Stephenson, Gladys

Wesley deaconess missionary to China, born at Southall, London, on 8 August 1889. She entered the Order in July 1912 and after training as a nurse was ordained and left in September 1915 for China, where she served for 38 years. She nursed in the Men's Hospital at Anlu, and later at Hankow, where she established a training college for nurses, which led to an acceptance of female nurses in Chinese society. She played a prominent part in the Nursing Association of China and was elected Vice-President in 1922, becoming Acting-President soon afterwards. She wrote a history of the Association, a copy of which was deposited in the Methodist Archives in Manchester. Cora Simpson, one of the founders of the Association, described her as 'one of the most splendid nurses ever trained in Britain'.

During the Japanese invasion in 1938 she asked for her furlough to be postponed because she could not leave her colleagues and patients. Having stayed at her post during severe air-raids, she was interned in Shanghai from 1943 to 1946. Although elected Vice-President of the Deaconess Order in 1951, she was unable to get to Convocation, so was unanimously elected Vice-President that year and became President in 1952. She retired in 1953, but continued to work among the Chinese in London. She died on 14 June 1981.

  • British Journal of Nurses, 1 September 1923, pp.138-9
  • E.Dorothy Graham, Saved to Serve (Peterborough, 2002) pp.199-211

Entry written by: EDG
Category: Person
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