As Nursing historian Newton observed a half century ago “The discovery of facts is a science, the exposition of them an art”. I have tried to make this as much art as science. Historians often look at nursing--and women religious—as being powerless in a Man’s world. The women here proved them wrong. The metaphor of the tree, of growth, of fecundity is strongly associated with this movement that provided the IMPRIMATUR for Nursing in America and beyond, indeed, for nursing world-wide (p. 24). Newton, M. (1965). The case for historical research. Nursing Research
But this is also a journey. A journey of discovery. It proved to be a life-changing expedition. Is she looking forward to where she must go, or back from where she has come? This project taught me that we need to do both to enjoy the rich complexity of life.
The purpose of this historical research project was to expose the connection between The Deaconess Movement of the mid to late 19 th century and the emergence of nursing as a woman’s profession in the early 20 th century. The stimulus for this project was my discovery of Parish Nursing in 1989. The rest, as they say, is history
We have a heritage, a legacy if you will. While the deaconesses of a century and a half ago paved our path, the obstacles they experienced are still with us today…in part because we are women, in part because of the religious—hence “self-less” nature—of these beginnings. Revival of the female diaconate in the early 19th century was a harbinger of the woman’s professions as well as the Woman's suffrage movement of the early twentieth century. The deaconess movement eased the transition for all women--secular and religious--from their "place" in the home to their "responsibility" in the public sphere. Nursing was integral to this "woman's work". Formal training for Protestant women in their new nineteenth century role as protectors of the public hearth began in the Lutheran deaconess motherhouse in Kaiserswerth Germany and came to America in 1849.
Let’s begin at the end. Cemeteries tell the real story for historians . This picture from the website of the American Association of Nursing History depicts the Woodlands cemetery where a group of deaconesses who came to Philadelphia in 1884 are buried in the section known a s “the nurses’ corner”. Two young nursing students—Mark Concepcion and Edward Chen took these photos for a class project with Dr Karen Bulher-Wilkerson. While this website reports that this was the “first group of deaconess-nurses to arrive from Germany in 1884”, my research revealed that they were in fact, the second wave. The first group came in 1849. http://www.aahn.org/gravesites/deaconess.html
What did these deaconesses do for nursing? They brought nursing as a fine art to America. Creating healing institutions within the community that they both staffed and managed, these intrepid heroines of the 19 th century held a vision that gave life to hospital nursing schools, settlement houses and community health nursing organizations. They preceded their secular sisters and in many ways created the template for the later professional work of nurses as well as other work considered the women’s professions. I intend to show this trajectory as recorded in primary and secondary sources that illuminated my journey into the past.
These are the primary sources that fed my spirit as I travailed. I visited with the sisters of the Lutheran deaconess home in Gladwyne and spent a delightful week with them. The Women’s home missionary society annual reports of the Methodist Episcopal Church were made available to me by Deaconess Barbara Campbell, who offered valuable insights as I searched in their archives. Lutheran Medical Center and Methodist Hospital (now known as NY Methodist) all opened their archives to me. I had access to the full set of AJNs, beginning from 1900. Finally, I was gifted, by Sister Aasta, her copy of Sister Elizabeth Fedde’s translated diary. We will learn more about Sister Elizabeth in a few moments. The last living deaconess of the Norwegian Lutheran tradition in Brooklyn, Sister Aasta died in 2001.
Here are some of the nursing historians who provided both primary and secondary sources The voices of deaconesses and nuns could be heard through the pages of the early volumes of the AJN. The AJN is a rich resource for all nursing historians. It an serve as a primary source for many of the nursing issues important to nursing today. There was an overlap in these volumes of the reports of the work of the deaconesses and of nuns in community.
Some primary and secondary sources from the perspective of the religious community.
Secondary sources peripheral to the nursing perspective provided a three-dimensional view of the historical context as viewed through a distant lens. Welter in particular, provided the “prism of ideology” through which I viewed this subject. Women’s historians who studied the same era I was exploring acknowledge ideological significance of the Home sphere. According to Kerber, “between the historians and the reality of women’s lives impinged a pervasive, descriptive language that imposed (and here she is quoting Welter,) “a complex of virtues by which a woman judged herself”. We shall now take a look at that complex of virtues to see the imprint this had on the legacy left to nursing as embodied in these 19 th century deaconesses.
The attributes of True Womanhood, by which a woman judged herself and was judged by her husband, her neighbors, and her society could be divided into four cardinal virtues - piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity...Deaconess Ferard was an early deaconess of the Anglican tradition who embodied these virtues. The Episcopal church in America was the first to have deaconesses serving in parishes. Dr. Barbara Welter of Hunter College served as an advisor on this project.
This metaphor for the separate “sphere” of 19 th century womanhood was a widely accepted phenomenon by women historians of this era. Kerber, an historian reflecting on Dr Welter’s work some 3 decades later, noted in that Welter was “one of 3 historians who reinforced the centrality of “separate spheres” to any interpretation of the history of women of the 19 th century. Dr Welter used the term “Cult” as a pejorative. Kerber also commented on the salacious appeal of the “Cult” “ A stereotype so encouraging yet, constraining…” Commentary –Kerber, L. (1997). Toward an Intellectual History of Women - Essays
According to Welter, “from her home woman performed her great task of bringing men back to God”. The Young Ladies Class Book was sure that the "domestic fireside is the great guardian of society against the excesses of human passions”... Reflects Welter on extensive reading of this popular literature. “Even if we cannot reform the world in a moment,” this ideology reasoned, “ we can begin the work by reforming ourselves and our households - it is womans mission, the women of the era were told. Into their vapid Victorian endurance a “mission” emerged that would one day lead to professionalization of what began as “woman’s work”. “ Let her not look away from her own little family circle” the literature of the day warns, “ for the means of producing moral and social reforms” begins at home. Nightingale fell prey to this homebound “mission”, often commented on in her writings, complaining that it, “pulled her away from her real “work”. It was this contradiction that caught Nightingale in this Victorian birdcage.
Let’s focus on the VIRTUE of domesticity, as this is where nursing falls in the prism of cult ideology . In the home women were not only the highest adornment of civilization; they were expected to keep busy at morally uplifting tasks. Fortunately most of housework, if looked at in true womanly fashion, could be regarded as uplifting. Mrs. Sigourney—one of the writers in the popular literature-- extolled its virtues: "The science of housekeeping affords exercise for the judgment and energy, ready recollection, a patient self-possession, that are the characteristics of a superior mind." According to Mrs. Farrar, another popular magazine pundit, making beds was good exercise, the repetitiveness of routine tasks inculcated patience and perseverance...
NURSING Welter tells us, was Victorian Woman's most important function. “LORD KNOWS”, she continues, “there were enough illnesses of youth and age, major and minor, to give the nineteenth century American woman nursing experience”. The sickroom called—like a religious experience--for the exercise of her higher qualities of patience, mercy, and gentleness as well as her housewifely arts. She could thus fulfill her dual feminine function - beauty and usefulness...
Welter concluded that even while the women’s magazines and related literature encouraged this ideal of the perfect “true” woman, forces were at work in the nineteenth century which impelled woman herself to change , to play a more creative role in society. These forces--movements for social reform, westward migration, missionary activity, utopian communities, industrialism and of course, the Civil War--all called forth responses from woman which differed from those she had been trained to believe were hers by nature and divine decree. The very perfection of True Womanhood, moreover, carried with it the seeds of its own destruction. The paradoxical question became: “if women were so very little less than the angels, she should surely take a more active part in running the world” , especially as Welter observed , “since men were making such a hash of things..”.
Women of a century and ½ ago were expected to be both beautiful (outside and in-that is, morally) and useful…exercising their usefulness through domesticity—emerging, as we shall see, in the role of the “family nurse”, then the faith community nurse and finally, the professional secular nurse. This is a lithograph of the first DEACONESS HOME in Kaiserswerth Germany, which is where we are about to venture.
Theodore Fliedner, Lutheran pastor in Kaiserswerth, is the acknowledged founder of the Modern Deaconess Movement, just as Westberg bears that honor for PN. (CLICK) From 1836 until her death in 1846 after bearing 8 children for Fliedner, (CLICK) Fredrike Munster Fliedner served as superintendent for the Deaconess Institutions at Kaiserswerth. Fliedner and his first wife--"the mother of deaconesses" (Dock & Nutting, 1907, p. 25)-- built an empire of philanthropic institutions which evolved into practical training for women. Fredrike handled much of the administrative work of the new Protestant order as Fliedner provided the public relations that secured needed funds to continue the work. Dock & Nutting (1907) have noted "the historical disappearance of Fredrike and the complete identification of Pastor Fliedner with all of her creative and executive work" as "a characteristic example of the way in which the woman's share of the world's work has been generally ignored" (p. 24).
Deaconess institutions served educational & training needs of growing philanthropic empire fueled by the Charismatic Fliedner.. Back at Kaiserswerth, however, the women kept the home fire burning. In 1836, “ t he first deaconess of the modern era” we are told, “ was a nurse who had learned her vocation by accompanying her physician father on his house calls. Sister Gertrude Reichardt, the first deaconess at Kaiserswerth was “nearly fifty, single and thoroughly experienced” and “resourceful and skilful with her hands, tried and proved in the care of elemental human need” according to Fliedner’s biographer. Recognizing the need for someone to care for patients in the first deaconess hospital, a "home" functionally converted so that it might serve as a respite for the sick of the community he pastored, Fliedner recruited Gertrude for the work. She was also the first Probemeister, or Training Sister (Dock & Nutting, 1907). "She was an invaluable helper in the new enterprise and shared with the doctor the duty of giving instruction in nursing and hospital duties" (Bancroft-Robinson, 1889, p. 63). Tooley (1905).,credited Sr Gertrude with instructing Nightingale in Nursing Arts in 1851. Fredrike, Caroline and Gertrude were major stakeholders in the revival of the deaconess order, a "grain of mustard seed planted in the parochial garden at Kaiserswerth" on the Rhine (Wheeler, 1889, p.79).
Lavinia Dock advised in her turn-of-the century 4 volume “history of nursing” that “Now is the time for a nurse of the modern day pattern to make pilgrimage to this remote quiet corner, where the system of work from which her own has descended was first begun” . The most famous visitor to Kaiserswerth , however, responsible in large part for Fliedner's influence on "English Christians" and on nursing throughout the world, was Florence Nightingale From the very beginning, the spirit of community, self-improvement, and activism that brought 999 families together to form the Industrial Home Association that founded Mount Vernon, NY, in 1851 (Wentz, 1936). Nightingale published her response to this training. Her description of what that training consisted of is contained in your handout. As you read, THINK ABOUT THIS . IS IT NOT THE SEEDS OF OUR “NEW IDEA” OF SHARED GOVERNANCE!?
The seed at Kaiserswerth grew "into a mighty tree, reaching into heaven and extending its branches over the ‚whole earth," according to Reverend Schafer, "recognized authority" on deaconess work in Europe (Bachmann, 1959, p. 15). The "world began to make a path to Fliedner's door," seeking instruction, "helpers and guides" (Wentz, 1936, p. 63). One if these visitors was William Passavant, a Lutheran Minister from Pittsburgh . Passavant’s visit and pleas for assistance in 1846 resulted in a return visit from Fliedner himself several years later! Fliedner did not come alone, however…
In 1849, Sister Elizabeth Hupperts, who had been the head sister in the hospital in Berlin, was one of 4 brave women who accompanied Fliedner to Pittsburg. She came—brining her nursing team--to serve in the newly established Pittsburgh Infirmary (first “Protestant Hosp”). The first known nursing consultation service, they introduced service-oriented group nursing practice. They gave a foretaste of a new way to manage hospitals, along the lines of the description given by Nightingale in your handouts.
Katherine Louise Martens was the first American deaconess trained and consecrated on American soil in 1851, the same year Florence Nightingale was at Kaiswerswerth, learning the new way to be a nurse and to manage a hospital.
Let’s take a panoramic view to see where we are and where we are going. The Episcopal church had the first diaconate in US, in the 1840’s. It was somewhere between a Catholic sisterhood and a Protestant diaconate. As the Deaconess cause thrived in Europe, it came to American shores in 1849 as we have just learned. The movement languished, taking root in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, it had gained a strong foothold in three Protestant Denominations—Among the Lutherans, the Episcopal and finally, the Methodist Episcopal church where we are about to venture. Nightingale or “trained modern nursing” gained popularity in this era, with the introduction of the first secular nurse training schools on the Nightingale model in 1873-in NY, Connecticut and Boston . Both movements share an ideology rooted in the cult of true womanhood, through the VIRTUE of domesticity. Woman “ran’ the home, as Nightingale noted in her memoirs, reflecting the model of training she had seen at the Hospital in Kaiserswerth. Within this fertile soil, modern or “trained nursing” in the secular sphere grew; from this would come “Community Health Nursing” as we are about to see.
A tale of two Lutheran traditions. These women arrived in America in the 1880s. The outcomes of their struggles are quite different, in part due to the manner of their deployment. One strategy had better survival capacity as we shall see, both, however, promulgated the deaconess ideals about nursing and were models for those who followed. Women served to transform the Deaconess Movement initiated by Fliedner. As it took root, it reflected the character of the women who sculpted it, who made the processes work to their own ends--most notably through the evolution of the Motherhouse. This was not a part of Fliedner’s original vision; however, women of the Movement saw the absolute necessity of the Motherhouse to the preservation of the sisterhood. A Motherhouse in which to abide, both physically and metaphorically was essential for the work of the sisterhood to thrive and survive.
This woman was at the heart of my research. Her solitary arrival foreshadows her frustration and less-than ideal outcome
Sr Elizabeth left her motherhouse in Kristiana (now Oslo) to begin important community health work in Brooklyn. She founded the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Hospital as a result of her community assessment, which later became the Lutheran Medical Center. It was called the “Sisters Hosp” or “Sister Elizabeth’s Hospital” well into 20th century. The real gift she bestowed on nursing was the model of community health work practice she developed in her initial 3 years in the New World. The opening of “her” hospital in 1886 coincided with the unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in NY Harbor, a metaphor of the blooming spirit of the Social Gospel embodied in the work of women and men like Sr Elizabeth.
On to the German Lutherans of Philadelphia. Founded in 1860, the German hospital—not yet a Deaconess Hospital--reflected a cross section of German culture . In 1880, John Deitrich Lankanau, a wealthy Lutheran businessman became president of the Hospital's board. Chronicler of the Lutheran deaconess motherhouse in Philadelphia, Bachmann (1959), noted, however, “there seemed missing that personal sympathy, quiet refinement, good order and painstaking cleanliness so essential to the welfare of patients” (Bachmann, 1959). Lankenau encouraged Lutheran Pastors to join the hospital board and began to look “to German for the best nursing personnel agreeing on one answer : Deaconesses. Inquiries at Kaiserwerth, however, bore no fruit. Bachmann, E (1959). The Board, under Lanenau’s leadership, began to look elsewhere. In 1he 1930s this hospital was renamed Lankenau Hospital The story of the Philadelphia deaconess motherhouse, 1884-1959:SEVENTY FIVE
Lankenau himself took up the search. An independent sisterhood in Iserlorn Wesphalia Germany , expressed interest, however, in a letter to Lankanau the directing sister expressed “misgivings” . This letter is lost to us, however Lanakau letter in response—preserved in the Gladywine archive--noted, “Your thought to found MOTHERHOUSE is by no means outside the realm of possibility… indicting in his response, that his goal was …”n othing short of transplanting the blessed sisterhood of the diaconate to this country”
This was the culmination of the deaconess work in Philadelphia. Lankenau was good to his promise, and the Deaconesses had a communal home that continues today. The home in Gladywine carries on the tradition of the seven brave women who ventured to a new world in 1884. The core of deaconess ideology, Domesticity, embodied in the “home” or Deaconess Motherhouse, represented the final “virtue” of the cult of “True womanhood” moved into the public realm. Domesticity paradoxically provided the vehicle for women working outside of the home. And what of this first deaconess hospital in Philadelphia today? A hospital that imported deaconesses to provide that “personal sympathy, quiet refinement, good order and painstaking cleanliness so essential to the welfare of patients”? it is the flagship of several Philadelphia hospitals, and a Magnet Hospital.
Deaconess homes began doting the American landscape. The deaconess motherhouse set the stage for transition, from women as care-givers in the home to Woman as guardian of the public hearth , by providing a mechanism for legitimization. The “woman home” in all of its evolving manifestations--served to widen the sphere of domesticity (CLICK)…& every deaconess of the day, was a nurse. Domesticity was the driving ideology, one of the virtues of the Cult of True Womanhood. The argument as Kerber observed, became paradoxical leaving a window into the community or “public hearth” for women of the late 19 th century, to proliferate the nursing school nested within the hospital, a logical connection. The communal nature of the deaconess home proved appealing for women who chose service over marriage and childbearing. Settlement houses emerged as the new century dawned. Deaconess motherhouses dotted the landscape as nurse settlement houses grew. The expanding net of the Social Gospel—for which the deaconess work provided a practical arm—complimented the burgeoning public health movement supported by nursing work in settlement houses, bridging faith and science in a new “religion”
Here is the trajectory on a timeline. Our journey moves us forward as we trace the evolution of a movement emanating from GERMANY in 1836 propelled by an ideology—TRUE WOMANHOOD & DOMESTICITY (Click). On to the nascent developments within the Methodist Episcopal church (click)
Here was the hospital of the Bethany Deaconess society. Much like the Lutheran Home and Hospital this facility house nurse deaconesses working in the community and the patients they cared for within these walls. This deaconess society also had nurses serving in the Methodist Episcopal Hospital of Brooklyn. The Methodist deaconesses were more organized as a “Womans movement” than their ethnic sisters. They proliferated a network of community-serving organizations that became the seedbed for community health nursing.
Revival of deaconess office through Lutheran Church in Kaiserswerth set in motion events that culminated in emergence of community health nursing , a woman’s profession by the first decade of the 20th century. A shared concern for the social and spiritual well-being of those living in neighborhoods blighted by poverty and disease, caused the founding of sisterhoods in motherhouses, and eventually of nurses in settlement houses, like the Henry Street Settlement in NYC. Like their earlier sisters in deaconess homes they spread a Good news. This Gospel, became increasingly secular, evolving as the good news of Public Health. Women of both persuasion saw the value of first becoming neighbors to their clients. The community aspect of deaconess nursing as we have seen evident in the work of Sr Elizabeth, became more wide-spread through the Methodist Episcopal Church diaconate. There is evidence that Lucy Rider-Meyer’s deaconess institute, founded in 1886, provided a model for the Chicago Settlement House founded by Jane Addams--Hull House (founded 1889). But that, is another story!
Preserving the community’s health was a cause taken up with a passion by the women of the Women's home Missionary Society. The argument:, “we are responsible for the home. What about those who have no home, or at least no good Christina home? We are obligated to care for ihem, create a “public hearth” for the betterment of society. We are guardians of the public hearth!” Even before I was familiar with Welter’s thesis, I could see the “prism of domestic ideology” embedded in the writings of the Annual Reports of the Women’s home Missionary society, from its first report in 1882 through the 1903 report that included the names and locations of all the deaconess homes and institutions erected in the past 20 years. The growth was phenomenal, propelled by the heroines of the Women of the Methodist tradition. Among them: (next slide)
Lucy Rider Myer’s 1886 innovative “order of deaconesses” an enterprise begun with “nine young ladies who gave their whole time and strength without compensation to mission work in Chicago” was the subject of many articles in the Woman’s Home Missionary Society annual reports. In 1888 (8 years before Sr Elizabeth’s heroic encounter with the NY state assembly) Ryder Meyer faced an all-male Institution—the Conference Board of the Methodist Episcopal annual conference advocating for the deaconess cause. Rider-Meyer published an article in the AJN, encouraging nurses to join the deaconess cause. She saw the deaconate as part of the mainstream of Methodism. Jane Bancroft-Robinson described as the Theodore Fliedner of American Methodism: “went from city to city making addresses & collecting funds and founding deaconess homes”, assumed the vice presidency of the Methodist Episcopal Woman’s home missionary society and was largely responsible for the development of 3 national deaconess training schools, one in Washington, affiliated with Sibley Hospital in Washington DC that provided nurse-training for deaconesses. Her vision of the diaconate was that it should fall under the Woman’s Home missionary society. Ultimately, her vision prevailed.
This systematic historical search for evidence revealed that women-religious of the 19th century used “Cult” ideology 9CLICK) to break free from bounds of “household tasks” by making service to the larger “home sphere”—the poor, ill and forgotten—the objective of their ministrations. (CICK) One could argue that they replaced this “household drudgery” with professional drudgery, however, there is probably not a nurse among us who has not experienced the satisfaction-joy even—(CLICK) in “making a difference” that a life of professional nursing provides. We have seen in this work how professionalization of woman’s work flourished in the late 19 th century, giving rise to a “new breed” of nurses with a secular yet powerfully social agenda (CLICK). Wald and Dock are evidence of that. The work was imbued with the ideal of service, selflessness, sacrifice and a higher calling, a legacy from the deaconesses. Nursing, “the first work of the deaconess”, grew from these strong and enduring roots. (CLICK) Today, that legacy finds expression in Parish/Faith Community Health Nursing.
The legacy of the deaconess movement
The legacy of the
Presentation for Eastern Nurses
Research Society, March 20, 2009
Session B1: Historical, Philosophy and
Theoretical Issues in Nursing Research
Christine Malmgreen, RN-BC MS MA CHES
Purpose: Research roots of nursing
practice interventions to enhance health
of individuals and communities
Historical antecedents of Parish
The 19th century Deaconess
Movement emanated from
Germany to America
In search of
The deaconesses are buried in
Philadelphia's historic Woodlands
in what is known as the "Nurses Corner”
Mark Concepcion and Edward Chen
Brought nursing interventions
– Through healing institutions
within the community
• progenitors of:
– Hospital nursing schools
– settlement houses
– community health nursing organizations
Dean, New York
The “how”-Primary Sources
• Archival records-
– Sr Magdalene’s reminiscences
– Pittsburg Infirmary Annual
• Women’s Home
annual reports of the
• Methodist Hospital of
• Lutheran Medical Center-
Norwegian Relief Society
Sister Elizabeth Fedde’s
•AJN from 1900-1915
Religious writers of a century ago ~
Primary and secondary sources(Male)
The Cult of True Womanhood
• Welter, B. (1966). The Cult
of True Womanhood:
1820-1860 American Quarterly,
18 (2) Part 1 pp. 151-174
• Metaphor for separate
“sphere” of womanhood
– reinforced centrality of
• “A stereotype so encouraging yet,
• Commentary –Kerber, L. (1997). Toward an
Intellectual History of Women - Essays
Woman’s greatest task ~
care for the home
– The Young
Ladies Class Book
• Women in the home
• Housework - “uplifting”
• Quote from contemporary source, women’s magazine:
"The science of housekeeping affords exercise
for the judgment and energy, ready
recollection, and patient self-possession,
that are the characteristics of a superior
• Making beds-good exercise!
Woman’s most important function ~
“Enough illnesses… to give 19th century
American woman nursing experience”
• Call of the
• Welter (1987)
Perfection of True Womanhood
“trained to believe”
…carried the seeds of its own destruction
If woman were so very little less than the
angels, should she take a more active part
in running the world?
(especially since men were making such a hash of
Beautiful and useful!
Kaiserswerth, the first deaconess home,
Domesticity and woman as “nurse”
Women of Kaiserswerth
Sister Gertrude Reichardt,
First deaconess, 1836
The second Mrs Fliedner-
Caroline Bertheau Fliedner
Nurses at Kaiserswerth
3 month stay at
But he doesn’t come alone
Fliedner comes to America
The deaconess movement
comes to America
The first American Deaconess
Deaconess Nurses ~ end of century
1840s ~ Episcopals-1st American diaconate
1849 ~ Lutherans initiate 1st
1883-1900 ~ More European deaconesses
1886-1915 Methodist Women’s Home
Missionary society takes up the cause
1873 ~“Trained nursing” –first 3 training
schools on the “Nightingale model”
• 1883-Elizabeth Fedde, Norwegian
Lutheran nurse-Deaconess come
from Oslo Norway comes to
• 1884-Seven sisters from an
independent group of deaconesses
…sent to Brooklyn?
“Where ever she hears of
cases of misery, poverty or
she [Sr Elizabeth] goes to see the sufferers
and ministers to their wants, either of body
or soul. Her character and work are already
so well know and appreciated among the
poor Norwegians that they are constantly
sending for her” (Norwegian Relief Society
annual report, 1885).
Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess
Hospital in Brooklyn, NY
Sister Elizabeth Fedde found so much
need in homes, hospitals, ships in the
harbor, and even the streets that by
1886 she started a deaconess hospital.
The German (deaconess)
hospital, Philadelphia, Pa
Later renamed, LANKANAU
“…nothing short of transplanting
the blessed sisterhood of the
diaconate to this country”
-John D. Lankenau
John Lankanau and
The Mary Drexel Deaconess
Home in Philadelphia
guardian of public
a woman home
Motherhouses by Lutherans
of new model of
nursing & sisterhood
schools grow within
Episcopal church joins
The evolution of a movement
from an ideology
Vision for Community Health
• Another gift from the
• Harbinger of the “woman’s”
• Protestant sisterhoods living
and working in community
• Secular women in Settlement houses
The Methodist Episcopal
• “Serving to preserve the
community’s hearth &
health” (Annual Reports)
• Used ideology of
“Home and Hearth”
as justification to go
Public Hearth for the betterment of society
Lucy Rider Meyer
Jane Bancroft Robinson
• Domesticity facilitated
– “Breaking free of the
bonds of household drudgery”
• Replacing it with PROFESSIONALISM
• A satisfaction in “making a difference”
• Hospital-based and community health
• Parish Nursing a blooming flower ~