Vreni Mark


Directrice of Maison Schweitzer in Günsbach   1987-89                                                                                                                  

Why Reverence for Life (RfL)?

In Switzerland where I was born, my teacher had a box on his desk, into which we could put our pocket money, which was then sent to the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambarene. The teacher told us the story of Albert Schweitzer, and I became very enthusiastic and started saying that one day I would go and work there!

Later, when I was a hotel and catering manager, I received a phone call from the college where I had studied, asking whether I would be ready to go to Africa. I gave notice and travelled to Lambarene in September 1962. I had an amazing time and although it was very hard work, to be around Schweitzer every day was wonderful. After 6 months Albert Schweitzer blessed my engagement to an Austrian architect called Percy Mark who was working there at the time and 6 months after that, when my replacement arrived, I left for England and we were married. After Schweitzer died in 1965, I joined the British Committee, organizing events, talking to schools and traveling with Dr. JamesWitchalls, our then President, to various Symposia behind the iron curtain (as it was then) as his interpreter and secretary.

In 1986, when Mlle Ali, one of Schweitzer’s trusted secretaries, died, I succeeded her as Directrice of the Albert Schweitzer House in Gunsbach, France until a permanent French couple could be found. Then I became secretary of Dr. Schweitzer’s Hospital Fund. Although i have now passed on the membership secretary role to Joy Shepherd, i am of course still very much involved as a trustee of the charity.



Reverence for Life UK (incorporating Dr. Schweitzer’s Hospital Fund) is a registered charity in the UK. Charity No. 1102057