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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

The deaconesses still come to her weekly


Through

the kind offices of Mademoiselle Monod we called on Mademoiselle Dumas. She is now an extremely aged woman; but her interest in the Christian reformation of prisoners of her sex is as keen as it was over fifty years ago, when her labors began. The registers of many years stand by her desk, and from these we were shown how the records of the mission are kept, and in what way the lives of those assisted are watched and followed for years. Narratives of individual reformation were related to us, and through the long correspondence of many years she was enabled to tell us of those who had turned to a better life and held to it permanently. As she talked her eyes brightened, the tones of her voice became stronger and clearer, her manner more vivacious, and the years seemed to slip from her. Finally, as if overcome by the memories that the long retrospect had brought to her, and thrilled by the recollections, of all this work meant to her, she ended by exclaiming, "O, my dear St. Lazare!" I looked at her astonished. I had just come from the walls of the gloomy prison, and the place had chilled me with horror as I walked through its corridors, and read the stories of shame and guilt in the faces of its inmates; most hopeless looking faces, belonging to little children of ten and twelve up to hardened and prematurely aged women of fifty and sixty. I could not comprehend a term of endearment applied to such a place. But a moment's consideration led me to see that this aged saint had there
fought and won the best of her life's battles, and the place remains glorified in her thoughts by most hallowed and Christ-like memories.

Now that Mademoiselle Dumas is kept to her room, the deaconesses still come to her weekly, make their reports, and keep up the proper entries in her books.

A recent letter from Mademoiselle Monod says: "Mademoiselle Dumas still lives, having completed her ninety-sixth year the 26th of last December (1888). Only yesterday our prison committee met at her house, she acting as presiding officer."

The life of this quiet woman is but little known outside the circle of her immediate influence, but it has been more valuable to her country than that of many a general or statesman who has been ranked among the famous of the earth.

The deaconess home has also branches of work in different parts of France. These include nine hospitals, two homes for the aged and infirm, four orphanages, two work-rooms for young girls, and a convalescents' home. The house has established close connection with the deaconess houses at St. Loup in French Switzerland, and with Strasburg. The ties of a common language and former memories are strong, and these are the homes most akin to the Paris home.

The ordinary expenses of the Paris deaconess home are about thirty thousand dollars a year. Nearly seven thousand dollars are collected annually by subscriptions, the remaining sum being made up of returns arising from service.


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