Wounded Healers

“They who, themselves, have trodden with bleeding feet the Via Crucis [Way of the Cross] know best how to pity. Thackeray wrote: ‘Most likely the Good Samaritan was a man who had been robbed and beaten on life’s road and knew what it was to lie stripped and bruised by the wayside.’ The superintendent of a large hospital reports that most of the gifts for buildings or endowments come from bereaved or otherwise afflicted people. It is said that most of the improvements in artificial limbs have been invented by the first man who lost a limb on the Confederate side in our Civil War [James Edward Hanger]. Out of his crippled condition benefits have emerged for thousands of maimed. Out of Senator Leland Stanford’s loss of his only child came limitless benefit to endless generations of boys by the building of Leland Stanford, Jr., University. Out of A. R. Crittenton’s loss of a loved daughter came his impulse to father thousands of friendless girls by the establishment of Florence Crittenton Homes in near a hundred cities for a class most in need of true friends and least likely to have them. Out of George Matheson’s bitterest hour of anguish comes one of the great hymns of the ages to comfort the anguish of countless souls with the ‘Love that wilt not let me go.’ . . . It was because Miss Sullivan had suffered an attack of blindness lasting several years that she was moved with sympathy toward a little blind deaf-mute child in Tuscumbia, Alabama; whereby Helen Keller got a teacher who brought her out of darkness into the marvelous light of a wonderful life.”

Source: William Valentine Kelley, A Salute to the Valiant

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