Paraguay Mission to Lepers

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The Paraguay Mission to Lepers was projected by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in cooperation with the Fernheim Colony in 1945 as an expression of appreciation to Paraguay for its reception of the Mennonites from Russia in 1930. The assistance of the American Leprosy Mission was secured, which paid two thirds of the cost of the buildings and operations (in the 1950s), the rest coming from the MCC budget for work in Paraguay with a small support from the Mennonites in the Chaco. Dr. John Schmidt of Mountain Lake, Minnesota, was appointed director of the work in 1950, which was located east of Barrio Grande, 50 miles (80 km) east of Asuncion, on land purchased by the MCC. Originally one clinic was conducted here, and two others at Coronel Oviedo and Kilometer 81. The latter was the only one in operation in 1956; it treated 180 patients during the year. Emphasis was put on ambulatory treatment, the doctor going out to the grass huts where the people lived. A territory of about 5,000 square miles was registered with the Paraguayan government as the area of MCC work, within which the mission tried to find and treat all leprosy cases. The Paraguayan Mennonites helped with voluntary service workers. Paraguay in the 1950s had an incidence of about 3-5 per thousand, one of the highest incidences of leprosy in South America.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Paraguay Mission to Lepers." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 19 Oct 2019.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1957). Paraguay Mission to Lepers. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 October 2019, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 326. All rights reserved.

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