I suppose most of our members have heard the story of Florence Nightingale, The Lady of The Lamp. Who went to the Crimea to care for the wounded. There is no doubt that Nightingale did wonderful work during that dreadful War. But it has to be understood that Florence Nightingale was "high born". She was of the Aristocracy, and had immense influence with the "powers that be"; from the British Government to the War Office.
She was given enormous help with her work. She got everything she asked for. Including a pre-fabricated hospital built in England, and shipped out to the Crimea.
Florence Nightingale deserves her fame and Honours, for her work both in nursing and improving Social Conditions. Her belief in the old adage, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", worked wonders in the treatment of wounded soldiers.
But Nightingale never healed anybody! She cured nothing! The Medical Profession did that! However, she did found The College of Nursing and Midwifery, at King's College, London. For that, alone, her life's work was worthwhile.
And yet! And yet!
There was another lady at the Crimea who really did heal the sick and wounded. She used the Herbal medicines taught to her by her mother. She cured many of Cholera and Typhoid. She understood "contagion", that disease could pass from one patient to another.
One doctor remarked to a newspaper (The Times) that her remedies were "More like witchcraft than proper medicine!"
She healed festering wounds by applying "herbal" poultices.She healed serious diseases, not only in the Crimea, but also in other parts of the world during outbreaks of Typhoid and Cholera.
One British officer wrote home. "I don't think she is a witch as people are saying. But, if she is, she's a damn good one!"
This lady and her work was long forgotten.Only in the past few years has she even been recognized by the British War Office.
Why? Because in Victorian England such a woman would be dismissed as a "Non-entity". Not fit to even mix with British officers, let alone "nurse" them!
She was "written out" of Crimean History.
Now, why would the British think of this wonderful woman as "beneath contempt". The answer lies in not so much as who she was, but what she was.
Her name was Mary Seacole, and she was black!
(Actually she was very light brown. But she was Jamaican; and that was enough to condemn her.)
Was she a witch?
Well, she listed all her remedies, and all have been used by witches for centuries.Of course, at that time,nobody would admit to being a witch. It was against the Law!
So, remember that name, Mary Grant Seacole. A nurse, a healer,and quite possibly, a Witch!