Today the church remembers Florence Nightingale, Nurse, Social Reformer, 1910.The suffering, wounded soldiers of the Crimean War named Florence Nightingale “The Lady of the Lamp.” When the fighting ended at sunset and the corpses of the dead and the bodies of the wounded lay strewn about, “Sister” Florence Nightingale, with her lamp, would appear and help. To this day her name is a symbol of courage and compassion. Born to British parents in Florence, Italy, in 1820, she was a devoted Christian and an Anglican. In fact, she sought holy orders at a time when the church did not ordain women. She studied nursing with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity in Alexandria, Egypt, and with the Lutheran deaconesses at Kaiserswerth in Germany. Nightingale"s attention was drawn to the shameful lack of care for the wounded of the British army. Her valiant efforts to reform the situation brought her both fame and infamy, for some considered her no more than a camp follower. She returned to England after the Crimean War and founded the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas" Hospital, London, but her health had been broken by months of overexertion in the war, and she was a near invalid. She wrote Notes on Nursing, which became a standard text for nurses throughout the Englishs-peaking world. Florence Nightingale is a worthy patroness of faithful nurses everywhere who, “watching late in pain,” bear her lamp of mercy to the suffering. Inspired by your servant Florence Nightingale, we ask you to lead us to those who need our care and strengthen us to serve them. Amen.
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Life-giving God, you alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness unto those who follow the lead of Florence Nightengale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.