Death & Legacy

There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of Peace and bring glad tidings of good things.

Mary Briscoe Baldwin’s Epitaph (Mary Briscoe Baldwin, 1877)

Jacqueline Davison (top) and Ann Hay (bottom) (Pitman, 1880, p. 299)

By 1877, Mary’s health was deteriorating quickly, and her doctor wanted her to go to England to regain her strength. However, she never made it to England and ultimately died on June 20, 1877 in Joppa, Syria, which is where she remains to this day. Her sister, Ann Hay, and cousin, Miss Jacqueline Davison, tried to maintain the Joppa Mission School, which they renamed the Mary Baldwin Memorial School after her death, but the Foreign Committee (the organization that controlled all of the funds for mission work) decided not to fund the school any longer after Mary’s death. Ann and Jacqueline tried to keep the school going through fundraising, as Mary did, but they were, unfortunately, unable to raise sufficient funds.

In the end, Mary is accredited with founding female education in Greece and paved the way for other female missionaries to travel abroad. She forever changed the life of her sister, Ann Hay, her nephew, John Hay, and her cousin, Jacqueline Davison, none of whom may have ever had the opportunity or interest to live in a foreign country and dedicate their life to mission work. Part of what made Mary so progressive for her time was her nondiscriminatory approach to her mission work – she took in everyone and wanted to help as many underserved, underprivileged people as she possible could. Her devotion to her faith and her students touched so many throughout her life, leaving behind an admirable legacy.

Memorable quotes from Mary

On taking risks

Men of the world, whose sole object is to accumulate money, think nothing of risks, acting upon the principle of ‘nothing venture, nothing gain.’ Why then should not a Christian risk where the object is to do good, and to continue to occupy an extensive field of usefulness in imparting both spiritual and intellectual knowledge to the ignorant?

Mary Briscoe Baldwin (Pitman, 1880, p. 127)
On children

I think that all little children who try to do good […] are really endeavouring to obey Him. We know that Christ spent His life on Earth and trying to do good, and to make people good; and to be good is to be happy.

Mary Briscoe Baldwin (Pitman, 1880, p. 157)
On education

As I think children should be first taught their own language, and then a foreign, I arranged to have their Arabic lessons in the morning, and their English ones in the afternoon. I think religious teaching is conveyed so much better in their own language. In a language foreign to them, one is apt to take too much for granted, and imagine that they understand when in reality they do not.

Mary Briscoe Baldwin (Pitman, 1880, p. 227)
On her insecurities

Whenever I have felt oppressed by a sense of my shortcomings and incapacity to do as much as I desired to do, I have remembered for my comfort that He whom I firmly believe placed me here, requires of me only to do the best I can – as it is expressed in God’s Word […] Some of my relatives who did not know – and if they knew, could not appreciate – the motives which actuated me in taking this step, said they were sure I should soon repent of it, and would return home before two years had passed. One said that I was ‘going on a wild-goose chase.’ I replied to them, ‘You are mistaken! I feel that I shall not return for at least ten years, and that my engagement in the missionary field will be for life.’ Eleven years passed before I returned to visit my native land and kindred; and then I was absent from Greece only sixteen months. Now, after twenty-five years of service in this very mission, I here testify that never once during all these years have I for a moment repented of the step I then took; and I now feel that, in all my life, should it reach ‘threescore and ten,’ I shall not be able to accomplish the half of what I desire to do.

Mary Briscoe Baldwin (Pitman, 1880, p. 17)

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Mary Briscoe Baldwin. (1877). Ancestry.Com.

Pitman, E. R. (1880). Mission Life in Greece and Palestine: Memorials of Mary Briscoe Baldwin, Missionary to Athens and Joppa. Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.