Mission Driven Stories: Dorothea Dix

“No mere acquisition of knowledge was of any value in her eyes in comparison with a longing to dedicate it to the service of humanity.” ~Francis Tiffany about Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix was remarkable! 

Despite being raised by a mentally ill father, deprived of a proper education, born down by the early responsibility of two younger brothers and suffering from her own physical illnesses, Dorothea determined to make something beautiful and purposeful of her life. 

Not surprisingly, her life perfectly exemplifies the 7 Laws of Life Mission. Through her determination to love God and serve Him, she learned to better care for her health, studied hard to gain a deep classical education, took on adult responsibilities at a young age, and came to love people of all cultures and faiths. Then, as it always does, her calling came when she visited insane women in prison. Moved by deep compassion for their helpless state, she determined to spend the rest of her life championing the cause of the insane poor in a world that was indifferent to their plight. 

The story of Dorothea’s life will encourage and inspire you to strive a little harder to fulfill your own life mission!

Listener’s Guide:

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

4:47       Her feelings on being a public figure
9:22       Her father
12:20     Leaving home-Her grandmother
15:10      Determined to teach
18:37      Law 1 – Letters of examination
20:09     Law 2 – Love of self
22:25      Law 3 – Love of truth
23:51      Law 4 – Love of humanity
26:20     How she gained a love of humanity
31:42      Law 5  – The catalyst for her work    
34:25      Law 6 – She studies insanity
36:04     The Massachusetts Legislature
39:04     Law 7 – Being a voice for good

Quotes from this episode:

“I feel it right to say to you frankly that nothing could be undertaken which would give me more pain and serious annoyance, which would so trespass on my personal rights,…or interfere more seriously with the real usefulness of my mission. I am not ambitious of nominal distinctions, and notoriety is my special aversion. My reputation and my services belong to my country.” ~Dorothea Dix

“I never knew childhood!” ~Dorothea Dix

“Eager for knowledge, ambitious for more refined and intellectual social opportunities, loaded down already with a premature sense of responsibility, thus early had the iron entered her soul, and the conviction been developed in her of the reality and sharpness of the battle of life.” ~Francis Tiffany 

“To become independent in means, to educate herself for a position that would command support and respect, to be able to get her two younger brothers under the same roof with her and enact the part of child-mother to them—this early developed into the indomitable purpose of her life.” ~Francis Tiffany 

“Happily preparation for this calling [teacher] was in the line of the deepest instincts of her nature. These were at that time thirst for knowledge and longing to exert direct moral influence.” ~Francis Tiffany 

Her sense of pitiful compassion for the ignorant, degraded, and suffering was the strongest element in her being.” ~Francis Tiffany 

“The hour of bodily suffering is to me the house of spiritual joy. It is then that most I feel my dependence on God and his power to sustain.” ~Dorothea Dix

“No mere acquisition of knowledge was of any value in her eyes in comparison with a longing to dedicate it to the service of humanity.” ~Francis Tiffany 

“…vivid interest in all the branches of natural history, which unquestionably would have asserted itself as the dominant passion of her mind, had it not been overmastered by the still stronger passion for consecrating herself to the relief of human suffering.” ~Francis Tiffany

“But there are duties to be performed here. Life is not to be expended in vain regrets. No day, no hour, comes but brings in its train work to be performed for some useful end, —the suffering to be comforted, the wandering led home, the sinner reclaimed. Oh! How can any fold the hands to rest, and say to the spirit, ‘Take thine ease, for all is well!” ~Dorothea Dix

Truth is the highest consideration. I tell what I have seen.”~Dorothea Dix

 “In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do.” ~Dorothea Dix

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