Document Type

Honors Project

Abstract

In 1836 Theodor Fliedner, a protestant pastor stationed in the Catholic town of Kaiserswerth, Prussia, and founded the Deaconess Institutions of Kaiserswerth, which included the first nurses’ training school, a teaching seminary, a motherhouse, and a hospital. Fliedner expanded his mission in 1851 when he sent nurses and teachers to establish a hospital and a small school in Jerusalem. I examine the personal statements and letters of these deaconesses. The deaconesses establish themselves as professionals both through narrations of their own lives, as well as through stories about their patients and students. Their professionalism, however, is based upon culturally acceptable, “womanly” duties; in other words, they establish their authority within their realm of knowledge. The Sisters’ stories create a new idea of professionalism that incorporates ideas of the public and private spheres.

 
 

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