Practical, Logical, Dedicated Care for Our Fellow Human Beings

Modified on: July 16, 2020

“Everyday sanitary knowledge…is recognized as the knowledge that everyone ought to have.” (Florence Nightingale, in her world-changing text “Notes on Nursing”, 1859)

Handwashing. Ventilation. Fresh Air. Distancing by 6 feet. All, instituted by Florence Nightingale in her field hospitals–and documented by her in statistical analysis and charts as highly effective in decreasing rates of infection and mortality–more than 150 years ago.

The clarity and poise of Ruth Stanton’s meditation on Florence Nightingale embodies the care of this revolutionary woman’s life story. Ruth, herself a lifelong nurse and midwife, beautifully illuminates the complex spirituality that guided Nightingale to become the founder of modern nursing and a transformative advocate for public health and social reform. Our intellectual and spiritual openness shape who we are and what we do in the world: Nightingale’s Unitarian background, Universalist insights, liberal education–for which she ardently pushed, and which was denied women of her time–and practical, logical, dedicated care for her fellow human beings helped her remake the world into a place of smarter health policies, far better health practices, and much greater humanity. “Florence felt that genuine religion should manifest in active care and love for others.”

On the very week when our leading public health expert is under attack from authorities who are willfully ignoring charts, statistics, and basic public health measures, Ruth Stanton steps forward to offer us this story of visionary leadership.

A light in the darkness, indeed.

The meditation may be heard here:

Keep lighting the way–


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