Girl  Evangelists
 
Mary Louise Paige
(1918-2004)

Mary started preaching at age eight or nine (reports differ) in Pentecostal churches. She is one of a handful of girls whose crusades are mentioned in the Evangel, the magazine of the Assemblies of God, her home denomination.

Schooling became an issue for itinerant girl evangelists. Mary stopped school in the fourth grade. After that, she had only two more years of schooling, under a private tutor. But the lack of training was not necessarily a handicap—or, at least, it could be spun into something more positive. As Mary said, given her limited schooling, her abilities must come from God. She commented: “God tells me what to say. No, I am never uneasy or nervous either before or after I preach. I am merely repeating the word of God.” Other girls said much the same thing about their skills.

The workload of many of the girls was often considerable. Not only would they need to spend some of their time with school work, their schedules were often heavy, with few breaks. In the four-year period from age eleven to fifteen, Mary had only one week of vacation.


For further reading:

Wayne Warner, A Child in the Pulpit,” Heritage 16.1 (Spring 1996): 3, 16-17. Warner subtitles his article: “A Common Sight 50 and 60 Years Ago.”

Mary Louise Paige
Age 16 (1934)
The pose with a Bible is fairly typical of girl evangelists.

[Photo: Newcastle (PA) News
(25 August 1934), 5

Married Name: Clutter

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