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Jane Fison (?–1914)

'Mrs. Fison died this morning.' Such was the message which a telegram brought to us conveying the sad news that our dear friend for so many years had passed away from us. I have long ago ceased to hold the ideas which I once had about that which we call death. God is the God of the living, and I gladly accept the truths contained in that beautiful hymn (No. 833):—

'We must not say
That those are dead who pass away
From this our world of flesh set free,
We know them living unto Thee.'

And so, when the news came to us, the memories of past years came crowding into my mind, and I shared again the joys and sorrows, the doubts and fears, of my old friends, Lorimer Fison and his devoted wife and again rejoiced together with them in the home, at Essendon, as we had often done, on the success which had followed their labours in the Mission field. It is a defect, but one which it is not easy to remedy in our missionary histories that so little is said about the part taken by the wife of the missionary in the great work in which they are both engaged. Dr. Fison's lectures to the students at Navuloa were very valuable indeed to the men who had the privilege of hearing them, and are still regarded as classics in Fiji, but I venture to say that in many a Fijian home the lessons learned by the wives and daughters of the students from the loving counsels and from the consecrated life of my dear friend's wife had had an influence upon the family life of which the world knows little or nothing, but which has been of incalculable value to the families concerned, and to many other homes in Fiji. If my old friend had preserved the letters which he received from many of the old students, this statement would have received the most ample verification. Mrs. Fison lived a quiet, unobtrusive life at Essendon, but in Fiji she exercised an influence upon the students second only to that of her dear husband's, and in some respects even greater than his. I think I first met Dr. Fison in 1869, but I did not make the acquaintance of Mrs Fison and their family until 1875, when we were all fellow-passengers on board the John Wesley. I was then on my way to New Britain to establish the Mission there, and they were on their way to Fiji to begin their second term of service there. They had been located in Victoria for some years on account of Mrs. Fison's health, but the call of the work in Fiji was too strong, and they loyally obeyed the call. The friendship formed then has continued without fracture or break to the present time, for that which we call death can only remove for awhile the objects of our love, but is powerless against the love itself. During the years which have passed away since their return from Fiji I have had more opportunities for knowing Mrs. Fison than I had when they were in the Mission field, as I always shared in the hospitality of their home at Essendon whenever I visited Melbourne. She was a wise and good mother, but during the later years of her life the concern and anxiety which she had for the welfare of her children seemed to pass away entirely, and was replaced by feelings of deep gratitude to all her children for their loving care of her. She often spoke of this to me, and always with tear-dimmed eyes, which were more eloquent than any words in testifying to the sincerity of her thankfulness. She was a woman who invited confidence, and one to whom other women who were in distress or sorrow, naturally went, and none of them went away without the help, and comfort of her loving sympathy. She was intensely loyal to her Church, and was always more concerned about the spiritual life of its members, than she was about a mere increase of its numbers. No one could be more childlike than she was in her absolute belief in prayer, and she always took full advantage of her privileges as one of His children in enabling her to take all her trials and sorrows to her Father in Heaven, and asking for His guidance, and for all needful strengths She was a good woman, one who through many months of pain and weakness in the later years of her life, never wavered in her faith in the wisdom of her Father in Heaven, and never doubted His infinite love.

Original publication

Citation details

'Fison, Jane (?–1914)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Thomas, Jane

20 June, 1914
Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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