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Gladys May Aylward (24 February 1902 – 3 January 1970) was a British-born evangelical Christian missionary to China, whose story was told in the book The Small Woman, by Alan Burgess, published in 1957.
Film of her life
The life of Gladys Aylward was made into the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman, in 1958. The film was produced by Twentieth Century Fox, and filmed entirely in North Wales and England. Many things in the film were not true to the life of Gladys. However, it brought her some fame. This allowed her to speak to groups in many countries about her true work and love for Jesus.
Gladys was not accepted by missionary societies due to her lack of education. She saved money for the train fare. She went to China on her own to work with an older woman. After that woman, Jeannie Lawson, died, Gladys took over her work. Much of her life was spent caring for orphans. During the Second World War, she rescued many orphans who had been abandoned or whose parents had been killed. This involved dangerous journeys with the children to get away from places where the war was raging. She finally settled in Taiwan in 1958. There, she founded the Gladys Aylward Orphanage, where she worked until her death in 1970.
- IDEA - Magazine of the Evangelical Alliance Jan/Feb 2018 p.18 with photo
- GLADYS AYLWARD, MISSIONARY, DIES. 4 January 1970. https://www.nytimes.com/1970/01/04/archives/gladys-aylward-missionary-dies-briton-who-prompted-inn-of-sixth.html. Retrieved 4 August 2019.