Whiting, Ragnhild and Sister Marjorie Raphael, Society of St Margaret, Haiti

Reference code(s): GB 0237 Edinburgh University, CSCNWW 21
Held at: Centre for the Study of World Christianity, University of Edinburgh
Title: Whiting, Ragnhild and Sister Marjorie Raphael, Society of St Margaret, Haiti
Date(s) of contents: 1956-1992
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 1 box


Name of creator(s):
Whiting, Ragnhild (b 1912)
Raphael, Marjorie (b 1923)

Administrative/Biographical history: Ragnhild Almquist Whiting (Rhon), Anglican physiotherapist and missionary in Haiti, was born in Norway in 1912 and trained as a physiotherapist there. She settled permanently in Canada in 1933 where she married and raised two daughters. In 1962 she took a year's physiotherapy course at McGill University and then worked as a physiotherapist until her retirement in 1977, a year after the death of her husband. At that time she was living in Windsor, Ontario and, in 1980, was sent by the Huron Diocese of the Anglican church to Haiti to help in the orthopaedic clinic of St Vincent's School for handicapped children in Port-au-Prince. The school was started by the Society of St Margaret, an Episcopal religious community of women based in Boston that first went to Haiti in 1927. Whiting returned to Haiti every year for six to eight months at her own expense and from 1985 was an associate of St Margaret's. During the remaining months she was in Canada giving talks and attending events to raise money and interest in the Society and the work. In 1984 she helped to organise a Physiotherapy Association in Haiti and throughout her time there she was involved in training and encouraging rehabilitation workers. She was in Haiti during a period of political upheaval and was working at the Hospital Sainte Croix, Leogane during the election of Aristide in 1990. Whiting left Haiti for the last time in 1991. She was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Windsor in 1990. Sister Marjorie Raphael was born on 17 October 1923. She was a member of the Society of St Margaret and worked in Haiti from 1955 to 1963 and from 1978 to 1994, often based at St Margaret's convent in Port-au-Prince. Both Whiting and Raphael were still alive in 2001.

Custodial history: The material was collected by Kari Morris, daughter of Ragnhild Whiting, either from material sent to her by her mother or from material sent by Sister Raphael.

Immediate source of acquisition: The collection was donated to the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World c early 1990s by Kari Morris from Aberdeen.


Scope and content/abstract: The collection consists of two main series: (1) Ragnhild Whiting material which includes: biographical information on Whiting (1986-1990); diary and journal entries by Whiting describing her work in Haiti (1980-1991); notes for talks and addresses given by Whiting on Haiti (1985-1990); material for a biography of Whiting by her daughter mainly abstracts from journals and letters (1980-1992); letters to Whiting about her work (1986-1991); newsletters, pamphlets and circulars relating to St Margaret's and Haiti (1986-1991); and press cuttings on Haiti (1986-1991); and (2) Sister Marjorie Raphael material: newsletters and circular letters from Raphael at St Margaret's Convent in Haiti (1956-1989).

System of arrangement: The material is in three files arranged as described above.


Language: English, French and some Creole.

Conditions governing access: Contact the repository for details.

Conditions governing reproduction: Contact the repository for details.

Finding aids: A handlist is available.


Related material: The main offices of the Society of St Margaret are in Boston, America, where they hold a great deal of material about Haiti.

Publication note: Some of Whiting's journal entries were used by her daughter as a basis for a draft biography, the manuscript of which is in the collection.


Archivist's note: Compiled by Caroline Brown, Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, Edinburgh University.

Note: The biographical history was compiled using the following material: (1) the collection itself, (2) the web pages of the Society of St Margaret, and (3) information from Sister Marjorie Raphael.

Date(s) of descriptions: 7 July 2001


Personal names
Raphael | Marjorie | b 1923
Whiting | Ragnhild A | b 1912

Corporate names
Society of St Margaret