In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to note that it was on this day in 1820 that Florence Nightingale was born in Firenze (Florence), Italy to a prominent British family. Her family returned to England the following year. While still in her teens, Nightingale developed a strong affinity for helping those in times of need. Her strong devotion led her to reject several marriage proposals; something unheard of in her day where women were expected to marry and have children. She probably acquired her independence from her own father, William Edward Nightingale, who provided his daughter with a solid education that included mathematics.
Nightingale came to prominence during the Crimean War where she tended to wounded soldiers. She became known as “The Lady with the Lamp,” after her habit of making her rounds at night. In 1860, she laid the foundation for professional nursing when she almost single-handedly designed a nursing program at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. Now, her birthday is celebrated as International Nurses Day.
Nightingale obviously was the original “Super Mom!” Her personal determination and professional contributions have had a long-lasting impact on modern society.