Graham Staines, from Ipswich, Queensland, started working in remote tribal areas in India in 1965. From 1967 he worked with leprosy patients. In 1981, he met his future wife, Gladys in India where she had come to work and serve God. They continued serving God in India with their three children, Esther, Philip and Timothy until the untimely death of Mr Staines and his sons in 1999. Graham Staines along with his two sons, Philip and Timothy were sleeping in their jeep when they were killed by a radical Hindu group. Despite this tragedy, Mrs Staines stayed in India with her daughter, overseeing the completion of a hospital for leprosy patients in Orissa. She left for Australia in July 2004. Gladys returned to India in June 2006 for a visit, and in an interview underlined the importance of forgiveness. ‘In forgiveness, there is no bitterness and when there is no bitterness, there is hope. This consolation comes from Jesus Christ’.
In January 2005, India conferred a prestigious civilian honour to Gladys Staines. It was one of two Padma Shri awards given to foreigners. The award is given for distinguished service in any field. In October 2015, Mrs Staines received the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice for 2015. She was honoured for her commitment to the leprosy patients in the Indian state of Orissa. Mrs Staines said ‘I have never worked for awards, and was amazed to be chosen for this award. For some time, I have not been living in India. I periodically visit and take great interest in the work for leprosy being carried out in Orissa. I thank God for His help in enabling me to carry out the work in caring for people with leprosy, even after my husband was killed’. The Philip and Timothy Hostel was established in the Baripada district at Rajabasa to provide care and education for boys who had limited opportunity and future. In 2004 the Graham Staines Memorial Hospital was opened. The hospital provides a range of services, particularly for people with leprosy.
Some resources to consider:
Mayurbhanj Messengers: by Ailsa Rolley Published by: The Evangelical Society in Mayurbhanj, 1996. This book tells the story of the first 100 years of the Christian missionary work in Mayurbhanj district, which is in the north eastern part of the Indian state of Orissa. Kate Allanby left Brisbane aged 19 years with 4 other ladies. The 5 Barley loaves as they have been affectionately named, began working in East Bengal. At 24 years Kate felt called of God to begin work elsewhere, moving to India to establish the work there. Twenty others have continued the work.
Burnt Alive: The Staines Family and the God they loved” by Vishal Mangalwadi et al Published by: GLS Publishing, 1999. This book with a forward by Gladys Staines is a tribute to Graham Staines. It takes a look into the life and work of the man of God, among the socially outcast lepers, reaching out to them with love and compassion; and the inspiring story of the Mayurbhanj mission.
love-and-forgiveness: Graham Staines Memorial Lecture on Communal Harmony. LOVE and FORGIVENESS, a challenge to violence and aggression” by Dr A.K. Tharien Published by: The Society for Community Organisation Trust, 2004 This message was presented by the author, a highly qualified medical worker in India. This piece of writing challenges the issues of violence in a land where peace should be apparent.