I give below a short extract from one of the talks given by this famous lady to the Turner group. Keenly interested in the relief of suffering, Florence visited military and civil hospitals all over Europe. She then trained as a nurse, herself, in France and Germany. Coming from a wealthy family, in touch both with the Government and Royalty, it was thought strange and eccentric of her to bother with the fate of the ignorant, unlettered poor.
After there were reports of great suffering among the sick and wounded soldiers, who had been fighting in the Crimea, she took 38 nurses out to Scutari in 1834. She found the sick and injured lying on the floor in their own filth, without beds or nursing care. In spite of fierce opposition, she greatly reduced the death toll by completely reorganizing the ‘so called’ hospital and providing nursing care. It was said by the soldiers she helped, that she had never been seen to sleep during the whole time she was there.
On her return to England, £50,000 was subscribed as a memorial to her, and she used the money to found St Thomas Hospital in London in 1861. She also helped to found the International Red Cross and her training methods for nurses were copied in the USA and Canada. Here are some of her own words:
She now calls herself, Philomel, Greek for Nightingale.
“ I was worried when I was young, by the visions I saw, but it was a necessary training for the infiltration of the spirit. At times. when it was absolutely necessary to have a gathering of strength in the face of obstinate men, I knew that I was right. At the same time, with the training or development, it gave me discretion. There was a form of development as regards a closeness of teachers or guides; people who were working through me to formulate a great plan to bring compassion into the earth plane.
It was necessary because they could see ahead almost a hundred years, to a great cataclysm created by man upon man. Something new, which I helped to develop, would save hundreds of thousands of lives. That was all foreseen from this side. I hope that puts your question into perspective."
Question: "In view of the obstructive attitude you received from governments on earth, what is the attitude in your world, and is there government or similar bodies (there)?"
Answer: "Yes, because there was obstruction to the work I wished to implement, to alleviate the suffering of people, not only in Britain, but also in the East, in India, for instance. We lived in a time of a great establishment, and people who felt established in their authority, did not feel it was right that their motives should be questioned or a move made in any way to bring about changes in society. Many of these people felt they belonged to an established order of things that was almost God-given. I knew certain men who felt they were appointed by God, and it was an affront to their dignity and position, that a woman should dare to write and seek an audience to suggest changes in the established order of things. As a consequence I had battles for thirty to forty years, and people were most obdurate. One man in particular showed his way of fighting me by ignoring me, except in a social sense. I would receive most charming, flattering letters, but when read you found that nothing was conceded, nothing was ever done. I would say it was being done with individuals, rather than government but, of course, government is made up of individuals.
People slandered me. I had to wait to be called upon. When that happened I could not be blamed for anything, therefore I had a certain influence over them—they played into my hands. At later dates, when that episode was finished, I was perhaps a little more subtle—continuing pressurization with letters, and influencing certain gentlemen. I am afraid I had to use people, which some may say is wrong, but it was a matter of just having to do that. You did ask me my method, which was sweet persuasion."
Question: "You called the troops 'your children', showed your love and compassion for them, raised them up and brought dignity to them. How did they show their response?"
Answer: "I was filled with love for the young men—a spiritual form of love to see such unnecessary suffering. Over two thousand men died in my arms or in my attendance. I found that when I studied those in charge there were those who were sometimes unconsciously inhuman, a few were consciously sadistic, I looked for the virtues, in those that were unlettered. It is like tending an injured animal. An animal is innocent, a child, a young spirit and who could condemn it just because it cannot speak to you, except perhaps with its eyes. You would give it care and seek to restore it to health, the practical expression of love.
These men were my children and I sought to bring compassion into their lives where they were treated as brutes. Quite nice men of a high-rank would say, 'Do not bother, they are brutes, they cannot change.' That was the established order of things, when thinking becomes rigid it is naturally accepted. Going out as an independent person I could compare one section of humanity with another I could see that they were all child-like, even those that were filled with pomposity and with their own self-esteem.
They were no less child-like than the innocent creatures that were maimed, had dysentery, or were dying. I thought to bring to them care and show them that people could care. Other people were caring from a religious point of view. When there was true love in a spiritual sense, these men responded, and gave up drink. I managed to establish a post office and they sent their money home to their near and dear ones. Perhaps it was the work, however indirectly, of the Nazarene and of those wonderful beings on this side that sought, through example, to show that we are all human. We are all related in a spiritual sense, and this must be understood before anyone can countenance this work."
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