Triumph of Modern Culture: the Saga of Sisters of Mercy

Triumph of Modern Culture: the Saga of Sisters of Mercy

" I will use my care and labor
To serve my ill brethren
Until I have any strength left..."

(From the Oath of the Sisters of Mercy of the Krestovozdvizhensky Congregation,1854)

The eyes of such women shine with love and suffering for the entire world. Their talk fascinates, their touch brings people back to life. They are like motherly women for the inexhaustible passion of their service and selflessness of their love. 

The history of Russian sisters of mercy is inseparably connected with the name of Yekaterina Mikhaylovna Bakunina (1811-1894), one of the most active participants of the first Russian congregation of the Sisters of mercy (the Krestovozdviznehnsky Congregation ). After receiving an excellent education, appropriate for her title of nobility, nevertheless she didn't want to shine at balls and salons. Instead, she decided to devote her life to working at military hospitals. 

Yekaterina Bakunina went through both The Crimean War (1853-1856), and The Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). She carried the wounded from battlefields, helped doctors to perform amputations, nursed cripples back to health. She worked for free considering recvery of patients to be her reward. When the time of peace came she organized a hospital for peasants in her estate where she worked and later, died.




Yekaterina Bakunina's life can be called a heroic deed in the name of mercy for the suffering. Many noble women followed her example. So, what made those women change their expensive dresses for monk robes and participate in hostilities?

These women are definitely special! They don't consider upbringing children and creating family hearth to be their mission. Front line is the filed of their activities. Such women are always by men’s side for not to be protected by them, but to help them overcome obstacles, to be there for them, to console, to support, to reassure, to inspire… An incredibly strong character is hidden in their beautiful female bodies. They are hardy, have a strong spirit, they will never leave you alone in difficult moments. At the same time, they are incredibly sensitive that makes them able to empathize with other people.

Vector Systems Psychology defines these women as dermal-visual females. 

From the primeval times such woman has always accompanied men at hunting and war. Full of empathy and love, they eased the pressure of a hard day. At daytime she was on guard looking all around with her incredibly sharp eyes. 

The visual vector derived from a primitive female makes an individual be afraid for herself and, in combination with the dermal vector it can evoke victimization, a hidden desire to be a victim. However, a developed dermal-visual woman sublimes the desire to be afraid for herself into a sacrifice tendency, meaning a voluntary bestowal. This is the way her consciousness is programmed. Due to that the dermal visual female used to perform the innate role that nature has entitled her with; her fear for her own life immediately turns into empathy with another person. The essence of compassion and empathy is to give one's emotions for other people's benefit.

svoi emotsii dlya blaga drugih



Yekaterina Bakunina’s family was in the center of the capital life thanks to her father who was a governor of the Petersburg Province and the mother, who was a second cousin of a commander Kutuzov. Public figures and statesmen often gathered in their house. They chose topics of all kinds for their discussions. Katya knew everything about the war of 1812, her imagination drew pictures of great battles, where she participated most actively… Besides military topics, works of Pushkin, Karamzin, Zhukovsky, Krylov were discussed and moreover, one could even feel a certain empathy with the Decembrists during those conversations.

One day the conversation started about the role of women in the sphere of medical assistance. Young Katya learned that there wasn’t a single country in the world where women were allowed to care for the wounded! The girl was so astonished by this fact that she decided to devote her entire life to working in military hospitals. She was sure that only a woman, due to her angelic patience and mercy is able to bring dying back to life! 

Yekaterina Bakunina’s worldview was formed under the beneficial influence of her family. The girl grew up surrounded by respectable, honest and loving people. It is known that Ekaterina’s mother accopanied her husband (Katya’s father) in the Persian campaign of 1796. Also in 1812 she witnessed memorable episodes of the Patriotic War. 

Yekaterina wrote in her memoirs “I spent my youth the way all noble girls did, meaning,visits, music lessons, painting, domestic performances, balls, where, to tell you the truth, I enjoyed dancing and, perhaps, modern young ladies who attend lectures and go to dissecting room would call me a “milk-and-water girl.” No, she definitely didn't want to become a “milk-and-water” girl! It was not in her character to spend a lifetime receiving egoistic pleasures. 

Social influence is inseparable from individual development. Every person is an interacting part of a social organism. A failure of one part has a negative effect on others. Isolation leads to destruction. Personal realization is only possible to achieve being interconnected with other people. 

Yekaterina Bakunina's mission in life was to serve others. The life scenario of every developed dermal-visual woman consists in giving her love in the name of salvation. Love pushes out the fear which is natural to fulfil an innate role, namely to get scared in order to warn a group against danger and survive. An underdeveloped dermal-visual woman is incapable of selfless love. She demands compassion, empathy, understanding, and care from others. Such woman feels fear all the time because this is the only way she can get her emotions out. 



In 1854 grand duchess Yelena Pavlovna, a widow of the grand duke Michael Pavlovich and a founder of the military field surgery, Pirogov, organized the Krestovozdvizhenskaya congregation of Sisters of Mercy in St. Petersburg for soldiers. After training, the nurses were sent to the war that has started in the Crimea in the autumn of 1853. By the time this war started Yekaterina Bakunina was already 40 years old, but she didn't hesitate for a moment. She immediately joined the congregation and was one of the first nurses to go to Sevastopol, where the battles were held. 

She was put on duty at the dressing station. Over 10 amputations were performed there daily! Pirogov, the head surgeon of the besieged Sevastopol, described her with the following words: “she showed spirit that is hardly of woman's nature. Yekaterina Bakunina performed her service with patience and meekness. She helped every patient as if her own life depended on his recovery. Her emotions pushed out her fears. There was no aversion, irritability, dislike. She cared equally about everyone around her." 

zabotilas obo vseh kto ee okruzhal

She was carrying out her natural mission with dignity. Her fears were superseded by compassion and empathy. This is the origin of her great willpower along with her selfless service to the suffering. Fighting zealously for every life, this woman seemed to be challenging the death itself!

In 1856, right after the Crimea War was over, Yekaterina was appointed a head of the Krestovozdvizhensky Congregation, but she decided to decline this position after a year of work. She did not enjoy peaceful routine work, “My soul rests in peace only in a hospital, at the patients’ bedside, seeing nurses carrying out their duties zealously and hearing the words of gratitude from those who suffer…”, Yekaterina confessed. 



When the Russo-Turkish war started in 1877 Bakunina decided to go to the front again. At first, she was at the head of one of the Red Cross nurses squads, but in a short time she became in charge of all the front hospitals from Tbilisi to Alexandropol.

After the war was over, Bakunina returned to her estate. Having the experience of medical work and, most importantly, aspired to help the suffering, Yekaterina paid her money to open a clinic for the peasants of the village of Kazitsin and she regularly invited doctors there. At the outpatients’ visit time her yard filled with people, as the number of the sufferers was often over hundred. Later Bakunina turned the clinic into a hospital and opened a pharmacy. 

Rumors about Ekaterina’s mercy reached Empress Mariya Alexandrovna. As a result, the Kazitsinsky hospital was given an annual grant in the amount of 200 rubles, a stuff paramedic was appointed there along with organizing regular doctors’ visits. As for Ekaterina, she was offered to control all local clinics by the local officials and she accepted this appointment with gratitude.

After Empress Maria Alexandrovna passed away money grants for the Kazitsinskya Clinic were reduced by half. Yekaterina's request to local authorities to provide the hospital with money was refused. So, she had to close it ... but couldn't stop helping people she used to serve all her life, she continued to see patients at her house.



Yekaterina Bakunina lived for others and didn't arrange her personal life. She remained single but never felt lonely! Completely developed dermal and visual vectors nourished her with such strong and noble qualities that she literally effused love as a shrine effuses a blessed myrrh. She couldn't live otherwise and Pirogov witnessed that fact, “We should never let an ideal leave our thoughts and hearts instead it should be our constant guide; demand to become it reality according to your passionate desires and if it doesn't, then mourning and grieving are unworthy of your nature."

A dermal-visual woman can experience a happy marriage only if she is married to an urethral man, a natural chief. Unsubdued and not apt to give birth to children, she directs him forward, to the future. This way society develops. If there is no chief for her, she gives all her inexhaustible energy to others feeling the need to bestow and satisfaction from self-realization. Marriage limits her ability to bestow, as it is important for her to love everybody and to bestow to everyone. She is given over to the entire world, not to any one individually. 

Yekaterina Bakunina, as a developed dermal-visual woman, has always pointed out importance and inviolability of human life. This very goal made her become one of the founders of the hospital movement in Russia, the founder of the medical service in the Tver Province, the forerunner of medical education for women. Her life is a great example of individual heroism and the highest level of development for a dermal-visual woman.

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The article is based on Yuri Burlan's System-Vector Psychology training
Article was read by 5017 people.
Posted on: June 2, 2013
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