In Celebration of Clare of Assisi, Florence Nightingale & All Who Care for Others

08.11.17 | Pulpit Posts

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I often like to use this space to write about the feast day of some saint or another – and this week I struggled to decide between two: Clare, Abbess of Assisi (1253) on August 11, and Florence Nightingale, Nurse and Social Reformer (1910), on August 12. In good Anglican fashion, I decided not to address this in an “either/or” fashion, but instead with a “both/and” mentality – and so talk about both of them!

Clare Offreducio came from a well-to-do family in Assisi, but when she heard a sermon by Francis of Assisi she decided (at the ripe old age of eighteen) to vow to live a life of poverty. Her family was against it, but Francis helped get her set up in a nearby convent. Over time a house was found for her burgeoning order, which came to include several friends, two of her sisters, her widowed mother, and even members of the wealthiest family in Assisi. The order came to be called the Poor Clares, though officially they were the Minoresses (after the name of the Franciscans, who were known as Friars Minor). They embraced radical poverty, prayer, and ministry to the sick and to those who were poor and on the margins.

Nursing the sick, of course, is the first thing many of us think of when we hear the name Florence Nightingale. And though her family was British, in another similarity with Clare, Florence was also born in Italy – in Florence, of course! She trained as a nurse and after volunteering to serve during the Crimean War, she organized the first modern nursing service in British field hospitals. Her strict standards greatly improved outcomes and reduced the mortality rates in the hospitals – and led her to establish a nursing school at St. Thomas Hospital that was partially responsible for the professionalization of nursing. Her devotion to her Anglican faith and to spiritual exploration led to her being seen in her later years as a healing and holy person, in addition to being the founder of the modern profession of nursing.

Like Clare and Florence, nearly all of us are called to be caregivers in some form or other during our lives. We may not be nurses or doctors, but we may care for children, or aging parents, or close friends – even if it is just taking someone to the doctor, or visiting during an illness. As followers of Christ, we all participate in his ministry of healing!

A Prayer for Caregivers and Others in Support of the Sick
Lover of souls, we bless your Holy Name for all who are called to mediate your grace to those who are sick or infirm. Sustain them by your Holy Spirit, that they may bring your loving-kindness to those in pain, fear, and confusion; that in bearing one another’s burdens they may follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Rev. Susan Hill

Rev. Susan Hill

THE LATEST

Stay current on activity at the Soup Kitchen, guest stories, thoughts from Clergy, news and events.

Subscribe to receive the latest news, events, volunteer opportunities, and more — right to your inbox.

Church of the Holy Apostles

We are an open, inclusive Christian Church celebrating in the Episcopal tradition.

LEARN MORE
For Newcomers

Learn about our faith community and explore ways to connect with our work and worship.

Sermons

Reflections on Holy Scripture from our Clergy.

History

Founded in 1844, with a focus on social activism and the desire for social justice.

Clergy, Staff & Vestry

The Vestry is the governing body of the Church of the Holy Apostles.

MUSIC

Music commands a strong presence at the Church of the Holy Apostles.

Space Rental

Host your next meeting or event in our landmark building.

Soup Kitchen & Pantry

Nourishing hungry New Yorkers since 1982 in an atmosphere of respect and hospitality.

LEARN MORE
Daily meal service

Serving a free, nutritious meal every weekday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Meal outreach

Distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches throughout Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

About the soup kitchen

Learn more about our mission, our history, our performance, who we are, and what we do.

Pantry Program

Providing fresh and nutritious groceries to food-insecure New Yorkers.

Sunday Supper

Bridging generations and building community over a monthly family style meal.

Social Support

Meeting basic needs, stabilizing lives, and supporting individuals and families to achieve their goals.

LEARN MORE
SOCIAL SERVICES

Addressing the needs of the whole person through basic needs, counseling, and referrals.

Classes

Offering learning and skill-building opportunities.

Community Partnership

Partnering with others to expand the services offered to our guests.

Get Involved

Holy Apostles is a great place to channel your time, talents and generosity for good.

LEARN MORE
Volunteer

Make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and hunger.

Partner

Join our efforts to serve others and provide for people who are vulnerable.

Donate

Your gift provides food, community, and hope to New Yorkers in need.

The Latest

Stay up-to-date on all happenings at Holy Apostles.

VIEW ALL
Food For The Soul

The official blog of Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

Voices of Our Community

Guest stories, poetry, and more.

EVENTS

See our calendar of events.

Church Pulpit Posts

Read weekly meditations written by our clergy.

Newsroom

Holy Apostles in the news.