The name Florence Nightingale I learned from Mary Baker Eddy:
"It is proverbial that Florence Nightingale and other philanthropists engaged in humane labors have been able to undergo without sinking fatigues and exposures which ordinary people could not endure. The explanation lies in the support which they derived from the divine law, rising above the human." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 385)
My husband and I travelled in August to Florence and visited one of my and his all-time favorites: The church Santa Croce. In this Renaissance church you not only find stunning artwork by the fabulous early Renaissance master Giotto, but also the tombs of Galileo, Machiavelli, Rossini, and Michelangelo. This Franciscan church is a marvel, a site of worship and reflection - a place to learn and grow. You might be interested to note that in 1866 the church became public property and is today referred to as "The Pantheon of Florence."
When you leave the church "through the backdoor" you are in for a surprise. You find yourself in a stunning inner cloister built by Brunelleschi, and when you walk around the sides of the courtyard you stand suddenly in front of a monument to Florence Nightingale.
This monument had been commissioned in 1913 by the British Community in Florence after her passing, and it represents the spirit of Florence's life, that Mary Baker Eddy did capture so well. The two women were contemporaries, and while Mary Baker Eddy was born and raised in Bow, New Hampshire, Florence Nightingale was born and raised in Florence, Italy. Her British parents named her after the city they loved so much.
She is today regarded as the founder of modern nursing and became an Icon of Victorian culture as "The Lady with the lamp" - having started a first field hospital during the Crimean wars. There she was making rounds of wounded soldiers at night. The lady with the lamp. The "Florence Nightingale Medal" is today the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve.
What is this "divine law, rising above the human" (p. 385) Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of modern Christian healing, writes about - the other lady with the lamp, having made universal rounds of humanity and healing and uplifting thousands in her day - and through her work until our day? It is the principle of divine Love, which is put into practice in unselfishness. When we put the needs of others ahead of our own we are protected and supported by divine Love. Mary Baker Eddy writes in the same fabulous book:
"We should forget our bodies in remembering good and the human race. Good demands of man every hour, in which to work out the problem of being." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 261)
Since we live in the early days of a better and more inclusive world it honors us to remember these two ladies of the lamp, Florence Nightingale and Mary Baker Eddy who shone their light on the world and gave their all to help and heal others. Lives full of blessings and light.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.