Mary Slessor; Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Woman

By Dee Raptor

On Oct 5, 2020


Born in Aberdeen, Scotland on the 2nd December,1848. She was Mary Slessor, daughter of a cobbler who was also an alcoholic. She was destined by God to be one of His greatest blessings to Africa. Though afraid of dogs, yet full of courage was she to the works to which the Lord called her.

Early Years:

Mary and some of her peers were led to Christ by an old widow on a cold winter afternoon. She had them seated around her fireplace and showed them in few concise words what lay in store for all who reject God’s gift of salvation in Christ Jesus.

She did not mince words, neither did she water down the truth of eternal punishment. She did not present it in a way that appeals to our weak, shrinking, easy-going, ‘must be nice’ approach to presenting the gospel of Jesus. These children though young as they were, needed the salvation God offered in Christ.

There at that moment Mary was convicted of her need of a saviour and in no time was rejoicing for her salvation. From that moment on she no longer lived for herself but to the glory of the one who saved her.

She was now able to be a help and comfort to her mother because Mr. Slessor her father had fallen into the habit of excessively drinking intoxicants which only got worse with time. Her mother was always stretched thin when it came to feeding and clothing her children. She as well as Mary had to work in a factory, as her father was no support to the home spending every penny he could to get a drink.,

Starting from the tender age of eleven years, she worked at the factory for fourteen years. During which she cultivated her mind in spite of the strenuous routines.

Preparing for The Mission Field:

Added to this, she attended the services in Wishart Church, to which her mother belonged; and she took a class in the Sunday School. When a Mission was started at 6 Queen Street, she volunteered as a teacher. Later on, the Mission was transferred to Wishart Pend, where she had charge of classes for boys and girls, both on Sundays and week nights.

E. E. Enock and J. Chappell in their biography of her wrote thus, ‘’Wherever Mary Slessor went she exercised a marvellous influence. The rough lads adored her; the women and children in the darkest, poorest houses where she visited, looked for her eagerly, and many a sad mother was braced and comforted by her courage and cheerfulness. In the factory, the strength and sweetness of her character influenced the workers to such an extent that the whole community seemed to feel it.’’

Mary utilized every opportunity to learn, and the papers she wrote were unusually excellent, and her writing skill and a spiritual insight not often found at such an early age. And so, unconsciously, she was being fitted for her life work, and advancing step by step nearer to the task which was destined for her by God.

Mary's mum always had a heart for the Calabar Mission and God used her to stir the same desire in Mary. So when it was time for Mary to go, her mother gave her consent gladly since both her sons she had hoped to give to the lord for missions had died.

Mary's decision to take the path of missions met with mixed reaction from her friends. While some gave their full support, others were not so enthusiastic.

And though her heart was set on Calaba she made it clear she was willing to go anywhere her church mission board deemed fit to send her.

On 5th August 1896, at the age of 28 she sailed for Africa.

Mission Work:

Mary Slessor did most of her ministry work among the EFIK people in the Calabar region of Nigeria. although she is best known for her efforts towards the abolition of the killing of twins she was very instrumental in the spread of the word of Jesus Christ in that region.

She also helped to stop the practice of determining guilt by having the suspect drink poison.

She laboured for 36 good years despite the continuous breakdown of her health. she was also constantly preventing the killing of retinue of wives and slaves on the death of a chief.

Mary Slessor had a genuine love for people and she also had a sincere passion to see the lost come to the saving knowledge of Christ.

Above all things Miss Slessor was a pioneer, she had a drive that pulled her only to go forward to preach the salvation that is in Jesus where it had usually never been preached. She was a kind advocate and resolved conflicts between individuals and communities with great skill and tact. She stayed true to the call up till her death. Mary Slessor went to be with the lord on January 13th 1915. She was 66 years old, she was buried in Duke town and her coffin was draped in the Union Jack.

E. E. Enock and J. Chapell give a very detailed account of her life in their book titled, “Ma”, the missionary Heroine of Calabar..


“Ma”, The Missionary Heroine of Calabar, A brief Biography of Mary Slessor by E. E. Enock & J. Chapell.

About The Author

D. D. KUYET alias "Dee Raptor" is a Christian HipHop Artiste/Rapper. He is also a graduate of Food Science and Technology. He is a contributing writer at lightwk