Mission Driven Stories: Clara Barton

“She will never assert herself for herself—she will suffer wrong first—but for others she will be perfectly fearless…Throw responsibility upon her.” Mr. Fowler of the young Clara Barton

Young Clara Barton struggled with shyness, yet as a young woman, she faced the stark battlefield of the Civil War to bring relief to wounded soldiers.  Despite her weakness, Clara overcame her fear to fulfill a call to life mission. 

Listen to this episode to see how Clara’s life followed the pattern of the 7 Laws of Life Mission.  You’ll hear how Clara’s parents and siblings nurtured within her a love of God, truth, and humanity which prepared her to serve and bless those around her and eventually lead to the founding of the American Red Cross.

Listener’s Guide:

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast.

1:05  Clara’s childhood and early education
10:15  Parents instilled a love of God and principles
17:01  Honesty about weaknesses
28.11  Caring for  her brother
32:09  Given a school to teach

Quotes from this episode:

“Naturally my book education became their first care, and under these conditions it is little to say, that I have no knowledge of ever learning to read, or of a time that I did not do my own story reading.  The other studies followed very early.” ~Clara Barton

“Multiplication, division, subtraction, halves, quarters and wholes, soon ceased to be a mystery, and no toy equaled my little slate.” ~Clara Barton

“During the winter I had become the happy possessor of a Menseur’s Geography and Atlas.  It is questionable if my satisfaction was fully shared by others of the household.  I required a great deal of assistance in the study of my maps, and became so interested that I could not sleep, and was not willing that others should, but persisted in waking my poor drowsy sister in the cold winter mornings to sit up in bed and by the light of a tallow candle, help me to find mountains, rivers, counties, oceans, lakes, islands, isthmuses, channels, cities, towns and capitals.” ~Clara Barton

“…long vacations in which the out-of-doors played by far the most prominent part.  There were garden and flower beds to be made, choice pets animals to look after, a few needy families with little children to be thought of, and some sewing to be attempted.” ~Clara Barton

“…my Sabbath breaking and unbecoming conduct, and all the trouble I had caused [revived my] conscience, and my mental suffering far exceeded my physical.  I despised myself and failed to sleep or eat.” ~Clara Barton

“Sleepless, restless, in agony both physical and mental, his case grew desperate.  He had been my ideal from earliest memory.  I was distressed beyond measure at his condition.  I had been his little protege, and his companion, and in his nervous wretchedness he clung to me.  Thus, from the first days and nights of his illness, I remained near his side…I could not be taken away from him except by compulsion, and he was unhappy until my return…I learned to take all directions for his medicines from physician and to administer them like a genuine nurse…This state of things continued with little change for two years…” ~Clara Barton

“It seemed very strange to me to be in school again.  I had been so long accustomed to govern myself, in a manner, that I wondered how any one should need others to govern them.  If scholars came there to learn, why should they try, or want, to do anything else?” ~Clara Barton

“I think it usually occurs in small communities that there is one family, or one house, to which all strangers or new comers naturally gravitate.  Nothing was plainer than that ours was that house.  All lecturers, upon any subject, clergymen on trial, whoever had a new idea to expound and was in need of an abiding place meanwhile, found on there.  My father’s active and liberal mind inclined him to examination and toleration, and his cordial hospitality was seconded by my mother’s welcome to any one who could bring new thought or culture to herself and her family.” ~Clara Barton

Book from this episode: