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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

The example of Kaiserswerth has been far reaching


example of Kaiserswerth has been far-reaching; the mission of Fliedner, that simple-hearted, true-souled, practical, energetic pastor, has been wonderfully successful.

In this rapid sketch I have said but little of the hinderances he met, nothing of the ridicule which at first attacked him unsparingly. He paid no heed to these obstacles, and why should we waste time in detailing them? Steadfastly and undeviatingly he went forward toward the end he had in view; that is, to restore in all its aspects the devoted disciplined services of Christian women to the Church. He passed away from life October 5, 1864, leaving the great establishment that he had watched over in the charge of his son-in-law, Pastor Disselhoff, and other members of his family.

The institution has become an imposing mass of building, forming an almost absurd contrast to the little garden house, the cradle of the whole establishment, which is still standing in the parsonage garden.

When the fiftieth anniversary of the rise of the deaconess cause was celebrated in 1886 the Kaiserswerth sisterhood put their mites together and purchased the little house, to hold it in perpetuity as a monument of God's providence.

The symbol of Kaiserswerth is a white dove, carrying an olive branch, resting against a blue ground. The blue flag floats from the old windmill tower on the river-bank,

attracting the attention of the traveler as he floats up the Rhine.

Other flags bear messages of conquest, of victory, of battles fought and won, of storm and stress and endeavor in the conflict of man against his fellow-man. But only peace and good-will, the victory of goodness and of love--these alone are the messages that are waved forth to the wind by the blue flag of Kaiserswerth.

[36] _Haus Ordnung und Dienst-Anweisung fuer die Diakonissen und Probeschwestern des Diakonissen Mutterhauses zu Kaiserswerth._ [37] _Deaconesses_, Rev. J. S. Howson, D.D., p. 81. [38] Refer back to page 23, chapter ii, where it can be found. [39] _Der Armen und Kranken Freund_, August Heft, 1888. [40] _Woman's Work in the Church_, p. 273, J. M. Ludlow. A. Strahan, London, 1866. [41] _Denkschrift zur Jubelfeier_, p. 215.



In a book of these dimensions no exhaustive historical account can be given of all the developments of the deaconess movement in the various countries on the Continent. Only a few of the leading houses can be spoken of, but through a knowledge of these we can gain an insight into the life and characteristics of the movement as a whole.

The mother-house at Strasburg is one of the oldest ones, dating from 1842. It owes its origin to the holy enthusiasm and life experiences of Pastor Haerter, who exercised a deep religious influence in the city where he lived. In 1817, when he was a young man of twenty, the great Strasburg hospital was re-organized. The six to eight hundred patients were divided according to their religious faith. To the Catholics were assigned as nurses Sisters of Charity. For the Protestants there were paid women nurses.

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