Monday, 2 June 2008

Florence Nightingale

What a fascinating TV programme last night about Florence Nightingale!

I had been working away all weekend and missed the beginning of the programme, but was fascinated to see a glimpse of how Florence's faith helped to motivate her compassion, and informed her grief over the mistakes she made.

There's an interesting discussion on some of the controversy raised by the programme on the Times Online (click here for a link).

For myself I have always warmed to someone who yearned to devote herself to serving God, but could find no place within the church for her gifts, and wrote these words about the Church of England:

'I would have given her my head, my hand, my heart. She would not have them. She did not know what to do with them. She told me to go back and do crochet in my mother's drawing room, or, if I were tired of that, to marry, and look well at my husband's table.'

Of course, if she had become a deaconess, hospitals might not have been transformed in the way they were, but it was still a tragedy that an intelligent and capable women had to work by using her position, intrigue and subterfuge.

Having just returned from a vocations conference, I was fascinated to be reminded of this remarkable woman, a women who was determined to follow the call of God.

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