October 9: Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Medical Missionary, 1940
October 9, 2010 7 Comments
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About this commemoration
Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell was born in Cheshire, England in 1865, the second of four sons of the Reverend Algernon Sidney Grenfell, headmaster of Mostyn House School, Parkgate, and his wife Jane Georgina Hutchinson. While studying medicine at the London Hospital Medical School, he came under the inﬂuence of American revivalist Dwight L. Moody. An athlete skilled in boxing, cricket, rugby, and rowing, he was an early exponent of the “muscular Christianity” made famous by Charles Kingsley.
In 1887, following his medical qualiﬁcation, he joined the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fisherman as a medical missionary, serving in Iceland and the Bay of Biscay. During a visit to Labrador in 1892, Grenfell was appalled by the near-starvation, poverty, and ill health of the British workers there. Devoting himself to their nurture and improvement, be built the ﬁrst hospital of the Labrador Medical Mission in 1893, eventually opening boarding schools, hospital ships, clothing distribution centers, and the Seaman’s Institute at St. John’s, Newfoundland, often with money he raised himself with speaking tours and books. Several of his books about Labrador and his religious books appealed to those with whom he worked due to his modest and simple style.
In 1912, he organized the International Grenfell Association, with branches in Newfoundland, the United States, and Canada, and this organization supported his work and ministry for the remainder of his career.
Grenfell retired from his work in 1935 due to ill health. He died in Vermont in October of 1940.
I Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him: Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the ministry of Wilfred Grenfell to the sick and to seafarers in Labrador and northern Newfoundland, our actions may witness to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him: Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the ministry of Wilfred Grenfell to the sick and to seafarers in Labrador and northern Newfoundland, our actions may witness to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lessons: 2 Kings 2:19–22, 1 Corinthians 12:1–11, and Mark 6:45–56
Preface of a Saint (I)
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
Also of interest
The International Grenfell Society
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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