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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

35 Der Rheinisch Westfaelische Diakonissen Verein

[30] _Der Diakonissenberuf_, Emil Wacker, Guetersloh, 1888, p. 116. [31] _Life of Pastor Fliedner_, translated by C. Winckworth, London, 1867. [32] _Ein und fuenfzigster Jahres-Bericht_, p. 30. [33] _Achtzehnter Bericht ueber die Diakonissen Stationen im Morgenlande_, 1888. [34] _Vierzehnten Bericht ueber die Diakonissen Stationen am Libanon._ [35] _Der Rheinisch Westfaelische Diakonissen Verein_, p. 64, J. Disselhoff.



The regulations in daily use at Kaiserswerth are based on those that Fliedner drew up in the early days of the institution. They have been adopted with few alterations by the larger number of deaconess institutions that have since arisen, so that to understand the spirit and usages prevailing in them it is well to give these rules some study. They are contained in a book numbering one hundred and seven pages,[36] treating with great minuteness every question that affects the daily lives of the deaconesses. The qualities that the office demands are first dwelt upon as they are described in Acts vi, 3, and 1 Tim. iii, 8, 9. The sisters are reminded that their life is one of service; that they serve the Lord Jesus; that they serve the poor and the sick and helpless "for Jesus' sake;" and that they are

servants one of another.

Special stress is given to the importance of cultivating unity, love, and forbearance in the relations of daily life, and the deaconesses are enjoined "to protect and further the honor of other sisters," "to form one family living unitedly as sisters, through the tie of a heartfelt love for the one great object that brings them to this place."

There are two classes of deaconesses formally recognized, nurses and teachers; although there is another, deaconess whose work is year by year becoming more important, and that is the deaconess who is attached to a church in the capacity of a home missionary. She is designated by the term "commune-deaconess," or, as the English translate it, "parish-deaconess."

Those who desire to become nurse-deaconesses must have the elements of a common school education, must be in good health, and, as a general rule, be over eighteen and not over forty years of age. Most important of all is it that she possess personal knowledge of the salvation of Christ, and a living experience of the grace of God. Those who desire to become teacher-deaconesses must, in addition, present certain educational certificates, and be able to sing. All must pass some months at the mother-house, taking care of children and assisting in housework, so that their fitness for the office can be proven. A great deal of care is taken to test the efficiency of the candidates, and only about one half the probationers finally become deaconesses in full connection. The teachers have, further, a seminary course of one year for those who are to teach in infant schools, of two years to prepare for the elementary schools, and of three years for the girls' high schools.

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