The director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s (AIT’s) Kaohsiung Office paid homage to late US nurse Marjorie Bly in Makung City (馬公市), Penghu County, last Wednesday, honoring the US citizen’s life devotion to caring for patients with Hansen’s disease (commonly known as leprosy).
Christian Castro laid a bouquet of flowers at a statue of Bly, known locally by her Chinese name of Pai Pao-chu (白寶珠).
In his address, Castro honored Bly for her lifetime of patient care on Penghu, where she lived for 54 years before passing away on April 8 this year. He said the devotion she showed not only won her the respect of the public but also inspired others to care for the needy.
He expressed appreciation to the Penghu County Government for giving the nurse the assistance she needed to do her job, and expressing hope that the spirit of Bly’s selflessness would be passed down through the generations.
Bly, born in 1919 to a US missionary family, came to Taiwan at the commission of the Lutheran Church on Nov. 17, 1952, to provide care for leprosy patients and their families through an outreach clinic.
In 1954, she moved to Penghu. She performed follow-up care and treatment for all Hansen’s disease patients in the county and advocated their inclusion in society.
Because of her great love for the island’s residents, locals called Bly “an angel sent by God to Penghu.”
In April last year, she received the country’s highest civilian award, the Order of the Brilliant Star with the Violet Grand Cordon, from former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
Out of love for the place she called home for 54 years, Bly asked in her will that her remains stay on Penghu.
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