Isabella Gilmore, Deaconess

16 April -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Pastors, page 483

Born in 1842, Isabella Gilmore, the sister of William Morris, was a nurse at Guy's Hospital in London and in 1886, was asked by Bishop Thorold of Rochester to pioneer deaconess work in his diocese. The bishop overcame her initial reluctance and together they planned for an Order of Deaconesses along the same lines as the ordained ministry. She was ordained in 1887 and a training house developed on North Side, Clapham Common, later to be called Gilmore House in her memory. Isabella herself retired in 1906 and, during her nineteen years of service, she trained head deaconesses for at least seven other dioceses. At her memorial service, Dr Randall Davidson predicted that "Some day, those who know best will be able to trace much of the origin and root of the revival of the Deaconess Order to the life, work, example and words of Isabella Gilmore." She died on this day in 1923.