Remembering Mary Violet Bagley

The Passing of Mary Violet Bagley - 27 April 2013


Mary Violet Bagley went to be with the Lord this past week at the age of 92. She was a retired missionary nurse and had been living in San Remo, Victoria, in southern Australia at the time. She was one of the most fun loving, joyful missionaries we grew up with in Swaziland. She served fro 16 years as the nurse in charge of the Mbuluzi Leper Colony as well as other assignments but after retirement she returned to Australia. She Mary had a deep and precious connection with New Hope Centre. Despite her meager income she became one of our first monthly sponsors as she sponsored Annastasia when she first arrived. Rachael Holt one of our precious volunteers from Australia was able of the past few years to visit Mary even following a stroke and kept the connection between Swaziland and Mary’s life. Dr. Elizabeth and Anastasia were able to call and talk to Mary on the phone from time to time as she was no longer able to write after she suffered a stroke a while back.

As she passes into glory we want to honour her work in Swaziland as she was the only Australian missionary in Swaziland for many years. She was touched by the infirmity of the lepers and offered to work at the Leper colony which was way upin the mountains to the north of Swaziland. A lonely assignment as it was confined and isolated to reduce the spread of infection. For many years Dr. David Hynd had prayed and worked to provide a suitable home for the Swazi lepers. There were several disappointments in those efforts. In 1940 the government refused to allow permission to establish a leper colony on a 500 acre tract of land donated for that purpose to the hospital started and run by Dr. Hynd. Instead, the government of Swaziland developed and completed (in 1948) a simple village and cottage hospital, small chapel, roads and other amenities for the lepers: Mbuluzi Leper Colony. God had a plan in the previous frustration of plans. Once the leper colony was built, the government asked Dr. David Hynd (Dr. Elizabeth Hynd’s grandfather) to be the director of the new facility and he accepted. He developed the dairy farm, the vegetable and corn production, tree forestation and other ways for supporting the leppers and giving them means to sustain themselves int eh beautiful but remote mountain centre. Today Swaziland is Leprosy free. This was one of the dreams of Dr David and Dr Samule who serves on the Leprosy Mission Board fo the whole of Africa had the joy of seeing the dream fulfilled. Now Dr Samuel is praying and working towards the dream of an AIDS free Swaziland. Our God is the same yesterday today and forever.

It was to this leper village that Mary served and unselfishly gave of herself for sixteen years to these suffering ones beloved by God. She embodied the humility and love of her Savior that spilled out on all around her. She had an indomitable sense of fun that was hard to resist. Light accompanied her presence. She remained committed to the tasks the Lord gave her and faithfully completed her course.

To those of us who loved her it is a cherished treasure that she left the first ever legacy left to us at New Hope Centre. After her passing, her relatives contacted us to say that she had prepared to leave support for Annastasia. The executor has now confirmed and is sending what she gave to Annastasia. We are overjoyed and celebrate the commitment and love of this wonderful woman. Lord, thank you for the years you gave us with this saint of Yours. Use this gift as the riches of the widow’s mite and multiply its impact into eternity.

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