Excerpt from

Finally Florence wrote, "I am thirty, the age at which Christ began His mission. Now, no more childish things, no more vain things, no more love, no more marriage. Now, Lord, let me think only of Thy will."

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Florence Nightingale- Nurse- 2

A Character story about determination.

Florence knew that God wanted her to be a nurse. But the high society life in England of her family coupled with the low view of nursing had caused the vision to dim. During the years after her trip to Europe, Florence enjoyed the social life, attending the socially acceptable parties and events. This took her on more trips to the continent and other countries.
When she was 29, Florence traveled to Athens, Greece and met two American missionaries, the Hills, who operated a school and orphanage there. Florence wrote in her diary, "How worthless my life seems to be by the side of these women." The Lord seemed to be saying to her, 'Wouldn't you like your life to amount to something for me?'
Then in Kaiserwerth, Germany, Florence visited a work aimed at helping the families of prisoners. The hospital connected with the work was poor and run down, located in an old warehouse. The sight of these dismal medical facilities, and the tremendous need, stirred anew within her the desire to be a nurse.
"But I DO want to be a nurse," she again affirmed to her father upon returning to England.
"Yes, yes," he said affectionately. "But I have another proposal for you. You are, after all, nearly thirty years old, and several very fine young men have expressed an interest in, uh, getting to know you better."
During the next few months her parents and friends worked hard to get her matched up in marriage to some high society young man. That would surely eliminate all talk of nursing once and for all. But their work was in vain, for she wrote, "Marrying a man of high and good purpose, and following out that purpose with him, is the happiest lot.. but I think some have every reason for not marrying. There are women of intellectual or actively moral natures for whom marriage means the sacrifice of their higher capacities to the satisfaction of their lovers."
Finally Florence wrote, "I am thirty, the age at which Christ began His mission. Now, no more childish things, no more vain things, no more love, no more marriage. Now, Lord, let me think only of Thy will."
She traveled back to Kaiserwerth for nurses training, though her mother again exclaimed, "What will people say!" The work was hard but Florence was ready for it. Here is what she wrote her mother: "The world here fills life with interest and strengthens me in body and mind. Until yesterday I never had time even to send my things to the wash. We have ten minutes for each of our meals, of which we have four. We get up at five, breakfast one half hour after six. The patients dine at eleven; the sisters at twelve. Several evenings in the week, we collect in the great hall for Bible lessons. This is life. Now I know what it is to love life."
Her next training took her to Paris in 1853. Upon returning to England, she was asked to become the superintendent of an institution which had been established to care for gentlewomen during illness. Ten days later she had her first disagreement with those in charge.
"Is it true that you refuse to accept Catholic ladies into this institution?" Florence asked her supervisor.
"It is indeed. We accept only fine ladies from the Church of England."
"Then, in that case, good day to you, for I do not work here any longer."
"B-But you can't just quit, just like that!"
"Who says I can't? I will not work anywhere where a woman's nationality or religious belief keeps her from proper medical help."
Her authorities eventually saw it her way, and Florence stayed. She was later described as "the woman who ought to have been a general or a diplomat."
In 1853 England and her allies felt that Russia was trying to take over land belonging to them in the Crimea, an area on the northern edge of the Black Sea. England moved her troops in and began a war known in history as the Crimean War. Everyone thought the war would be over quickly and little preparation was made. But in the fall of 1854 an article in the Times newspaper captured the attention of Florence. In it William Russell, a front-line correspondent, pleaded for better medical care for the wounded and dying. He described the appalling conditions he saw around him. Some wounded were kept a week without any medical treatment whatever because of insufficient help. They did not even have old rags to dress the wounds.
Tears inched down her cheeks as Florence read. Her heart was stirred from the challenge, "Are there no devoted women amongst us able and willing to go forth to minister to the sick and suffering soldiers of the East in the hospitals at Scutari? Are none of the daughters of England... ready for such a work of mercy?" Yes, unknown to her, it was for such a time as this that Florence had prepared.