Monica Storrs, daughter of an English Cathedral Dean, packed up her bags and moved to Canada at the age of 40. Obviously no coward, she arrived in the Peace Country in October 1929, just ahead of the winter and the Depression.
Monica described herself as middle-sized, middle-aged and fatally English. That may have been so, but she certainly took to the life of the Peace Country pioneer. No matter the weather, the people of the Fort St. John area could expect to see her galloping by on her horse. So intrepid was she, she earned the nickname “God’s Galloping Girl”.
The Galloping Girl was an anomaly in the Canadian north west, and not only as a single woman challenging the harsh lifestyle on her own. She was also the first missionary to perform regular services and teach Sunday School. She was brought up in the traditions of the Cub Scouts and Girl Guides and was eager to teach them.
Monica’s home, which she designed herself, also served as a dormitory for students from remote homesteads. For a time, one room was a community chapel. When space became a concern, Monica designed a new chapel to be built nearby.
Space, privacy, free time, luxury – all were given up in order to minister to her neighbours. “God’s Galloping Girl” was untiring in her service to the people of the Peace Country.
She must have loved her adopted land and the people in it. In her diaries, she recorded favourable descriptions of the natural setting and vivid descriptions of the people she met; their backgrounds, culture, and ways. No doubt she exaggerated the lure of the Peace Country as she knew it in order to attract other Anglican missionaries. This was another show of devotion to her new community.
The diaries have been published. God’s Galloping Girl: The Peace River Diaries of Monica Storrs, 1929 to 1931 and Part II, Companions of the Peace:Diaries and Letters of Monica Storrs, 1931-1939 are available from Google Books or Amazon. Of course you can also borrow them from your local library.
The editor added lots of footnotes with further information about people, places and events mentioned in the diaries. Enjoy!
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