Penner, Martha Richert (1881-1957)

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Martha Richert Penner was born 15 February 1881 in Goessel, Kansas. She received her deaconess training at the German Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. On 24 August 1909, she married Peter A. Penner, and later that year they went to India as missionaries for the General Conference Mennonite Church. Her husband had founded the Bethesda Leprosy Home in Champa, India, in 1902.

Martha served a widespread community with her medical skills, until other medical personnel arrived in November 1925. Martha was known as a gracious hostess to the lowly as well as to high officials who visited in her home. Although she had no children of her own, she was a loving mother to many healthy children of parents who had leprosy (Hansen's Disease), and to her stepdaughter Miriam. She and her husband retired from the mission field in 1941. She died in Newton, Kansas in October 1957.


India Missionaries, Twenty-Five years With God in India. Berne, IN: Mennonite Book Concern, 1929: 45, 187-188.

Juhnke, James C. A People of Mission: A History of General Conference Mennonite Overseas Missions. Newton, KS: Faith and Life, 1979: 28, 32, 33, 91.

Moyer, Samuel T. They Heard the Call. Newton, KS, 1970: 29­-33.

Schmidt, Miriam Penner. "My Stepmother—Personal Data" Unpublished. Located with Ruth Ratzlaff, Newton, KS.

Author(s) Ruth Ratzlaff
Date Published 1987

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MLA style

Ratzlaff, Ruth. "Penner, Martha Richert (1881-1957)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 28 Feb 2020.,_Martha_Richert_(1881-1957)&oldid=93267.

APA style

Ratzlaff, Ruth. (1987). Penner, Martha Richert (1881-1957). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 28 February 2020, from,_Martha_Richert_(1881-1957)&oldid=93267.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 688. All rights reserved.

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