Archive for the ‘Florence Nightingale’ Tag

Feast of Elizabeth Fry (October 12)   2 comments

Above:  Elizabeth Fry

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIZABETH GURNEY FRY (MAY 21, 1780-OCTOBER 12, 1845)

English Quaker Social Reformer and “Angel of Prisons”

Elizabeth Fry comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via four sources.  The first is Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).  The other three sources are The Church of England; the Scottish Episcopal Church; and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Elizabeth Gurney, born in Norwich, England, on May 31 1780, grew up in a prosperous Quaker family.  Both parents, John Gurney and Catherine Barclay Gurney, had ties to banking.  John was a partner in Gurney’s Bank.  Catherine belonged to the family that founded Barclays Bank.  Our saint’s family was relatively lax, by Quaker standards.  They (gasp!) sang and danced.  The family also (horrors!) wore bright clothing to the meeting house.  Catherine died when Elizabeth was 12 years old.  Therefore, our saint subsequently helped to raise her younger siblings.  She also felt the calling to godly social service and greater personal austerity.

Elizabeth married Joseph Fry, a banker and a Quaker of Bristol, on August 19, 1800, when she was 20 years old.  The couple moved to London.  They raised twelve children (ten of whom lived to adulthood), born between August 1801 and October 1822.  Our saint eventually felt that her life, full of domestic duties, was distracting her from a higher calling.  Twelve years into married life, she wrote in her diary:

I feel that my life is slipping away to little purpose.

In 1813, our saint began her efforts in prison reform.  She visited Newgate Prison, where the inhumane conditions appalled her.  Women and their children shared cells and wore rags.  Some slept on old straw.  Others did not have even straw on which to sleep.  The next day, Fry returned with clothing and fresh straw for inmates.  Guards told her that the prisoners and children were savages who did not deserve such alleged luxuries.  After helping female prisoners and their children in these ways for years, Fry began to help them in another way in 1816; she founded a prison school for the mostly illiterate prisoners and their children.

Above:  Newgate Prison

Image in the Public Domain

Fry’s prison reforms were controversial at the time.  Many conservatives accused her of being soft on crime.  If conditions in prisons were humane, what deterrent value would prisons have?  Our saint founded the Association for the Reformation of Female Prisoners in Newgate in 1817.  Female inmates learned skills they could use to support themselves and their children financially in the outside world.  This approach led to the founding of the British Ladies’ Society for Promoting the Reformation of Female Prisoners in 1821.  Our saint’s emphasis on rehabilitation was allegedly soft on crime.  Fry, who visited various prisons, worked to provide jailers and provide sufficient food as well as Bibles and care packages for long transport journeys on ships.  She also visited prisoner transport vessels, in use even after they became illegal in 1837.  Fry also lobbied for human conditions for prisoners throughout the realm.

Fry engaged in other humanitarian work, too.  In 1824, she founded the Brighton District Visiting Society.  Volunteers visited the homes of the poor, to assist them.  Across the island, this model of social work duplicated.  Our saint also campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade.  The school for nurses Fry founded in 1840 provided nurses to Florence Nightingale’s humanitarian effort during the Crimean War.

Despite much criticism from the right, our saint had prominent admirers and supporters.  Among these were King Frederick William IV of Prussia (reigned 1840-1861) and Queen Victoria (reigned 1837-1901).  Queen Victoria contributed financially, too.  Also, Fry’s work inspired prison reform legislation in Europe.

Fry cared deeply about the poor and sought to address that perpetual poverty.  She started a nightly homeless shelter in London in 1820.  She and brother Joseph John Gurney (her business manager, and her financial benefactor after husband Joseph Fry went bankrupt in 1828) studied systemic and widespread poverty in Ireland.  Brother and sister wrote a report then published it.

Fry helped other populations, too.  Mental asylums have long been cruel and notorious places.  Fry worked to reform and improve the treatment of the insane and the mentally ill in Britain, too.  Our saint also helped seamen.  In 1836, she helped to provide libraries in Coast Guard stations and some naval hospitals.

Fry’s main literary legacy may be her Texts for Every Day in the Year, Principally Practical and Devotional (1831).

Our saint, aged 65 years, died in Ramsgate, England, on October 12, 1845.  Seamen at Ramsgate flew their flag at half-staff in her honor.  This showed great respect, for, to that point, they had only honored deceased British sovereigns in this way.

For further reading, I refer you, O reader, to archive.org, from which books about Fry are available for free.

Do we see the image of God in the poor, vulnerable, and despised?  Elizabeth Gurney Fry did.  Do we care enough about others to reach out to them?  Elizabeth Gurney Fry did.  Her faith found expression in her actions.  She, being a Quaker, affirmed that the “Inner Light” of God exists in each human being.

The challenge the legacy of Elizabeth Gurney Fry poses to the rest of us is great and morally proper.  This is the challenge to believe–really believe–that each human being bears the image of God and contains the divine Inner Light.  Those who really believe this act accordingly.  They make political enemies, create controversy, and improve lives.  They challenge exploitative social attitudes, structures, and institutions.  They live the Golden Rule.  How this looks varies according to circumstances, such as time and place.  The principle is constant, though.

The Baptismal Covenant in The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes the following text:

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May we–you, O reader, and I–do so, with God’s help.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 9, 2021 COMMON ERA

FRIDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MARTYR, 1945

THE FEAST OF JOHANN CRUGER, GERMAN LUTHERAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND HYMNAL EDITOR

THE FEAST OF JOHN SAMUEL BEWLEY MONSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET; AND RICHARD MANT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF LYDIA EMILIE GRUCHY, FIRST FEMALE MINISTER IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

THE FEAST OF MIKAEL AGRICOLA, FINNISH LUTHERAN LITURGIST, BISHOP OF TURKU, AND “FATHER OF FINNISH LITERARY LANGUAGE”

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Gracious and loving God,

you bring good tidings to the afflicted,

bind up the broken-hearted,

and proclaim liberty to the captives;

we thank you for sending Elizabeth Fry into the prisons

with words of comfort and deeds of care:

grant that all who minister to those in prison

may be filled with your compassion

and be bearers of your hope;

through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

or

Blessed are you, Jesus our good shepherd,

in Elizabeth your minister.

Year after year she visited women

in prisons and asylums.

May we too understand and care for people unconditionally.  Amen.

Genesis 39:20-23

Psalms 41 or 82

Romans 12:9-21

Matthew 25:31-45

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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Feast of Amalie Wilhemine Sieveking (July 24)   Leave a comment

Above:  Stamp Depicting Amalie Wilhemine Sieveking

Image in the Public Domain

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AMALIE WILHEMINE SIEVEKING (JULY 25, 1794-APRIL 1, 1859)

Foundress of the Women’s Association for the Care of the Poor and Invalids

Also known as Amelia Wilhemina Sieveking

German Lutheranism did not provide many avenues for laywomen to serve in the world.  Amalie Wilhemina Sieveking pioneered social work in Germany, inspired the revival of the ancient order of deaconesses in the Lutheran Church, founded an order for laywomen, and advocated for greater educational opportunities for females.

Sieveking, who chose never to marry, and to devote her life to service instead, came from Hamburg.  She, born there on July 25, 1794, was the only daughter and one of four children of Caroline Louise Sieveking and Heinrich Christian Sieveking, a merchant and a senator whose financial fortunes declined due to the Napoleonic Wars interrupting commerce.  Caroline died when our saint was five years old.  Heinrich died in 1809, leaving the four children orphaned.  The children scattered among relatives, and Sieveking’s educated suffered because she had to work sewing embroidery.  Yet, in 1813, she opened a school for girls.  She spent the rest of her life pursuing various causes, including opening more educational opportunities to females.

Under the influence of Pietism (which is not all bad) Sieveking, aware that the poor would always exist, decided to help many of them.  On May 23, 1832, she and 12 other women became the original members of the Women’s Association for the Care of the Poor and Invalids.  The Association consisted of laywomen who volunteered in their spare time.  In 1859, when Sieveking died at Hamburg, the Association had grown to 85 members and included a number of institutions.  One of those was the hospital at Kaiserwerth–the first Protestant hospital in Germany and, in time, the first modern school of nursing.  Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) trained there, and Pastor Theodor Fliedner derived inspiration to revive the order of deaconesses in the Lutheran Church.

If Wikipedia is trustworthy (a questionable proposition much of the time) regarding Sieveking, April 1 is her feast on a Lutheran Calendar of Saints.  However, my primary sources, which contain Lutheran calendars of saints, do not support this claim.  Sieveking does belong on a calendar of saints, of course, so I am glad to add her to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, with a feast day in July.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 10, 2018 COMMON ERA

PROPER 5:  THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES OF NISIBIS, BISHOP; AND SAINT EPHREM OF EDESSA, “THE HARP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GETULIUS, AMANTIUS, CAERAELIS, AND PRIMITIVUS, MARTYRS AT TIVOLI, 12O; AND SAINT SYMPHOROSA OF TIVOLI, MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDERICUS OF PARIS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF THOR MARTIN JOHNSON, U.S. MORAVIAN CONDUCTOR AND MUSIC DIRECTOR

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Priscilla Lydia Sellon (November 20)   1 comment

Priscilla Lydia Sellon

Above:  Priscilla Lydia Sellon

Image in the Public Domain

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PRISCILLA LYDIA SELLON (MARCH 21, 1821-NOVEMBER 20, 1876)

A Restorer of the Religious Life of The Church of England

The description of Priscilla Lydia Sellon comes verbatim from Common Worship (2000), the most recently approved alternative to The Book of Common Prayer (1662) in The Church of England.  It is a fitting description, for Sellon’s work was pioneering in the realm of Anglican religious orders for women.

Sellon, born at Hampstead, England, on March 21, 1821, was a daughter of Commander Richard Baker Sellon of the Royal Navy.  Her mother died shortly after giving birth to her, and the commander remarried eventually.  Our saint grew up in a loving home and blended family.  She also grew up in much economic comfort.

On January 1, 1848, Sellon heard and answered a call from God.  That summons was a vocation to educate poor children in Plymouth.  Our saint, at a young age, routinely worked long days; a 16-hour-long work day was relatively light.  She founded a free industrial school for girls, a night school for boys aged 12-16 years, a school for starving children, and a home for the orphans of sailors.  Sellon also assisted female emigrants and prepared people for baptism and confirmation.  In 1849 she and a few other women founded the Society of the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Spirit, of Davenport.  This was controversial, given the ubiquity of anti-Roman Catholic bias in English society, the English press, and The Church of England.  The Oxford Movement was so controversial that some of its opponents accused Tractarians of being in league with Satan.  That controversy over the Oxford Movement disrupted church life in the Anglican Communion for decades and framed the debate over Sellon’s humanitarian order.  In that controversy Richard, our saint’s father, offered a vigorous defense of his daughter and her religious work.

That work was essential.  Early on it included tending to patients in London suffering from cholera in 1849.  Five years later Sellon sent some members of her order to Crimea under the authority of Florence Nightingale, who supervised medical care in the context of the Crimean War.  Our saint, paralyzed in 1861, continued the good work until her death.  In 1864, for example, she answered Emma Rooke‘s request that the order commence work in the Kingdom of Hawai’i.  The mission station at Honolulu opened later that year.

Sellon died at West Malvern, England, on November 20, 1876.  She was 55 years old.  Her order has ceased to exist, but the legacy of its work is everlasting.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

PROPER 15:  THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CROFT, ANGLICAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN MYRICK DANIELS, EPISCOPAL SEMINARIAN AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF MATTHIAS CLAUDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MAXIMILIAN KOLBE, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (July 18)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Westminster Abbey, 1913

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number =  LC-USZ62-107039

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ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY (DECEMBER 13, 1815-JULY 18, 1881)

Anglican Dean of Westminster and Hymn Writer

A singularly gentle, attractive, and fascinating personality, he was universally beloved, and by his character won the homage of sceptic and believer alike, and of those who, theologically, were most implacably opposed to him.

–James Moffatt, Handbook to the Church Hymnary (London, UK:  Oxford University Press, 1927, pp. 507-508)

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley‘s family informed his adult life in profound ways.  His father was Edward Stanley (1779-1849), who became the Bishop of Norwich, serving from 1837 to 1849.  Our saint’s brother, Owen Stanley (1811-1850), joined the Royal Navy and explored the South Pacific Ocean.  The saint donated the baptismal font of ChristChurch Cathedral, ChristChurch, New Zealand (http://www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz/), in his memory.  Our saint’s sister, Mary Stanley (1813-1879), was a Tractarian who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a nurse who worked with Florence Nightingale, encouraged an active role for religion in nursing, and devoted herself to a variety of philanthropic causes.

Arthur, educated at Rugby School under Dr. Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), and at Balliol College, Oxford, published his biography of the old school master in 1844 and became the basis of a character in the Thomas Hughes novel, Tom Brown’s School Days (1857).  Our saint took Holy Orders in 1839.  He spent much of his career at Oxford, first as a tutor.  He was  Broad Churchman–a radical moderate–at a polarized tine.  Although he was neither an Evangelical (a Low Churchman) nor a Tractarian/Anglo-Catholic (a High Churchman), he favored toleration for adherents of both pieties.  Since High Church tendencies were especially odious to many, advocating for toleration of them proved quite controversial.  But Arthur did have a Roman Catholic (formerly Anglo-Catholic) sister, so he did know someone whose piety he defended yet did not share.

Arthur, like his father, was a liberal by the standards of the day.  He supported the continued establishment of The Church of England while advocating the end of the requirement that students at Oxford affirm the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.  He favored The Book of Common Prayer (1662) yet thought that reciting the Athanasian Creed in public should be optional.  He focused on what united Christians instead of what divided them.  Thus he was a natural ecumenist who favored Presbyterians preaching from Anglican pulpits.   He also gave some Unitarian  scholars communion once, prompting strong criticism.  Our saint, the leading liberal Christian theologian in Great Britain at the time, earned widespread respect and much opposition from his right and his left simultaneously.  But his generosity of spirit was never in question.

Our saint wrote about twelve hymns, including the following one, which features a Transfiguration theme:

O Master, it is good to be

High on the mountain here with Thee,

Where stand revealed to mortal gaze

The great old saints of other days,

Who once received, on Horeb’s height,

The eternal laws of truth and right,

Or caught the still small whisper, higher

Than storm, than earthquake, or than fire.

—–

O Master, it is good t be

With Thee and with Thy faithful three:

Here, where the apostle’s heart of rock

Is nerved against temptation’s shock;

Here, where the Son of Thunder learns

The thought that breathes, the word that burns;

Here, where on eagle’s wings we move

With him whose last, best creed is love.

—–

O Master, it is good to be

Entranced, enwrapt, alone with Thee;

Watching the glistening raiment glow,

Whiter than Hermon’s whitest snow,

The human lineaments that shine

Irradiant with a light divine:

Till we too change from grace to grace,

Gazing on that transfigured face.

—–

O Master, it is good to be

Here on the mount with Thee;

When darkling in the depths of night,

When dazzling with excess of light,

We bow before the heavenly voice

That bids bewildered souls rejoice,

Though love wax cold and faith be dim,

“This is My Son!  O hear ye Him!”

Our saint published his Memoir (1851) of his father and the Commentary on the Epistles to the Corinthians (1855) after becoming the Canon of Canterbury Cathedral in 1851.  As Canon he toured Egypt and the Holy Land in 1852-1853.  Then he wrote a book based on his journey.

Arthur returned to Oxford as the Chair of Ecclesiastical History and the Canon of Christ Church Cathedral in 1856.  During that tenure he toured Russia in 1857.  Then he based a book on that task.

In 1863 our saint, passed over for an opportunity to become the Archbishop of Dublin, became the Dean of Westminster instead.  That year he married Lady Augusgta Bruce (died 1876), who was close to the royal family.

Arthur Penrhyn Stanley was correct:  It is better to focus on what unites us as Christians than on what separates us.  I distrust doctrinal purity tests, which seem designed chiefly to affirm the orthodoxy of those who design and/or apply them.  Besides, I fail such tests consistently.  So did Jesus, so our saint and I have much better company in our relative heterodoxy and generosity of spirit.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 19, 2013 COMMON ERA

PENTECOST SUNDAY, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDREW BOBOLA, JESUIT MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT DUNSTAN OF CANTERBURY, ARCHBISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF CHARTRES, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT IVO OF KERMARTIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND ADVOCATE OF THE POOR

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Arthur Penrhyn Stanley,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60