Nightingale Prayer — The Flame of Florence Nightingale's Legacy
“Today, our world needs healing and to be rekindled with Love.
Once, Florence Nightingale lit her beacon of lamplight to comfort the wounded.
Her light has blazed a path of service across a Century to us --
through her example and through the countless nurses and healers
who have followed in her footsteps.
“Today, we celebrate the flame of Florence Nightingale's legacy.
Let that same light be rekindled to burn brightly in our hearts.
Let us take up our own ‘lanterns of caring,’ each in our own ways —
to more brightly walk our own paths of service to the world —
to more clearly share our own ‘noble purpose’ with each other.
“May human caring become the lantern for the 21st century.
May we better learn to care for ourselves, for each other and for all Creation.
“Through our caring, may we be the keepers of that flame.
That our spirits may burn brightly to kindle the hearts of our children and great-grandchildren — as they, too, follow in these footsteps.”
Deva-Marie Beck, PhD, RN © 1996
You may freely use this Prayer — in its entirety — for nursing ceremonies and events, especially with your plans to celebrate the 2020 Bicentenary of Nightingale's birth. When you do, we'd love to hear from you and please credit the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health, this webpage and attribute the author, Dr. Deva-Marie Beck. Thanks!
A United Nations Tribute to Florence Nightingale at 'Scutari' Barracks
First written by Dr. Beck in 1996, this Prayer was initially featured during her Keynote Address at the ‘International Tribute to Florence Nightingale at Scutari’ during the 1996 United Nations Summit on Human Settlements — Habitat II — in Istanbul. The photo here was captured during this 'Tribute' hosted at the same 'Scutari' Barracks (now called Selimiye) where Nightingale actually served during the Crimean War. It shows an original candle-lighting ceremony — created for this 'Tribute' — by nursing students from the University of Istanbul School of Nursing and the Red Crescent School of Nursing — who wore historic costumes, including one honoring Nightingale, shown left, lighting candles for all students participating.
'The Flame of Florence Nightingale's Legacy' Prayer has since been highlighted at numerous ceremonies honoring nurses, including at three Nightingale Services celebrated at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. — notably for the 2010 International Year of the Nurse /Florence Nightingale Centennial.
It has also been featured on the front-pages of several books and journals honoring Nightingale’s legacy.