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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

Entitled The Blue Flag of Kaiserswerth


woman distinguished in England's philanthropies is Agnes Jones, who left a home of wealth and refinement to receive her training also at Kaiserswerth. Returning to England she gave her time and talents in single-hearted devotion to the care of the poor in the Liverpool work-house, and met death in the midst of her labors. The training which led two such women to accomplish such noble deeds naturally was recognized as valuable, and Kaiserswerth soon became an honored name in England.

In 1851 Miss Nightingale sent out anonymously her little book entitled _An Account of the Institution of Deaconesses_, which added to the knowledge already in circulation about the movement in Germany. Meanwhile articles were appearing in the reviews. In 1848 one was written in the _Edinburgh Review_ by John Malcolm Ludlow, who later, in 1866, gave the results of the thoughts and studies of a number of years in _Woman's Work in the Church_, the best historical study of the subject up to the date at which it was written. Since then the Germans have pushed their historical investigations further, and the work needs to be revised and to be brought down to the present time.

In _Good Words_ for 1861 there were two articles by Dr. Stevenson, of the Irish Presbyterian Church, entitled "The Blue Flag of Kaiserswerth," afterward incorporated in his work, _Praying and Working_, a book too little known among us.


great upholder of the deaconess cause in the Church of England was the late Dean of Chester, Rev. J. S. Howson. His essay, first published in the _Quarterly Review_, was amplified and issued in book form in 1860 under the title _Deaconesses_. It won many friends. The cause remained a favorite one with him, and he constantly advocated it by speech and by deed. Since his death his latest thoughts, which remained substantially the same as those that he first advanced, have been published in a work entitled _The Diaconate of Women_.

Within the Church of England, however, the deaconess cause has not met the same prosperous development that it has obtained in connection with certain independent institutions, notably that of Mildmay.

Among the institutions on the Continent, as well as in the pages of this work up to the present, the terms "sister" and "deaconess" are used synonymously, to indicate one and the same person. But when we come to consider the deaconess institutions within the Church of England we cannot continue to use these two names in the same way. A deaconess is a member of a deaconess institution, actively engaged in charitable deeds, but, like the deaconess on the Continent, she can sever her connection with it when adequate cause presents itself, and return to her family and friends. A sister belongs to a sisterhood which closely resembles the Roman Catholic sisterhoods in many features. These sisterhoods began in 1847 with a number of ladies brought together through the influence of Dr. Pusey, who formed themselves into a community to live under its rule. Their influence and number increased, and twenty-three sisterhoods are mentioned in the last official report.[56]

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