Archive for the ‘Elizabeth Kenny’ Tag

Feast of Elizabeth Kenny (September 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Elizabeth Kenny

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIZABETH KENNY (SEPTEMBER 20, 1880-NOVEMBER 30, 1952)

Australian Nurse and Medical Pioneer

Elizabeth Kenny, known globally as Sister Kenny, was a nurse who improved the lives of countless numbers of people.  She did this by (1) being correct, and (2) persevering in the face of strong official opposition.

Kenny, born in Warialda, New South Wales, on September 20, 1880, was a daughter of Irish-born farmer Michael Kenny and Mary Moore, a native of Australia.  Our saint, with little formal education beyond primary school, became a home-care nurse in 1910.  She rode on horseback in the area of Nobby, Darling Downs, Queensland, providing free health care.  She opened a hospital in Clifton prior to World War I.  Her career of helping people had just begun.

Kenny, a Methodist, needed to help people medically.  From 1915 to 1919 she served in the Australian Army Nursing Service, working aboard vessels bringing wounded military personnel home.  Her rank was Sister.  Back home in Nobby, Kenny became the first President of the Nobby chapter of the Country Women’s Association.  In 1927 she patented the “Sylvia” ambulance stretcher, designed to reduce the shock of patients during transportation.  Five years later, at Townsville, Kenny founded a clinic for polio and cerebral palsy patients.  That was when she began to run afoul of the Australian medical establishment.

At the time the standard medical treatment entailed immobilizing the affected limbs.  Kenny, however, offered different treatment; she used hot baths, discarded braces, and encouraged active movement in limbs.  She opened a second clinic–in Brisbane–in 1934, then continued to open more clinics across Australia and overseas–as in Surrey, England, in the late 1930s, and in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1942.  Her therapeutic methods initially alarmed the medical establishment and, for a time, the government of Queensland.  Yet Kenny’s methods worked.  She trained medical professionals around the world, and they trained others, et cetera.

Kenny received many honors.  There were, of course, honorary degrees.  She was the subject of a movie, Sister Kenny (1946), starring Rosalind Russell.  According to a Gallup poll in 1951, our saint was the woman Americans admired the most.

Some have criticized Kenny for not taking criticism well.  In other words, she did not suffer fools easily.  Why should she have done so?

Kenny, who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease during her final years, died in Toowoomba, Queensland, on November 30, 1952, after a stroke.  She was 72 years old.

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God of compassion, we thank you for your light visible in your servant, Sister Elizabeth Kenny,

who triumphed over strong opposition,

revolutionized therapy for those afflicted with polio,

and improved the lives of many.

Lead us by your love to recognize how to help others most effectively, and to act accordingly.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 38:1-14

Psalm 26

Acts 3:1-10

Mark 5:24b-34 or Luke 8:42-48

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 26, 2018 COMMON ERA

PROPER 16:  THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM HERZBERGER, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT LEVKADIA HARASYMIV, UKRAINIAN GREEK CATHOLIC NUN, AND MARTYR, 1952

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LUIGI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI AND MARIA CORSINI BELTRAME QUATTROCCHI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC HUMANITARIANS

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA OF JESUS, JORNEY Y IBARS, CATALAN ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND CONFOUNDRESS OF THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE ABANDONED ELDERLY

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