Name: unnamed steamship passenger
Number of Appearances: 1
Note: rescued from burning steamship
An unnamed woman who was a passenger aboard a burning steamship had a single line of dialogue. Her words show that she believes in "fate", or, in other words, God.
The woman was seen while she and all other passengers aboard the steamship were being rescued by Superman.
This woman appears in panel 2 of page 6 of the Superman story in Action Comics #17 (Oct. 1939). The appears to be a young, attractive Caucasian woman in her mid-thirties. She is wearing a red dress with a white jacket. This woman appears very similar to another female passenger - Nanette's mother - except that their outfits are different. (Nanette's mother wears a blue dress with a red jacket.)
The woman with the red dress with a white jacket is shown standing alongside two passengers looking over the rail as the steamship they are on is pushed by Superman toward shore. It is an amazing feat, seemingly all the more miraculous because few of these passengers have ever heard of the fledgling superhero.
The passengers are both relieved at Superman's help, but also worried because the ship is severely damaged and is still taking on water. One man says, "We're sinking lower!" A bald man next to him asks aloud, "Will we make it in time?" The unnamed woman in the red dress and white jacket answers him, saying, "It's in fate's hands . . . and his!"
By "his", this woman is referring to Superman. If we presume that "fate" is used here as a non-taboo euphemism for "God," the woman's statement here means that whether they make it in time or not is in God's hands, and in Superman's hands. The sentence could be rewritten as: "It's in God's hands . . . and Superman's."
The woman, who is apparently not familiar with Superman, may view him as an angel of God. Perhaps she is correct. Superman was clearly not intended by Siegel and Shuster as any sort of supernatural direct representative of Heaven. But if an "angel" is defined simply as a somebody who does the will of God or serves as the "hands of God" to bless others, then Superman would certainly fit this definition in this and countless other stories.
Nothing else is revealed about this unnamed female steamship passenger. But her only utterance is explicitly religious. Her precise denominational affiliation is indeterminate, but one can conclude that she is significantly religious.