Originating a movement: Cicely Saunders and the development of St. Christopher's Hospice

Clark, D. (1998) Originating a movement: Cicely Saunders and the development of St. Christopher's Hospice. Mortality, 3(1), pp. 43-63. (doi: 10.1080/713685885)

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In 1957 Cicely Saunders wrote her first paper on the care of the dying. Two years later the vision of the hospice she was to found, St Christopher’s, was already highly developed and had been set down in detail. There followed a lengthy period of lobbying, organizing, fundraising and planning before the first patients entered the hospice in the summer of 1967. This paper explores some of the key events and circumstances of this important decade and shows that, even before St Christopher’s Hospice had begun operational life, it had already become a source of inspiration, not only to others elsewhere in Britain, but also to individuals and groups overseas, particularly in the United States. A narrative is revealed in which faith, reason and practice are closely intertwined and where the discourses of medicine and religion are at times in tension. A clear picture emerges of strategic intent, wherein the endorsement of key figures in the British establishment plays an important part. Linking ‘vision’ and ‘strategy’ is an assiduous attention to detail, accompanied by prodigious personal energy. Commentators frequently ignore the enormous achievements and the extent to which the ‘hospice movement’ was taking form even before St Christopher’s was operational. Analysis of developments in the decade 1957–67 reveals further insight into the complex interplay between the charismatic influence of Cicely Saunders and the wider environment in which her work is located.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Clark, Professor David
Authors: Clark, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Mortality
ISSN (Online):1469-9885
Published Online:19 August 2010

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