‘The Calling Window’ is a new stained-glass window to be sited in St George’s Chapel, Romsey Abbey in 2020 to celebrate and commemorate the bi-centenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
The window will be dedicated at a special service in Romsey Abbey on 17th May 2020**. More details about this service will follow. ** Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this service has been postponed.
The artist Sophie Hacker visited Romsey Abbey early in 2019 to give a talk about the process of making the window and the symbolism included in the design.
This project has been fully funded by donors.
The photo by Ken Gibson shows Sophie Hacker together with the window design.
In an extract from an article published in our parish magazine ‘Open Door’ (January 2019) the artist, Sophie Hacker, summarises below how this project came about.
Earlier this year, I was approached by members of the Nightingale family, and a number of anonymous donors, to design a window to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. This modest Hampshire woman went on to have a global impact on many aspects of social care, health, sanitation, and nursing. Romsey played an important part in Nightingale’s life, where she met with friends, shopped and socialised with her family, and where her political interests developed. She cared deeply about and worked to improve, the well-being of its residents throughout her life. Romsey Abbey, one of the finest, most beautiful and significant churches in the diocese and county, is a fitting and historically appropriate location to honour a woman of such international significance. The window reflects a historical event in Nightingale’s life, at the age of sixteen, when she received a clear ‘call’ from God. Nightingale is seated on a stone bench in the grounds of Embley Park, turning towards a bright light breaking in between the twin trunks of a cedar tree. Four words emerge, ‘Lo, it is I’. For Nightingale, these words summed up the essence of Christian faith, as Christ rises above the chaos of the world, walking on troubled waters, bringing consolation and peace. The light radiates outwards, in the shape of the cross. For Nightingale, Good Friday represented the most important day of the Christian year, reflecting her life-long choice to place sacrifice and service above all things.
Tim Daykin from BBC Radio Solent interviewed Sophie Hacker in her studio about The Calling Window. A clip (duration 5 minutes 30) from Tim’s full radio program (broadcast on 29th December 2019) is available to listen to online at BBC Radio Solent together with some photos in their Gallery.