Snelling, Susan Elizabeth Murph (Mrs. John G.)


April 6, 1876 - March 27, 1951
The announcement of the sudden and unexpected passing of Mrs. John G. Snelling was received with profound sorrow by a wide circle of friends throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. She had been in failing health for some months, but even those of her own family were not prepared for the sudden turn of events which swept her through the heavenly gates.
Susan Elizabeth Snelling was born at Evergreen, Louisiana, on April 6, 1876. She was the daughter of James Murdock Murph and Mary Cullum Frith. She had two brothers who died in early childhood leaving her the only child of the family. In her early years, she united with the Protestant Episcopal Church and was a devoted member of that Communion until some years after her marriage when she and her husband joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, he having felt a call to preach. In the Church of her adoption, she gave thirty-four years of faithful and effective service as the wife of an itinerant minister and the mother of the parsonage family.
On October 17, 1894, she was married to John G. Snelling at Bunkie, Louisiana, and to them four children were born. Mary Muxph, her first born and only daughter, died at the age of eight months. Her three sons, Dr. John G. Jr., Monroe, Louisiana, Dr. Murdock Murph, Gulfport, Mississippi, and Clarence H. Snelling, Denham Springs, Louisiana, are sharers with their father in the sorrow for her going. She leaves nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren, as follows: Mrs. Patricia Pipes, Mrs. Joan Bancroft, Miss Kay Snelling Robert G., Murdock Murph, Jr., Miss Isabelle, Reverend Clarence H. Jr., Miss Mary Murph, and Alvar Clyde Snelling, Sylvia Snelling, and Bonnie Bancroft.
After their retirement from active service, Mrs. Snelling and her husband decided to return to “Mary Land”, their plantation home where they began their married life, where their children were born, and from which place they went as crusaders for Christ. The old home was no longer suited to their needs, and they built a new house where they planned to spend their sunset years together. Before the house was completed the shadows were beginning to gather in her path, her dreams for the years ahead soon came to an end, and she entered the Father’s house in triumph.
She died on March 27, 1951, and the following day was buried from the Methodist Church at Bunkie, Louisiana, and her body was laid to rest in the Pythian Cemetery. The services were conducted by Dr. W. L. Doss, Jr., the pastor, assisted by Dr. B. C. Taylor, of New Orleans, Louis-iana, Reverend Jolly B. Harper, Alexandria, Louisiana, and Reverend Nelson Daunt, rector of the Episcopal Church at Bunkie. Thus ended the earthly story, but her beautiful life and work go on.
Mrs. Snelling was a woman of marked personal charm and social grace. She was a devoted wife and mother, she exhibited a radiant faith in God, the justice of a well-poised mind, and the balance of a spirit-filled life. In all her relations, she personified the Golden Rule, and she was a patriotic citizen with an unswerving devotion to Christ. Beyond the golden rim of the sunset, her life a memory, she is still a beacon of hope and inspiration for those who knew her best.
Domestic virtues seem as commonplace in a life as cultured and refined as hers was, and the wealth of her soul was best revealed in the field of social work. She lived at her best and gave of her ripest thought and devotion in her work with young women crushed by a sense of shame and embittered by tragic betrayal. Her service at the institution now known as “The Methodist Home Hospital”, located in New Orleans, was humane and profoundly Christian in spirit, it was praiseworthy as a social enterprise, and a marvel of spiritual achievement. She entered upon the work without technical training, and at a time when there were few landmarks by which she might steer her course. She had a passion for the souls of those in the toils of sin, and she had a will to help her sisters who were in great social and spiritual need. So, with steadfast faith in God, she worked to maintain a place of refuge and to keep open a door of hope for unwed mothers, and to secure for their innocent babes a name and a chance in life.
Mrs. Snelling supervised the institution from the office to the laundry; she planned the meals for the adults; she studied dietetics and, in cooperation with the. medical staff, planned and helped prepare the formulas for the babies; she supervised the nursing; counseled the young women; and consoled their broken-hearted parents. She felt the need for a better understanding of the details of hospital work, and she spared no effort to overcome the deficiency. She took a course in nurses training and received a certificate from the Chicago School of Nursing; she learned to administer anesthetics; she attended conferences of social workers; and she kept in touch with the organized social agencies of the City. She followed that daily and exacting routine for twenty long and weary years at times serving day and night, and she exhibited throughout the spirit which Jesus manifested toward the women taken in adultery: “Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more.
She gave freely of her best and her all in the last-to-be-occupied and least appreciated field of social need, toiling in season and out of season in behalf of those whom the world treated with icy indifference, and when the Master comes to make up his jewels Susan Elizabeth Snelling will surely receive His approval for the twenty years of service in which she translated Christianity into reality for hundreds of young women in des-perate need of its redeeming power.
Mrs. Snelling was firmly convinced that Jesus Christ died to save men from all sin, and she was sure that:
“Down in the human heart,
Crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart,
Wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.

She needs no eulogy and no material monument to attest her Christian heroism and her sacrificial devotion, for her name is indelibly imprinted upon the life and thought of the many whom she helped. The brightest star in her crown is her compassionate and unfailing friendship for those mothers for whom the “blessed event” held no glamour and nothing of the radiance of hope which, under ordinary circumstances, thrill the mother heart. Her earthly tabernacle has been dissolved, and her beautiful life is a memory now; but He who said to his sorrowing disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless”, anchored that promise in the assurance of immortality when He added, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” With confidence, therefore, we look forward to the restoration of fellowship with our loved ones in that “Building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 176-178, 1951 by W. L. Duren.

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