Aunt Tena, Called to Serve: Journals and Letters of Tena A. Huizenga, Missionary Nurse to Nigeria

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Aunt Tena, Called to Serve: Journals and Letters of Tena A. Huizenga, Missionary Nurse to Nigeria Powered By Docstoc
					Aunt Tena, Called to Serve:                                                                            least as catechists) and the emergence of
Journals and Letters of Tena A.                                                                        grassroots organizations (notably, Base
Huizenga, Missionary Nurse to                                                                          Christian Communities) also earned the
Nigeria.                                                                                               church many plaudits, even when such
                                                                                                       initiatives were sometimes treated with
Edited by Jacob E. Nyenhuis, Robert P.                                                                 suspicion by the hierarchy back in the
Swierenga, and Lauren M. Berka. Grand                                                                  Old World. The church also championed
Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009. Pp. xxxii, 944. $49.                                                           human rights, acted as a peacemaker,
                                                                                                       and did much to lay the seedbed of Latin
Tena Huizenga was a missionary nurse                    The third point to be made is that these       American democracy. Such contributions
working under the auspices of the                  materials collectively offer a most helpful         reaped rich rewards, and Cleary reveals
Christian Reformed Church of America               picture of social life on a mission station         that, among the region’s institutions, the
(CRC) from 1937 to 1954, mostly at                 and the interpersonal dynamics between              Catholic Church ranks higher in opinion
the Lupwe mission station in British               missionaries and African Christians,                polls than the government, the media, the
colonial Nigeria. Aunt Tena, Called to Serve       expatriates and indigenes. Coming from              police, or the military.
reproduces an extensive selection of her           a thickly layered social universe in Dutch               Cleary sees Catholic spiritual life in
correspondence during her career. Aunt             Chicago, Aunt Tena endured a loneliness             Latin America as brimful of confidence
Tena was an energetic letter writer with a         that was palpable in her early writings.            in its popular religiosity, encounters
                                                   Yet the book has very few missives from             with indigenous faith traditions, and
                                                   the last stages of her career. Perhaps this         more recently the Catholic charismatic
                                                   is because as matron (some of her African           movement. The region’s theology has
OMSC’s free online database, compiled in coop-     correspondents addressed her “Mother”)              also matured beyond all expectation: forty
eration with Yale Divinity School Library, lists   to an equally complex social universe in            years ago it was “derivative” (p. 106);
over 6,100 doctoral dissertations in English       Nigeria, she found little time to write.            today it is one of the engines of Catholic
on mission and world Christianity. Search by                              —Andrew E. Barnes            thought. Cleary is sometimes a little too
author, title, subject, keyword, and institution                                                       dismissive of the Pentecostal challenge,
at        Andrew E. Barnes, Associate Professor of History,   and occasionally too devoted to past
                                                   Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, is the    victories, but he amply demonstrates that
                                                   author most recently of Making Headway: The         rumors of Latin American Catholicism’s
sharp eye for the pathos of everyday life          Introduction of Western Civilization in Colonial    impending demise have been greatly
and some real skills at narration. She was         Northern Nigeria (Rochester Univ. Press 2009).      exaggerated.
also someone who (as the letters to her                                                                                         —Jonathan Wright
attest, especially those from her Afri
Description: [...] it is a very large book. [...] the book was not edited with a scholarly Audience in mind.
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