A Heroine’s Spirit

We find hero’s and heroine’s in many different people today. A hero or heroine is so much more than an idol. They have committed their life to helping others, they have acted selflessly in pursuing that calling relentlessly. What we call hero today falls short more often than not of such pursuits.

Yesteryear is full of hero’s and heroines that are worthy of such titles. Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale and Susan B. Anthony are such women that we can look up to; that we can call heroine.

[singlepic id=19 w=320 h=240 float=left]Joan of Arc is a french heroine believed to have been sent by God to free the French from the English. She petitioned to be seen by the royal court, but was ignored. She was not deterred in her venture. When her prediction about the defeat of the French Army came true, her request was granted. She met, in secret, with Charles VII, and was given command of the Army. It is believed that it was because of multiple defeats that she was given command, however, this move proved to be helpful to the French.

Joan of Arc won several key battles which energized the troops. She won the battle at Orleans in May of 1429 and continued to win battles all along the Loire. At the coronation of King Charles VII, she was given a seat of honor. The following year she was captured by the Burgundians, the french opposed to King Charles VII and allied with the English, captured Joan of Arc and sold her to the English. They, in turn, handed her over to ecclesiastical court which tried her for witchcraft and hearsay. In May of 1431 she was burned at the stake. It wasn’t for 25 years that her case was reopened and evaluated and pronounced innocent and a martyr. She was 19 years old.

[singlepic id=18 w=320 h=240 float=right]At 17 Florence Nightingale felt God calling her to a life different than the expected life of a woman in the 1800’s. Her mother was preoccupied with marrying her daughter off, but Florence had other plans. At 25 when she rejected an offer of marriage she announced to her parents that she wanted to become a nurse. Her desire to go into medicine was reinforced when she met Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female qualified as a doctor in the United States. When Florence was 31 her father gave her permission to study medicine.

After receiving her training, She was name lady superintendent of a hospital for invalid women in London. When the Crimean War broke out, she traveled, along with 38 other nurses to Turkey to aid the wounded soldiers. Appalled at the sanitary conditions of the hospital, she petitioned for change. Annoyed at her request, seen as an attack of the doctors quality of care, she was denied. She contacted a reporter at The Times that she knew and through his reports via Florence the publicity forced change. She was also instrumental in improving the quality of nursing in military hospitals, which eventually led to the formation of the Army Medical College, she wrote two books to promote her views on reform, as well as found a school for nurses and trained them. She was 90 when she passed away.

[singlepic id=20 w=320 h=240 float=left]Susan B. Anthony was a woman’s civil rights activist. Born into an activist family, she was originally involved in the abolitionist  movement (a movement to end slavery) and the temperance movement (a movement dedicated to ending the sale and production of all alcohol). It was during this time that she was denied the ability to speak because she was a woman. This inspired her to join with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and found the Nation Woman’s Suffrage Movement in 1869. She dedicated her life to this movement. She felt women would never be taken seriously until they had the right to vote. She felt so strongly that she voted during the presidential election of 1872 illegally. She was arrested and fought unsuccessfully against the charges. She was ordered to pay $100 fine. She never paid it. Susan B. Anthony died 14 years before she the fruits of her labor was realized when the 19th Amendment to the constitution was passed. She was 86 when she died; 73 years later she was honored as the first woman to have her portrait engraved into the one dollar coin.

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