"Were you a doctor or a missionary?" people asked Florence Murray. "I hope I was both," she responded.
Born in 1894, Florence Murray began her medical studies at the start of World War One. In 1921 she was appointed a missionary medical doctor to Korea. Placed under house arrest by the occupying Japanese in 1941, she was deported to Canada one year later in a prisoner exchange but returned to Korea in 1947 and remained there until 1969.
She became known internationally as an authority on leprosy and respiratory diseases and was one of the founders of the Wonju Severance Christian Hospital and College. With over 5,000 alumni from its schools of nursing, medicine, and dentistry, the hospital is today a centre of medical excellence in Korea.
Dr. Murray is remembered and revered by the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea and by thousands of Koreans as a compassionate doctor who dedicated her life to living and working among poor and marginalized people. With courage, faith, and ingenuity, she confronted disease, poverty, tangled politics, cultural differences, and the violence of war. She committed her life to the well-being of others, and with fellow Korean workers left a proud legacy of hospitals and schools that continue to serve the people of Korea today.
We are thankful for the cloud of witness found in our history with our partners like the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea-and for the passion of women like Florence Murray!
Please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith.