Friday, April 7, 2017

F for Fabiola: Female Scientists Before Our Time

St. Fabiola - painting/copy
Jacques Henner
In the mid-First century, the Jewish sect and early Christians felt called to care for the sick and infirm. Those in the Greek and Roman religions were apparently not as charitable. It was therefore not uncommon for priests to be physicians, and for women in the church to serve as nurses and more. Hospitals grew and medical knowledge was preserved by the church as a result.


One such nurse (and physician), Fabiola, established a hospital in Rome for the poor around the year 400. It was the first Christian public hospital in western Europe. Saint Jerome (church father, theologian and historian) wrote that Fabiola “assembled all the sick from the streets and highways" and "personally tended the unhappy and impoverished victims of hunger and disease... washed the pus from sores that others could not even behold."

Fabiola had been born into a patrician Roman family of noble rank and wealth, but life didn’t go well for her in early adulthood. After divorcing her first husband (accordingly, a “vicious life”) and marrying a second time, she lost favor with the church.


Upon the death of both husbands, however, she did penance and was granted full communion and reentry into the church by the pope. She then spent time in a convent with nuns and devoted the rest of her life serving the poor and suffering, and helping the church financially. It’s not clear when she was made a Catholic saint by the church. She died around 399 AD.        


 



Source:
https://www.kateriirondequoit.org/resources/saints-alive/fabiola-fursey/st-fabiola-benefactress/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Fabiola; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_health_care

24 comments:

  1. It's amazing that she was born into a family of noble rank and wealth, yet turned to a life serving the poor and suffering. Another amazing woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems she had no regrets leaving the old life behind. An admirable woman! Thank you, Michelle.

      Delete
  2. Mother Teresa's predecessor, perhaps?

    A great theme. I have to catch up with your previous posts.

    Cheers,
    https://akprowling.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/f-is-for-filter-coffee/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mother Teresa would be a good comparison. I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!

      Delete
  3. Exactly what I was thinking - a modern day Mother Theresa - what a brave and compassionate woman .. thanks Sharon ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, very... She had a rough start though. Her transition must have been truly extraordinary. Thanks, Susan.

      Delete
  4. A wonderful "F" post Sharon, these ladies certainly were great in their day.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I am filled with admiration, especially for Fabiola.

      Delete
  5. Ah - a medieval Florence Nightingale, wonder what motivated them to serve the sick selflessly like that? Admirable!

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, someone else I hadn't thought of. I think Fabiola's faith in God was a strong motivator. Thank you, Nilanjana.

      Delete
  6. A very dedicated woman by all accounts. I wonder what kind of knowledge she carried around in her head that was lost to the ages.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think a lot of medicine was passed down, such as the use of herbs and other folk remedies. Some later ladies in this series tell more. Thanks, Natasha!

      Delete
  7. Another interesting find. So few women have been accredited in traditional histories it is wonderful to learn about these strong women.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, so true. Thank you. Men were recorded more in history, as men were usually the historians. These ladies existed, but we know little about them, unless documented in the church as Fabiola was.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Yes, odd isn't it, as historically, the Catholic has taken a strong stand on divorce. But apparently she satisfied the pope with her penance. Thanks, Tamara.

      Delete
  9. Another amazing woman. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A divorced catholic woman who worked and became a saint...will wonders never cease?:) This was very interesting to read about this woman who defied the basic rules of the day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. She must have been the real McCoy to convince the pope, and her charitable work spoke volumes. Pretty awesome lady. Thanks, Birgit!

      Delete
  11. Interesting that she tried married life with two husbands before accepting her true, and obviously very forceful calling.

    Musings Over Poetry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gail, welcome! I think there is much more to her story...concerning her conversion and faith. I think "very forceful calling" is an apt description!

      Delete
  12. Hi Sharon - fascinating history ... I knew the name, but not that there was a Saint. So interesting what we find out as we travel our A-Z journey ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/g-is-for-goose-gobbling-or-otherwise.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hilary. It has been a very interesting journey! The world may be coming apart at the seams, but as bloggers, we are building beautiful bridges of communication and education.

      Delete

"Stay" is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary
(A.B. Alcott). Stay and visit awhile. Your comments mean a lot to me.