Aileen Coleman, RN
Co-Founder of Annoor Sanatorium and Medical Missionary to the Bedouins in Jordan
For over 60 years, Aileen Coleman has ministered to the physical and spiritual needs of the Bedouins, traditional goat and sheep herders who claim direct lineage from Abraham’s son, Ishmael. Coleman is known by many names—“Angel in the Desert,” “a-Raisa” (the Leader), and “the Mother Teresa of Jordan,” but she prefers the less dignified phrase: “the Desert Rat.”
The Australia native committed her life to missionary service shortly after graduating from Queensland University with a degree in nursing. She left the comforts of family and home in the 1950s to join the staff at Baraka Hospital near Bethlehem. It was here that she and the hospital’s medical director, Dr. Eleanor Soltau, were called by God to found a new ministry to Bedouins in Mafraq, Jordan.
With $150 in savings between them, the two young women experienced miracle after miracle as God provided a rented building to function as the first hospital, resources, and most of all, people who shared their passion for the Bedouins and came alongside them to make that vision a reality.
Since then, the Annoor Sanatorium has treated thousands of desert nomads for tuberculosis and other deadly diseases, offering them compassionate care and sharing the love of Jesus Christ. A new 40-bed facility was built in 1973 on 25 acres outside of the town of Mafraq. Two satellite clinics were started in the 1990s to expand outreach to Bedouins in other parts of Jordan. The sanatorium celebrated its 50th anniversary in June 2015.
Coleman’s work among the Bedouins has been recognized by Queen Noor of Jordan, who presented her with the Queen’s Medal in 1989. She was also made a Member of the Order of Australia by Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Currently Coleman serves as the Senior Director for Ministry Partnerships with the Mafraq Sanatorium Association.