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Deaconesses in Europe and their Lessons for Americ

And no other institution in Germany


necessary to provide special

training for Christian teachers in America for such special work, time alone can decide. The question of Christian education is one that has not yet been determined in its full extent. In the year 1800 Mother Barat, of the Catholic Church, founded the order of Sisters of the Sacred Heart, which is especially devoted to the education of daughters belonging to the higher social ranks. At her death it numbered three thousand five hundred members, and had over seventy establishments, which are located in every civilized land. It cannot be maintained that the education given in these schools is either extensive or profound, but the influence of the order upon the women whom it has reached has been both. Fliedner, at Kaiserswerth, went as far as his age and environments would permit him to go. He provided schools where teachers were prepared as instructors for all grades of schools, from the most elementary up to the girls' high-schools; and no other institution in Germany, with one or two exceptions, such as the Victoria Institute at Berlin, yet offers positions to women teachers of a higher grade than is afforded by these schools. But in other lands, where the educational facilities for women are far beyond those that Germany can offer at the present time, positions of higher importance and wider influence are held by women; and it is an important question for the future what class of women shall fill these places. If Fliedner had had to meet the problem we can imagine he would have
done so with the boldness and energy that he showed in solving those that his times and circumstances afforded him. He would, doubtless, have enlisted among his deaconesses those whose talents gave him reason to provide them with the widest training the schools can offer; and then he would have endeavored to place them where they could do the most effective service for Christ and his Church. It may be that in the future which opens before the women of the Methodist Episcopal Church of America there will be just such questions seeking and finding solution.

Doubtless at the present time the deaconess who will answer to the greatest number of immediate wants is the "parish-deaconess," or the home mission deaconess, as we may call her. Her usefulness has been well tested in the great cities of Germany, France, and England, as we have seen. Perhaps nowhere is her work better appreciated than in London, the greatest city of modern times. The tendency of this age of manufactures and commerce is to attract laborers and workers from country homes, where work has become less open to them through the increased use of agricultural machines of all kinds, into cities, where factories, shops, counting-rooms, and offices constantly afford openings. London has felt the full force of this movement. In 1836 her population was about equal to that of New York, including Brooklyn and Jersey City. Now the great city contains 5,500,000 inhabitants. It is growing at the rate of over 100,000 a year, nor is there any influence at work to stop its growth. The same causes that produce


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