Bertha Manarey


Bertha A. Manarey
Surname as Student: Manarey
Education: Presbyterian Missionary and Deaconess Training Home
Graduation Year: 1913
Designated: April 04, 1913
Where: Presbytery of Toronto
Denomination: Presbyterian Church of Canada, United Church of Canada
  • 1972 - Died, April 2

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Bertha A. Manarey was born in 1886 in Goring, Ontario, amid the Blue Mountains near Georgian Bay in Ontario.  Her parents, Joseph (1856 – 1920) and Mary Martin(1856 – 1943) had at least two children, Mary A. was born four years after Bertha.

Bertha entered the Presbyterian Missionary and Deaconess Training Home in 1911 and graduated with the two year diploma in April 4, 1913, the same day that she was designated as a Deaconess by the Presbytery of Toronto.  In 1926 Bertha became a United Church Deaconess.

Bertha’s first appointment as a Deaconess, under the auspices of the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, was to India, and she must have felt a strong call to serve God in overseas work because she remained there for her entire career.  At her retirement in 1946 after 33 years in India, she returned to southern Ontario, residing in Berkeley, near where she grew up.  She died in 1976.

A search through the records of the Woman’s Missionary Society of the United Church, and the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society, might reveal more about her life and work.  The WMS were good at keeping track of their employees and fostered good communication between the missionaries and home.

Bertha is buried with her parents and sister at Temple Hill Cemetery in Euphrasia Township in Grey County.  This is a picture of her headstone.

The Presbyterians published An Ancient Gateway in the Heart of India, The Defenders of India British and India Troops  The Work of the Canadian Presbyterian Mission, J.T. Taylor, 1916.  (The full text is online) It gives a flavour of the work, and the attitudes toward mission and colonization prevalent at the time.  Even the title is revealing.  Bertha would have experienced a very dramatic shift in the perspective on mission during her career, and certainly in her life time.


This biography was written by Caryn Douglas, November 2012.