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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

Kaiserswerth deaconesses were immediately sent out


The

orphanage and school at Beirut had a sad foundation. In 1860 came the terrible news of the massacre of the Maronite Christians by the Druses in the Lebanon mountains.

Kaiserswerth deaconesses were immediately sent out, and were among the first to arrive to join the resident Europeans and Americans in caring for the sufferers. Numbers of children were left fatherless and motherless, and the sisters started the orphanage at Beirut to shelter them. When its twenty-fifth anniversary was celebrated in 1885 over eight hundred girls had received a home and education here, and had gone forth to eastern homes, carrying with them the light and knowledge of Christian faith into the dark, degraded social life of the Orient.[34]

From the two orphanages at Beirut and Jerusalem over forty have gone out as teachers in girls' schools in Palestine and Syria. Twelve others have become deaconesses, and are ministering in this capacity to their own countrymen and to foreigners in eastern hospitals.[35]

In Smyrna there is also a girls' school, that was opened at the request of some wealthy Protestants residing there. The school is not so needed as formerly, since the government has started girls' high schools, but it is still maintained, and aids in bringing new life into the hopeless society of the East. There is also an orphanage at Smyrna, where some girls of the poorer classes were gathered

after the ravages of the cholera had left them without parents or homes.

The eastern deaconesses have also their Salem. Just above the little village of Areya, in the Lebanon, on the summit of a hill overlooking the Mediterranean, stands the house of retreat, where, during the summer months, the more than forty sisters stationed in Beirut, Alexandria, Cairo, and Jerusalem can take refuge in seasons of overpowering heat.

The deaconess who superintends the house has a school for the native children of the village, which is taught by one of the girls educated at the Beirut orphanage.

Prosperous girls' schools are also in existence at Bucharest, and at Florence, Italy. The Italian school was started in 1860 with four girls in the upper floor of a rented house. It now possesses a beautiful house and grounds of its own, and had one hundred and forty-five girls under its charge the past year. Most of these were Italians, but different foreign residents also availed themselves of the opportunity to send their children to an excellent Protestant school. There is also a mission at Rome maintained by deaconesses during the winter months.

The large majority of the undertakings outside of Kaiserswerth were initiated personally by Fliedner. When we recall the complex demands of the home field in Germany we marvel at the versatile executive ability of this man, who started life as the humble pastor of an obscure village church. But he loved work. He possessed "iron industry." He was ever hopeful, courageous, and indefatigable. Above all, he trusted completely in the leadings of Divine Providence, and constantly went forward with sure confidence. Then he was a true leader. He knew men. He put the right person in the right place, gave him full liberty of action, and held him to a strict responsibility for results. So, while Fliedner remained the soul of the great institution, he knew how to make himself spared, which was not the least of his qualifications for his calling.


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