The Taiwanese 台灣人 Tâi-Oân Lâng

Welcome to the Taiwanese Site! This is a collection of the stories of the past Taiwanese who had contributed to Taiwan in various aspects. We encourage readers' comments. Contact point, email contact at or ** Last Update April 26, 2012 **

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Marjorie Ingeleiv Bly 白寶珠 宣教師

Marjorie Ingeleiv Bly

Where there is love, there is life...

Marjorie Ingeleiv Bly was born in Henan, China, on May 30, 1919, to missionary parents John M. and Minnie S. Bly. She attended school in Northfield, Minnesota, graduated from St. Olaf College in 1941 and from the St. Olaf-Fairview Hospital Nurses Program in 1944. She first went to China in 1946 as a missionary nurse under the sponsorship of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Missionary Board. She left China in 1949/50, then returned in 1952 to the mission field in Taiwan, focusing on caring for and treating the many leprosy patients in the islands of Penghu.

Penghu, located in the middle of Taiwan Strait, little known by many foreigners, is a County consists of more than 90 islands. Some 80 miles east of Mainland China and 30 miles west of Taiwan, Penghu residents are mostly fishermen. During those years of Bly’s service in Makung, Penghu, Taiwan was known for her economic miracles from cheap labors in the early ‘60s advanced to the high tech exports in the 80’s and 90’s. Nevertheless, as in every other society, there were less fortunate people with disease such as leprosy who always needed extra care physically and spiritually. That was where Bly came in.

Bly was called Miss White (白姑娘) or Aunt White (白阿姨) or Grandma of Penghu (澎湖阿嬤). No matter what people called her, she was called with deep love and respect. When some Taiwanese news media arrived to interview Bly but not knowing where to go, a taxi driver was said to give them free rides, saying, “Make sure you write good stories about Miss White. We need more of Miss White here than ever.” That taxi driver later said softly that he was Bly’s patient once.

For the first twenty years or so Bly worked with a Roman Catholic priest Davide Luigi Giordan (何義士 神父) -- who also received award by President T H Lee. Bly was one of the first health care professionals in Taiwan who insisted of the privacy of the patients. She refused to give away any information of her patients other than to their immediate family members.

In 2006, after more than fifty years of dedicated work, she was able to report to the Superintendent of the Makung Hospital that she knew of no new cases of leprosy in Penghu in the previous two years and that the stigma of being treated for the disease had been nearly eradicated. That year and the year followed, the then Taiwan's President S B Chen visited her in Penghu to honor her for her lifetime of service to the Taiwanese people and to commission a statue of her to be built in her favorite Penghu Park.

Like many missionaries before her, Bly quietly and gracefully gave her life to the people of Taiwan. In her will, she had dedicated her last few thousand dollars to the people of Taiwan.

“What a beautiful sight! On the mountains a messenger announces to Jerusalem, ‘Good news! You're saved. There will be peace…"