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 Gladys Aylward

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Gladys Aylward

  • Birth 24 Feb 1902 Edmonton, London Borough of Enfield, Greater London, England
  • Death 3 Jan 1970 Taiwan
  • Burial Danshui, New Taipei City, Taiwan
  • Memorial ID 17915905

Protestant missionary. Born into a poor working-class family in Edmonton, England, she began working as a maid at a young age, and had little education. In her late twenties she attended an evangelistic meeting and decided to devote herself to Christ. One day she read a magazine that mentioned the need for missionary work in China, and she knew she had found her calling. She underwent training by the China Inland Mission, but she was ultimately deemed unqualified and they denied her financial support as a result. But her will remained strong, and to earn money to fund her passage to China she started working as a housekeeper for a retired missionary and his Chinese wife, who had contacts in China. In October 1930 she spent all her money to take the Trans-Siberian Railroad to China. After arriving in Yuncheng, Shanxi Province, and joined Jeannie Lawson, a missionary who ran an inn, wherein they would relate Bible stories to passing travelers. Aylward took over the mission after Mrs. Lawson died, and she stayed in China during the turbulence of the Japanese invasion and occupation. A local official also commissoned her to serve as a "foot inspector", to enforce the ban on foot-binding, and she also took this as a further opportunity to spread the Gospel. At one point she rescued nearly 100 children from the fighting that went on by leading them to safety over the mountains. She returned to England after World War II for health and safety reasons. Then in the early 1950s, after the Communist Revolution, she tried to re-enter China but was refused entry. So in 1953 she went to Taiwan, where she set up an orphanage. She remained there until her death. Her life's story is the subject of the 1957 book "The Small Woman" by Alan Burgess, and the following year it was made into a Hollywood movie, "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness," starring Ingrid Bergman.

Bio by: Chris Nelson





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Chris Nelson
  • Added: 12 Feb 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17915905
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gladys Aylward (24 Feb 1902–3 Jan 1970), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17915905, citing Christ's College Cemetery, Danshui, New Taipei City, Taiwan ; Maintained by Find A Grave .