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In 1889, just five years after the arrival of the Philadelphia sisters, the General Synod of the Lutheran Church (USA) created a Board of Deaconess Work, designating deaconesses as persons holding an “office of the church”.

They opened a Motherhouse in Baltimore in 1895; the School was opened in 1910. They entered the nursing field, but not in hospitals. They were sent into the homes of the sick – as their German sisters still do.

They went to parishes to complement the pastor’s work, and entered the ‘foreign mission field.’ This action by a Lutheran Church in instituting a Deaconess Community was a first for Lutheranism worldwide.

The School was for all women church workers, offering courses for parish workers, church educators, church secretaries, and pastors’ wives, as well as deaconesses and missionaries.

It continued operating until 1965, by which time deaconess candidates were attending seminaries across the country.

Baltimore Mother House Images
Click here, or on the image above to look at archival images of the Baltimore Motherhouse.

OMAHA The Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Association for Works of Mercy was founded at Omaha, Nebraska in 1887 by the Rev. Erik Alfred Fogelstrom. In 1890 Pastor Fogelstrom created the Immanuel Hospital and Deaconess Mother House after sending women to Philadelphia and...

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