1878  — 1962

Marie Monsen

Norwegian missionary in China.

Monsen was a catalyst for the Shantung revival of the early 1930s. She had had an apparently disastrous first trip to China soon after 1900; then, in 1911, she came to Nanyanfu, Honan (Henan) Province, with the Norwegian Lutheran Mission. When missionaries fled the interior of China in late 1926 and early 1927, she visited missions in Manchuria, then went to Chefoo (Yantai) Shantung (Shandong) Province. There she met U.S Southern Baptist missionaries and participated in some dramatic prayer and healing sessions. She returned to Shantung in late 1929 or 1930, and this visit helped to spark a province-wide revival that soon included the U.S. Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, and others. It also influenced a more openly Pentecostal native Chinese “spiritual gifts” revival movement.

Monsen seems to have been a quasi-Pentecostal, stressing the baptism or fullness of the Holy Spirit in addition to an initial conversion experience, and her meetings were emotional if not disorderly. She was by all accounts soft-spoken, and it is not altogether clear why she prompted such strong response. An interesting feature of the Shantung revival was its clearly Pentecostal features occurring in anti-Pentecostal mission bodies.

Well known after the Shantung events, Monsen visited many other missions in the early 1930s. She dropped out it a sight after 1933 and presumably returned to Norway. Her book, The Awakening: Revival in China, A Work of the Holy Spirit, was published (in Norwegian) in 1959 (English translation by Joy Guinness, 1961).


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


Marie Monsen, A Present Help, Joy Guinness, trans. (1960; later published under the title Wall of Fire, 1967). Gustav Carlberg, China in Revival (1936), pp. 67-83; Mary K. Crawford, The Shantung Revival (1933); C. L. Culpepper, The Shantung Revival (1968).

About the Author

Daniel H. Bays

Professor of History and Director of the Asian Studies Program, Calvin College.