With Courage & Compassion

Modified on: July 23, 2020

“In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed, that there must be something for me to do.” (Dorothea Dix)

Perfectly crafted, from every song and reading, to every person involved, to the probing meditation offered by therapist and healer Mary Underwood, this past Sunday’s service on UU woman hero Dorothea Dix summons us to lives that change everything—even when we do not see the effect of our actions ourselves. Dix became the leading advocate for reforming the understanding and treatment of her fellow human beings living with mental illness. Her courage and compassion up-ended dehumanizing systems of neglect and ignorance, creating a new profession—social work—dedicated to healing and advocacy.

And she thought she had failed. “This woman, who historians consider the foremost advocate and change-maker for the mentally ill in the whole of the 19th century, died thinking she had failed in her life’s work. How can we use this unfortunate truth for our own growth and development? I think it starts with looking at all the places we think we’ve failed.”

Listen. There is something for us to do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3BV0G6MOUM&t=2662s

“She pulled on her courage with one hand, and her compassion with the other, and walked straight into the fray—and in doing so, changed the world.”

Brave, brave, brave—


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