congenial friend, in time to attend the North India Conference before going to her Khetri home, Miss Pannell again accompanying her.


The isolation of their life in Khetri had been at times a great trial to both Dr. Swain and Miss Pannell, but they felt that they were where God wanted them to be and bore their privations bravely. However, at this time Dr. Swain wrote: "After eighteen months of the religious life of America and the many precious privileges enjoyed there, it seems harder to settle down to the life here. I miss the church services much more than I did when I was here before." At another time she wrote: "I have sometimes felt tempted to give up my work here, but then the thought comes to me that I can do more by remaining here, and paying the salary of a native preacher to do what I should never be able to do."

A second princess had been born during Dr. Swain's absence from Khetri. This occasioned close attendance at the palace, as the baby was delicate, and Dr. Swain had an opportunity for Bible study with the Rani who enjoyed nothing more than an hour of daily study of the Scriptures. The older princess, too, was ready with a new Bible verse every day, and a Sunday service was held in the Rani's apartments, at which the women of the court and their attendants were present. The Sunday Bible class at the home was not neglected; it increased in interest and numbers, some of the more intelligent of the Rajah's staff occasionally joining the company and listening with interest to the hymns and the reading of the Scriptures.

The birth of the prince and heir in January, 1893, was a time of great rejoicing and much ceremony. Offerings were made to the deities day after day, the poor were fed and presents given to the Brahmans. The Rani acknowledged her thankfulness to God by a donation, in the name of her little son, to Christian work, asking that the money be used to support an orphan in the mission to which Dr. Swain belonged.


Dr. Swain's engagement with the Khetri state expired in October, 1895, and in March, 1896, she left India, as she supposed, forever. "Mother Ninde" and her traveling companion, Miss Baucus, from Japan, were among the missionary party of eleven, some of whom were anticipating a trip to the Holy Land. In company with Miss Baucus, Dr. Swain visited Jerusalem, where they were joined by Miss Dickinson of Utica, N.Y., and the three traveled together from April 1, 1896 to July 4, when they sailed for America. They had visited the places of interest in and around Jerusalem, Bethany, Bethlehem, on to Beirut, Damascus, Baalbek, Nazareth, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee, a tour much enjoyed by them all.

At Jerusalem they met a company of Americans, and arranged to accompany them to Constantinople. On the way they stopped at Smyrna and made a hurried trip to Ephesus, arriving in Constantinople May 20. There they remained six days and then sailed for Athens. On June 2 they began their European tour, sailing on an Italian steamer to Brindisi, where they parted with their American friends. The three then visited Venice, Munich, Dresden, Cologne and Paris, reaching London June 27, and remaining there till July 4, when they sailed for New York.

"No more sea for me!" was Dr. Swain's reply when asked if she were not tired of travel. "I took many rest days while the others were sight-seeing, and now I hope to have a good long rest here at the Castile Sanitarium."


But to the great surprise of many of her friends, and notwithstanding the remonstrances of some who feared she would not live to return to America, she determined to go to India to attend the Jubilee of the Methodist Mission, founded by the Rev. William Butler in 1856. In company with some missionaries under appointment to India she sailed from New York, November 6, 1906, just thirty-seven years from the time that she started out on her untried career. She spent eighteen months among old friends and old scenes in India, rejoicing in the great advance in numbers, intelligence and spirituality of the native Christians, and had the great pleasure of meeting again the young prince of Khetri and his sisters—now orphans—and of hearing from them of their mother's last days and of her continued love for the Bible, to which she had given so much attention while Dr. Swain was with her.


Once more she turned toward the home land, arriving in Castile, N.Y., in April, 1908, where she was joined by the friend of her early missionary days in India.

Dr. Cordelia Greene, who established the Sanitarium, was succeeded by her niece, Dr. Mary T. Greene, who arranged that the two friends should occupy rooms in her lovely cottage, Brookside, opposite the Sanitarium grounds, where for nearly three years they enjoyed the comforts of a home and of congenial society. Though living outside the institution they took their meals with the Sanitarium family and took part in the daily morning prayer service in the helpers' sitting-room and the after-supper service for patients and guests in the large parlors, enjoying to the full the spiritual atmosphere of the place.

There were quiet hours of delightful study in the Book which each had made the guide of her life; social afternoons with friends from different parts of the country and from over the seas who were taking a rest-time in the lovely village; and pleasant evenings before the cheerful grate fire in Dr. Swain's room. These were made more heartsome one autumn because of the presence of a much-esteemed missionary friend, Miss Knowles, from India, and of Miss McFarland, Dr. Swain's dear friend of Canandaigua days, who had come to spend a little time with the one whose companionship had always been a pleasure, and whose correspondence during her absence from America had been a delight.


Relatives and friends of Dr. Swain had carefully preserved many of her letters; and Dr. Greene, who had long desired that these letters should be published, conceived that the favorable time had come and urged the immediate preparation of the work. The letters were read, extracts made, compiled and edited; and in the summer of 1909 "A Glimpse of India" was given to the public. This furnished a most interesting record of the busy life of the first medical missionary to the women of the orient. As long as Dr. Swain was able, she attended the Sunday morning service and the Thursday evening prayer meeting, as well as the meetings of the missionary and the Ladies' Aid societies of the church. When she was no longer equal to the walk to church, she and her friend had regular Sunday morning service in their room with hymns, Scripture reading, prayer and a sermon, and were often present in spirit at the midweek prayer meeting, though their prayers and praises were uttered in their room.


The last year of Dr. Swain's life was spent in much weakness at times, occasioned by an attack of grippe which would not be overcome, but it was not until the first week in December that she felt that she could not hope to get stronger. When confined to her bed she kept her Testament and Psalms near her, and though seldom able to read more than a verse she enjoyed the daily morning Bible reading and prayer with her friend.

Loving attendance and the best medical care were given her but nought availed, and early Christmas morning, while sleeping, she passed from earth to her Father's home above. She was laid to rest in the beautiful cemetery at Castile, December 28, 1910.

The prayer of the "frail little mother of a frail little daughter" was fully answered in this good and useful life.


Home - Random Browse