Former Missionary Receives Ontario’s Highest Honor
Miss Mable Alice Porter of Shelburne, Ontario, and former Disciple missionary to India, 1954-1991, was appointed to the Order of Ontario on January 28, 2010, for dedicating her life to others and setting a shining example of selflessness. The 83-year-old spent more than 50 years as a working nurse in Canada and India.
At the ceremony, which is held to honor current or former Ontario residents for conspicuous achievements in any field, Alice stated, “The news of the honour was as close to shock as I’ve ever felt. At first I wanted to work with the native peoples in Canada, but there were no placements and the church said they needed people in India. So, I went.”
Miss Porter received her certificate in nursing in 1952, along with her BA from the University of Toronto. In 1954, Alice was sent to India through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to work primarily in public health nursing and nursing education with Jackman Memorial Hospital and the Jackman Memorial Nursing School in Bilaspur. In 1970, Alice was asked by the Catholics to start a school for them in a very rural village area (Kunkuri, not far from Bilaspur). In 1980, she transferred to the ecumenical Graduate School For Nurses where she was in charge of Public Health courses. This school had been started by former missionaries Ruth Mitchell and Anna Bender in Bilaspur Hospital and is now a degree program run by the Christian Medical Association of India. She continued in community health nursing until her retirement in 1991. She still remembers one of her greatest achievements as being able to persuade a doctor to come to administer medication to a patient while working in India. “It was a challenge because she was so busy, and because I couldn’t order the medicine, but the patient was in need. You had to be persuasive.” Her students included the future head of the Salvation Army in South India and a health director working for 18 non-government organizations in Central Nepal.
Asked what her most joyful memory of her many years of service was, Miss. Porter replied, “Well, it’s the same answer you’ll hear from many nurses, seeing people get well and go home.”
“Retirement” brought Miss Porter back to Shelburne, Ontario, where she helped to start the Shelburne and Area Chaplaincy Network, providing chaplaincy services to patients in long-term nursing facilities and local hospitals.
Congratulations to Alice upon the conferring of the Order of Ontario by the Canadian Province of Ontario may be sent to: 217 Sarah Court, Apt. A, Shelburne, ON L0N 1S2, Canada.