Helen Roseveare

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Dr. Helen Roseveare was an English Christian missionary to the Congo from 1953 to 1973. She went to the Congo through WEC International and practised medicine and also trained others in medical work. She stayed through the hostile and dangerous political instability in the early 1960s.

Biography[edit]

Helen Roseveare was born in England in 1925.[1] She became a Christian as a medical student in Cambridge University in 1945. She continued to have strong links with the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union and was designated as the "CICCU missionary" during the 1950s and 1960s.[citation needed] She built a combination hospital/ training center in Ibambi in the early 1950s, then relocated to in Nebobongo, living in an old leprosy camp, where she built another hospital. After conflict with other staff at the hospital, she returned to England in 1958.[2]

She returned to the Congo in 1960. In 1964 she was taken prisoner of rebel forces and she remained a prisoner for five months, enduring beatings and rapings. She left the Congo and headed back to England after her release but returned to the Congo in 1966 to assist in the rebuilding of the nation. She helped establish a new medical school and hospital (the other hospitals that she built were destroyed) and served there until she left in 1973. She helped many people from different countries, and helped them when needing food, and drink.

Since her return from Africa, she has had a worldwide ministry in speaking and writing. She was a plenary speaker at the Urbana Missions Convention three times. She is now retired and lives in Northern Ireland. Her life of service was portrayed in the 1989 film Mama Luka Comes Home. Her touching story about how the prayer of Ruth, 10-year-old African girl, for a hot water bottle to save a premature newborn baby after its mother had died has been widely forwarded by email.[3] She survived rape and trial during the Congolese civil war in 1964 because of the intervention of the villagers she had helped previously.[4]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Burgess, Alan, Daylight must come : the story of Dr Helen Roseveare, London : Joseph, (1975); pbk. London : Pan Books, (1977), ISBN 978-0-330-25063-4.
  • Lagerborg, Mary Beth, Though Lions Roar: The Story of Helen Roseveare : Missionary Doctor to the Congo, (Faith's Adventurers), ISBN 978-0-87508-663-7.
  • Isaac, Peter, A History of Evangelical Christianity in Cornwall, — privately published (Polperro) by the author (2001).
    Chapter 17, "Twentieth-Century Missionaries" tells the story of Helen Roseveare.
  • Bob Roseveare, her brother, has published a study of the Roseveare family history.

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