Clara Barton learned in the Universalist church she was raised in that God is love, and that all lives are precious. As she grew up she took those lessons seriously, recognizing that we are called to care for people’s bodies, not just their souls.
Clara Barton became a teacher, but when the Civil War broke out she was horrified to learn that food and medical supplies weren’t getting to the soldiers, and that many suffered and even died for lack of food, water, and treatment for their injuries.
Although people at the time didn’t think women were strong enough to handle being in the midst of war, Clara raised money for supplies, and snuck in at midnight to a battlefield in Virginia, where she set about cooking food and treating the injured. She even learned how to remove a bullet from a person using just a pen knife!
Clara Barton cared for soldiers from both sides at 14 battle sites. And when the war was over, she was the person who founded the American Red Cross, bringing to the United States the idea of an organization that would care for all people in a crisis, restoring safety and health to bodies.