Florence Nightingale is to have a chapel within Westminster Abbey dedicated to her. Currently designated as the Nurses’ Memorial Chapel, the chapel will be renamed the Nightingale Chapel on 12 May 2010 in a ceremony to commemorate her birth. Many will be familiar with the story of the “lady with the lamp,” and her campaign during the Crimean War, for nurses to become the ‘servants of medicine, surgery and hygiene’. What is perhaps well known is that Nightingale will become one of very few women to be commemorated in the Abbey, as well as becoming the first nurse and the only commoner to receive such an honour. Perhaps more poignantly in 1910 Nightingale’s family refused the offer of burial in the Abbey, preferring instead to inter Florence with her parents.
The Florence Nightingale Foundation had requested that their namesake’s image be included in the chapel and were delighted when informed of the proposed dedication. Since 2007 Florence Nightingale’s date of death has been commemorated in the Anglican calendar, and she has also been recognised as an “exemplary Christian” In the words of Dr John Hall, the Dean of Westminster:
“This is the centenary of her death and she is remembered as one of the great iconic figures of nursing. But she has also been given her own day in the Christian calendar and is remembered for her sanctity of life and Christian commitment. It is entirely appropriate, then, for her to have a chapel named in her honour.”
Making Sense of Feminist Theology Today
By Laurel C. Schneider and Cassie J. E. Trentaz,
(Vol. 3, July 2008)
Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?
By Gregory W. Dawes
(Vol. 2, November 2007)