Mary Ann Aldersey

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Mary Ann Aldersey 艾迪綏 (24 June 1797 – 1868), the first Christian missionary woman (married or single) to serve in China. She founded a school for girls in Ningbo, Zhejiang. Her pioneering the field of mission work for single women in China was the most remarkable outcome of her life.

Aldersey was a native of London from a wealthy nonconformist family. She studied Chinese under Robert Morrison in London when he was on home leave from 1824 to 1826. Also in attendance were Samuel Dyer and his wife Maria Tarn. The friendship that she forged with Maria eventually led to her inviting their orphaned teenage daughters to work with her in China. In London, Aldersey was still attached to family ties, but she made gifts to the London Missionary Society that enabled Maria Newell to go to Malacca (1827) where Newell met and married pioneer missionary Karl Gützlaff.

In 1837 she herself was able to go to Surabaya, where she started a school for Chinese girls. When the treaty ports in China were opened (1843) she moved to Ningbo where she opened a school for girls assisted by three teenagers, Mary Ann Leisk, Ruth Ati and Christiana A-Kit. Ruth Ati and Christiana were from Surabaya. Never an agent of any missionary society, Miss Aldersey did maintain close links with the London Missionary Society. Several of her teaching staff were Chinese-speaking daughters of missionaries; at least four became missionary wives, including Burella Hunter Dyer who married John Shaw Burdon, Maria Jane Dyer, who married James Hudson Taylor in 1857 (against Aldersey's wishes). Another protegee, Mary Ann Leisk, became the wife of William Armstrong Russell, later bishop in north China.

In 1861 Aldersey handed her school over to the Church Missionary Society and retired to Australia, where she lived until her death. She retired to Mclaren Vale, South Australia in 1861 and built a house (Tsong Gyiaou) named after a former preaching station. The name is an anglicised form of 'San Ch'iao' (pronounced 'Song Jow'). It is now part of the Southern Districts War Memorial Hospital.

References[edit]

  • E. Aldersey White (1932) A Woman Pioneer in China. The life of Mary Ann Aldersey, London, Livingstone Press
  • History of the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East, Edward Suter, London 1847
  • Missions to the Women of China, E J Whately, James Nisbet & Co, London, 1866
  • Joyce Reason, The Witch of Ningpo (Eagle Books, No. 30.) London: Edinburgh House Press, 1940
  • The Story of the China Inland Mission Volume I; Mary Geraldine Guinness, Morgan & Scott, 1894
  • Hudson Taylor & The China Inland Mission Volume One: In Early Years; The Growth of a Soul; Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, China Inland Mission, London, 1911
  • Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret; Dr. & Mrs. Howard Taylor, China Inland Mission, London, 1932 (republished in 2007)
  • Hudson & Maria; Pioneers In China; John Pollock, 1964
  • Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century Volume One: Barbarians at the Gates; Alfred James Broomhall; Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1982
  • Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century Volume Two: Over the Treaty Wall; Alfred James Broomhall; Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1982
  • Hudson Taylor & China’s Open Century Volume Three: If I Had a Thousand Lives; Alfred James Broomhall; Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1982
  • From Jerusalem to Iriyan Jaya; Dr. Ruth Tucker, Zondervan
  • Hudson Taylor: A Man In Christ; Roger Steer, Paternoster, 1990
  • It Is Not Death to Die; Jim Cromarty, Christian Focus, 2001
  • Christ Alone - A Pictorial Presentation of Hudson Taylor's Life and Legacy; OMF International, 2005
  • Griffiths, Valerie, Not Less Than Everything, Monarch Books & OMF International, Oxford, 2004

External links[edit]