WOMEN WHO LEANED ON GOD

Embracing the spirit of Christ

"The impulse to share the lives of the poor ...is as old as Christianity itself."

JANE ADDAMS'S EARLY life was one of privilege. After college, in the 1880s, she traveled to Europe, where the wretched conditions of the poor moved her deeply. The idea of providing a place where immigrants and other people could come for meals and for social and cultural exchanges grew in her thought, but she did not act on it.

Then, in April 1888, her ideas coalesced in a moral awakening, which she describes in her book Twenty Years at Hull-House: "It was suddenly made quite clear to me that I was lulling my conscience by a dreamer's scheme, that a mere paper reform had become a defense for continued idleness....

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