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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

As in all places where our deaconesses are employed


all the Methodist German deaconesses are engaged in caring for the sick; it is only recently that attempts have been made in some other directions of charitable endeavor. In the last report we are told that at Frankfort steps have been taken to reform fallen women. One of the sisters seems to be especially endowed with tact and ability for this difficult work. She has already induced twenty-two of these girls to enter the asylum at Sachsenhausen. The police authorities and city magistrates have given this same sister access to the women prisoners, which is a decided favor, coming from German officials. Besides her work in this particular, she has devoted her remaining time to the care of the poor and the sick.

Many deaconesses were called upon to go out as nurses in private families, and, in order to obtain room to accommodate the added number these services required, it has been necessary to rent an additional house. There are two clinics in connection with the institution; one for those suffering from nose, throat, or lung diseases, the other for diseases of women. In both, the hours of consultation are free, and attract numerous visitors. Two hundred and forty-six people were received in the hospital last year, and were cared for in four thousand one hundred and fifty days of nursing. Spiritual results are also anticipated from the seed of God's word sown in the hearts of the sick through daily prayer and Sunday services.

justify;">The house at Frankfort is too small for its increasing needs, and a permanent home of more ample dimensions is greatly to be desired.

In Hamburg the house has been enlarged, and there is now room for thirty-five sisters; yet still there are more demands made than can be met. In one month ninety requests were handed in for the aid of the deaconesses. The city authorities offered them a large lot of land at a very moderate sum, which is at present used as a garden, and adds much to the enjoyment of the home.

On the 4th of March, 1888, occurred the anniversary of the founding of the Hamburg house, at which time six sisters were set apart to their life calling by a service of consecration. As in all places where our deaconesses are employed, so also in Hamburg their influence is felt in the increase of religious life among the families they serve.

In Berlin, again, there is an imperative call for enlarged house accommodations, and more sisters are needed to meet the requests for help that are constantly coming to them. As the report expresses it, "Something must happen!"[49] After six years of activity in Berlin the deaconesses find themselves well appreciated, and with a broad field of labor. The city authorities gave them permission to take a house collection during the months of February and March. One of the German ministers said, "This is an unusual favor, only granted in exceptional cases, as when a village is swept away, or there is an inundation, or a failure of harvests." This collection was no easy task. In the depth of winter, in rigorous cold and snow the sisters had to climb weary flights of stairs, in houses four and five stories high, arranged in flats; to knock at many doors, often meeting with but slight success or a positive refusal; yet daily they went with fresh courage to their work, encouraged by the thought that they were toiling not for themselves, but to serve the needy, "for Jesus' sake." The collection resulted in obtaining nearly twenty thousand marks, to which has been added the loan of a larger sum at a small rate of interest, so that there is good prospect of soon obtaining a permanent home as the property of the deaconess society.

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