Heroes of the Faith: Helen Roseveare

Helen Roseveare was born in 1925 in Hertfordshire, England, and went to Cambridge University to study medicine at the end of the Second World War. There she began to attend the Cambridge Inter Collegiate Christian Union, the CICCU. Soon Helen received Christ and resolved that her medical skills would be used on the mission field and, upon qualifying, applied to the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade (WEC) to be a medical missionary. Helen was a woman endowed with intelligence, skill and determination but with a tendency to be impatient, domineering and a perfectionist.

Listen to Podcast Episode

After completing studies in missions, French, and tropical medicine, Helen was sent to the remote north-eastern corner of the Belgian Congo – now the Democratic Republic of the Congo – in 1953. There she founded a school that trained women to be both nurses and evangelists. In 1955 she took over another maternity and leprosy centre and, with the aid of local support, transformed it into a hundred-bed hospital with a training school for paramedics and many linked rural clinics.

Helen was, however, a victim of her own success and her directors in the mission struggled to deal with an independent-minded single woman who had the desire and ability to take the initiative. After deepening problems between her and her management, a discouraged Helen returned to England in 1958 to receive further medical training. She struggled with her future and, feeling that her problems on t