Cicely Saunders

Cicely Saunders, medical director of St. Christopher’s Hospice in London, “founded the first modern hospice and, more than anybody else, was responsible for establishing the discipline and the culture of palliative care. She introduced effective pain management and insisted that dying people needed dignity, compassion, and respect. … Saunders was originally an agnostic, but, while on holiday in Cornwall with some Christian friends, she discovered she really believed in God. It was, she said, ‘as if a switch had flipped.’” As a young person, Saunders had wanted to be a nurse but was dissuaded by her father. Later she was able to follow her dream and become a doctor. After going to medical school, she changed the culture of how we care for the dying. Her life theme was obvious from childhood but came to fruition much later. God changed the trajectory of her life and influenced her beliefs later in life regarding euthanasia and the respect for dying individuals (Caroline Richmond, “Dame Cicely Saunders, Founder of the Modern Hospice Movement, Dies,” The BMJ, accessed July 26, 2021,