MISSIONARY - RACHEAL SAINT

RACHEAL SAINT
[Born : 02 - 01 - 1914]

Missionary Career


Her first missionary assignment was to Peru, but she had an interest in Ecuador as this is where her brother, Nate Saint was working, so in February 1955, Rachel and her colleague, Catherine Peeke went to a missionary station near the Waorani (also known as Huaorani) territory. Rachel settled in very quickly and immediately started to learn the language with the help of Dayuma, a Waorani woman who had left her people after a dispute and was being sheltered by the missionaries.

In January 1956, five missionaries, including her brother Nate Saint, were killed in the area by the Waorani people. As a result of this tragedy, Rachel Saint considered herself spiritually bonded to the tribe and in 1957 she embarked on a tour of the United States with Dayuma.

In the summer of 1958 Rachel returned to the Waorani in Ecuador and, together with Elisabeth Elliot (wife of Jim Elliot who had also been killed by the Waorani), continued to evangelise. In February 1959 the two women, as well as Elliotís young daughter were granted permission to move into a Waorani settlement, and the government of Ecuador allowed them to create a missionary reservation.

Whilst Rachelís efforts to convert the Waorani people to Christianity ended a fierce war which was threatening to wipe them out altogether, there was some criticism that the teaching of Christianity changed the Waorani religious and cultural distinctives, as well as introducing new ideals such as monogamy and use of clothing. The missionaries also encouraged the Waorani to give up communal living and had them build houses for each married couple.

When criticism of Rachel Saintís actions at the missionary reservation emerged, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (now SIL International) sent the anthropologist and missionary, James Yost to investigate. Yost had worked for more than ten years among the Waorani and his report was highly critical of Saintís work, so much so that in 1976, SIL ordered her to retire.


Later Days


Rachel Saint decided to leave the SIL but continued her work with the Waorani. She returned to the United States where she raised funds before returning to Ecuador where she stayed until her death from cancer on November 11, 1994. She was buried in ToŮampare, Ecuador where she had lived with the Waorani.