Clarinda, Sati was a practice among Hindu communities where a recently widowed woman immolates herself on her deceased husband’s pyre. The orthodox Indian society shunned widows, and therefore the only solution for a widow was to practice Sati, as it was considered to be the highest expression of wifely devotion to a dead husband.
Clarinda was one of the very few fortunate women who was rescued from such a barbarous act. Clarinda whose maiden name was Kokila belonged to a prominent Maratha Brahmin family. Shortly after her marriage, her husband who worked in the Royal court of Thanjavur died.
When she was about to commit Sati, an English officer named Henry Lyttleton saw her plight and rescued her from being burnt alive. Lyttleton introduced her to the Christian way of life.
Clarinda ministry in Tamil Nadu, India
In 1778, Christian Friedrich Schwartz who was actively ministering in those parts of Tamil Nadu baptized her and christened her Clarinda. Soon after her baptism, Clarinda committed herself to the missionary cause in several parts of Tamil Nadu. She moved to Palayamkottai and ministered among women especially among the widows, orphans, and the underprivileged.
She was successful in gathering a small congregation and started conducting the worship services. In 1785, Schwartz visited Palayamkottai to consecrate the church built by her and named it Clarinda Church. She also went on to construct churches and schools in the neighbouring villages of Palayamkottai.
Clarinda was a remarkable woman with a sharp spiritual perception. She managed to take a middle course between the ideal and reality and was successful in establishing a church that treated everyone equally with no discrimination of any kind. In the course of her ministry, she faced innumerable difficulties from the Hindus, suffered political instability, and faced social injustice, yet she remained undaunted in her mission work.
Beloved, have you crossed the social barriers like caste, religion, and status, to preach the gospel?Take Away from the article
“Lord, strengthen me to cross the social and physical barriers to preaching the gospel. Amen!”Word of Prayer