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Our Mission World, May 1918

Dr. Catherine Travis [center?] and Serbian Refugees, 1918


In 1915, Dr. Travis travelled to Serbia with several colleagues "to carry help to the babies and little children of this interesting land" by opening and operating the Mabel Grouitich baby hospital. As many Serbian doctors had recently died in a typhus epidemic, Catherine's party planned to try to save those babies "who might otherwise die from starvation and exposure." The medical team found many children suffering from consumption, malaria, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and malnutrition, and they began immediately to dispense medicine and supplies. But their work was soon interrupted by the invasion of Serbia in 1915, when the team was forced to abandon the hospital and attend to wounded soldiers at the battlefront. In her lively missionary report, Catherine candidly described two of the children she left behind: one who was "pretty," affable, and "the pet of the hospital," and another who was "not so friendly," always demanded bread, and never said "if you please."