On 1834 July 18th, Dr. Clara Swain was born in New York. Her father, John Swain was of Irish descent and her mother Clarissa came from the dynasty of New England. Clara joined the Methodist church when she was eight. She began teaching private pupils in her 21st age as she continued her religious studies and subsequently moved to Canandaigua, New York. As she repeatedly encountered and cared for sick people, she developed an interest in learning medicine. She continued her medical studies in Castille’s Sanatorium where she went on to earn her degree as well.
Clara came to India in 1870 as she embraced God’s calling for her. She started her medical mission in Uttar Pradesh in the district of Bareilly. In those days, she was one of the very first women who came by sea to carry out medical mission work in India. It was necessary in those times where a lady doctor was needed to provide medical assistance to women of higher class. Even though, Clara had difficulty with learning the Indian language, she learnt and strived with earnest.
Within a year, she had treated at least 1300 patients. During the next four years, she would go on to provide exceptional medical help for women and children. She earned the name “Pioneer Woman Physician in India”. She went on to open an women-exclusive hospital in Bareilly in 1873. Although there had been resistance toward Christianity in those days, the Islamic king, the Nawab was inspired by the works of Clara that he donated lands for the hospital and encouraged her mission. This hospital spreads over 40 acres. She even established nurse training centres that led to the empowerment of skilled nurses grounded in the Christian faith. She treated more than 7000 patients in the year 1880 alone.
In 1885, she served the Queen of Rajput as her special doctor. Clara worked fervently to help people realise the love of Christ when she held such an honourable position. There were many who accepted Christ Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. After almost 27 years of medical mission in India, Clara spent her last days in Castile, New York. She went on to be with the Lord on December 25, 1910 and her remains are laid to rest in Grace Cemetery. Clara shined in every opportunity God provided her with and made even her highest social standing as a step closer to spreading God’s love.
Today, How do we utilise the opportunities that God gives us?