Clarke, Mary Alice (Sister Alice) (1865-1905)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by James Pickett

Miss Alice Clarke, daughter of Mr. Henry Clarke, Circuit Steward of Nottingham Fifth Circuit, ascended to the “Father’s House” Monday, January 9th, 1905, and, for a great company of human hearts, the world is distinctly a poorer and lonelier place because of her translation. However, widespread as the sorrow is, and keen though the sense of loss, they are considerably tempered by the consciousness that she is liberated from a season of pain, which, for months past, has been agonising to behold. Hers was a large and varied soul, rich in the qualities which make life gracious and winsome. She possessed a clear brain, apt in discernment, alert in its operations, and safe in its judgments and estimates. She inherited a nature emphatically devout so that almost intuitively her dominant inclinations were towards the noble, the pure, and the good. It is not matter for wonder, therefore, that she exhibited more and more the attractive characteristics of an intelligent, well-balanced saintliness. Her essential religiousness evidenced itself in her early teens; her keen relish for the best things was clearly seen, even in her youth. Then, she steadily and persistently cultured her soul. Prayer to her was not a performance or a duty to be done; it was a welcomed and appreciated means of spiritual training; it was the atmosphere in which she rejoiced to live and move. And how she loved and revelled in the best literature! The choicest of the poets had a peculiar charm for her, and she fed the fires of her life as she worshipped at their shrine.

The Book of God was esteemed more than her daily food. Indeed, it was her food, her first and best nutrition, and she used it much and well.

The choice features of a devoted and whole-souled saint shone out in the quiet of the home, in the performance of the common task, and in the select circle of tender fellowships. Hers was a beautiful life in the secluded ways of human existence; and those privileged with her closest and most intimate friendship were the greatest admirers of her consecrated spirit. But it all gave striking evidence of itself in her behaviour as a Christian worker, specially as a sister of the people. Hers was a position for which she was unusually fit, and the warm appreciation which she received at the hands of the Church at Great Western Street, Manchester – with which she was, until her health broke down officially connected as Sister of the People – abundantly attested her value as a helper of the faith of others. She was passionately devoted to her work; scrupulously conscientious in its performance, down to its smallest details; full of sympathy and tenderness, particularly to the young and the poor; and ever on the watch for chances of ministry, and for opportunities of doing the Master’s service. It was inevitable that she should be influential; her ability, her deepening devotion, her fine circumspection, made it sequential. And her value was recognised by the Great Western Street Church: a church which did itself immense honour by its generous treatment of her in the early days of her sickness, and when her labours were, therefore, partial and broken. It is probably not at all incorrect to say that a large number of our young ministers, who, during their collegiate course, worshipped at that church, owe not a little to her gracious example and her devoted service. Her last days were days of acute suffering, but, even as a sufferer her spirit and her speech were delightfully Christian.

She lived long, though she lived just less than forty years, because she lived strenuously and well. We rejoice in her usefulness, we thank God for her presence and the inspiration of her godly life, and though we sorrow at her departure, we are well assured of her triumph, and that the trophies of her saintly and sagacious life will abide for ever.


Alice was born abt1865 at Nottingham to parents Henry Clarke, a hosiery manufacturer, and Agnes Brailsford.


Primitive Methodist Magazine1906/72

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