“Mother” Suppes


Glancing through the evening paper, Jennie Suppes noticed that the government had purchased the Arrowhead Hotel as a rehabilitation home for wounded and dispirited soldiers. A vision suddenly swept over her! If the government could afford $100,000 for its own, her God, greater than any government, could surely provide a haven of rest for “His soldiers of the Cross,” weary and worn from worldwide spiritual conflict! Suppes threw the paper down and dropped to her knees, asking God for $50,000.

For five years, Suppes prayed for the funds with a heart so “filled with a burning faith” that she “would not have been surprised if [the money] had dropped from heaven above in a sack.” The answer came, not from the sky, but from 4,000 feet below some undeveloped land she owned. There, after fi ve years of often discouraging drilling, a “gusher” began producing 5,000 barrels of oil each day. When $50,000 worth was pumped out, the well “sanded in,” leaving Suppes praising God but regretting her faith hadn’t reached the government’s $100,000 investment level!

In 1922, a retired missionary tells of spending a night in one of two cottages in Glendale, California, the humble beginning of a “Mission Colony” that would grow to some 40 residences, a chapel, a 46-bed convalescent hospital and the Suppes Memorial Home for retirees. And, as the vision became reality, for half a century, missionaries, hundreds of them, came—some on furlough, others to retire—all finding a home in “The Colony,” supervised by “Mother” Suppes.

She had earned that title years earlier, when her husband of just eight years died and Suppes had to support herself by operating a boarding home for single working girls. She called “mothering” these homesick girls through their many struggles “God’s schooling” for her. She came to realize that missionaries on furlough and in retirement also needed a place to be “at home.”

Although Suppes is remembered primarily for providing homes for countless retired workers, one missionary got it right, referring to her as the “prayer warrior of Glendale.” The intercessory prayer that provided the $50,000 to create “The Colony” remained at the heart of her life. She fervently prayed for all those for whom she had provided a home, as well as the many widespread needs God laid on her sensitive heart. Each night, until reaching her heavenly home at age 95, she prayed: “Thank You, Heavenly Father, for this nice quiet room, these kind people that help me and all the good food and the loving hands that prepared it.”

This self-effacing woman didn’t seem to realize that it was her faith in God that allowed so many others to join in similar thanksgiving. In founding The Alliance, A. B. Simpson insisted that “the foreign mission has . . . a place for everyone.” Although she never served abroad, Mother Suppes found her unique place in world missions. Have you?

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