Missionary on wheels : Frances Hatton Eva Hasell and the caravan mission
Fast, Vera K.,
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The Canadian West, from Manitoba to British Columbia, was a rough and raucous place at the dawn of the twentieth century. Settlers were pouring in to claim the land in unprecedented numbers. Their needs were immediate and urgent; they must build shelters for themselves and their livestock; clear and cultivate land for crops and gardens; somehow provide clothing and other neccessities of life for their families; dig wells, cut trails and build fences. Drought, torrential rains, hail or prairie fires could obliterate overnight what had taken months to grow or build. Yet the Church dared remind them that "Man cannot live by bread alone," even when the strain to provide the "bread alone" took every herculean effort of virtually every waking minute. And in their quiet moments the work-numbed settlers, at least a goodly number of them, also recognized their need and longed for the comforts of their Church, whichever one it might be. Into this vista of loneliness, inadequate spiritual sustenance and material destitution later accompanied by drought, depression and war, strode the resolute, indomitable, thoroughly British and Anglican person of Eva Hasell, She shared with enthusiasm the conviction which the Church of England in Canada saw as its mandate: "Keep Canada British! Make Canada Christian!" But she also yearned to alleviate the sorry plight of the many "foreigners," especially women and children, whom she encountered. This thesis wi11 attempt a biographical study of this remarkable, strong-willed woman and her work, the Sunday School Caravan Mission. The story is told with little reference to the wider condition and work of the Anglican Church, to say nothing of other Churches or political and cultural developments. But that is how she lived her life. She seldom, if ever, read a newspaper or listened to the radio; television touched her life on on1y one known occasion. She worked in the most isolated regions of the Canadian West and she worked extremely long and rigorous hours. Her work was her world and that world is what this thesis will seek to describe and understand.