Gwen Coventry: Missionary Nurse in Nepal

Gwen Coventry, an Australian nurse, served as a Christian missionary for the Regions Beyond Missionary Union and the United Mission to Nepal (UMN). From 1959 to 1980, she worked in northern India and Nepal helping to develop a system of rural dispensaries and traveling nurses. Her work began as a hospital nurse in northern India and Tansen, Nepal before she transitioned to community health in Bohja, Nepal. She later became the director of the Community Health Programme in the Palpa District of Nepal for the UMN.

The Lord has said that He will build His Church and the gates of hell shall not prveail against it. We do indeed praise Him that we are seeing the beginnings of that Church in this land. - Prayer Letter No. 1, 12th Nov. 1961

This exhibit examines both Gwen Coventry's circulated newsletters and personal letters related to health services and the spread of Christianity by missionaries from 1959-1979. This collection of items presents a historical perspective on medical services and the distribution of Christian materials in Northern India and Nepal by Christian missions.

While I know that our primary job is to reach the souls of men with the gospel, yet Jesus also commanded us to heal the bodies of men. - Trek from 30th December, 1963 to 20th January, 1964

The items are clustered into the pages below based on a combination of chronological and topical factors. The pages, which cover various topics and genres such as prayer letters and newsletters, follow a generally chronological pattern from 1959 until 1978. The exhibit begins with a background on the RBMU and UMN before transitioning to an account of Coventry's transition to India and Nepal, a mini-collection of Coventry's prayer letters, a closer look into a trekking account from 1963-1964, newsletter accounts of health services from 1967-1971 and 1974-1978, a comparative look at Magar and missionary health practices in East Palpa, and a mini-collection of Coventry's personal letters to her parents. 

For a chronological view of the items in this collection and a general timeline of Gwen Coventry's activities in Nepal, please click here.

Yale University Finding Aid: Guide to the Gwen Coventry Papers




Courtney Randolph