Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science movement, was one of the most prominent spiritual leaders and writers of her time. She believed that Christian Science was the only way to bring spiritually practical solution for health as well as moral issues. Mary Baker Eddy was also the founder of the six time Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper "The Christian Science Monitor". She is known for her spiritual teachings, lectures and instantaneous healing ability. Her writings, till date, influence the world.
Youngest of the six children of Abigail and Mark Baker, Mary Baker Eddy was born on July 16, 1821, in Bow, New Hampshire. Born to Congregationalist parents, she did not believe in predestination and original sin, unlike her family. Due to her ill health and restrictions on women's education, Mary received much of her teaching at home only, from her brother Albert. From an early age, she had discovered that treating sick people formed an integral part of Christian service. As a result, she started helping the ailing farm animals, so that they could be cured and healed. Mary joined the Congregational Church, at Sanbornton Bridge, after she turned seventeen.Around this time, she also joined Pembroke Academy. During her years at the Academy, she once calmed down a lunatic and he allowed himself to be taken into custody without resistance.
Mary started experiencing tragedy since a tender age. She lost her brother when she was 20. Her marriage to George Glover, when she was 22, also ended up in a tragedy, as her husband died only six months after their marriage, leaving a pregnant Mary all alone. From writing some political pieces for the New Hampshire Patriot to working as a substitute teacher in the New Hampshire Conference Seminary, Mary had a hard time as a widow. A single mother, she faced a lot of problem in bringing up her child. In the year 1849, Mary lost her mother as well as her fiancée, within a span of three months. Her father remarried Elizabeth Patterson Duncan. With a hope to regain a stable life, Mary married a second time. However, her marriage to Daniel Patterson, in 1853, eventually ended up in divorce.
Study with Phineas Quimby & His Influence
Mary Baker Eddy became a patient of Phineas Quimby, a magnetic healer from Maine, in 1862. Though she only received temporary relief from his treatment, it was his beliefs that played a major role in her life. His influence was greatly reflected in her later thinking and writing. Though Mary acclaimed and recognized Quimby's hypnotic treatments initially and was of the opinion that hypnotism was a kind gesture of Quimby, she had different opinions on the nature of thought on the body later on and rejected any form of hypnotism. It was through Quimby that Mary was exposed to the effects of unseen mental influences and beliefs on sick patients for the first time.
Healing Through Christian Science
After going through so many tragedies in her life, Mary Baker Eddy found the only respite from reading the Bible. Gaining spiritual insights from the holy book, she also found herself recovering from a life-threatening accident. In the years that followed, she read the Holy Scriptures deeply, looking for a spiritual system behind the healing works of Christ Jesus. She also tested her learning by trying to heal people, included those who were considered medically incurable. Using the spiritual system, which she called 'Christian Science', Mary also taught others the art of healing. According to her, the healing method was nothing, but a new understanding of God as an Infinite Spirit, beyond the limitations of the material senses.
Mary Baker Eddy published her first edition of 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures', in 1875. The book was based on theology and healing system of Christian Science. Four years later, she founded a church in Boston, Massachusetts, and served as its pastor for about ten years. In the year 1881, she opened a college, The Massachusetts Metaphysical College, to teach people her system of healing. The people enrolled in the college included doctors, lawyers, businessmen and homemakers. Two years later, Mary also started a monthly magazine, "The Christian Science Journal," and became its first editor. In 1892, she reorganized the church. After a few years, Mary again became the pastor of the church and ordained the Bible and "Science and Health". Today, the church its presence in more than seventy countries around the world and is known as 'Churches of Christ or Scientistof Boston'. It was in 1898 that Mary Baker Eddy established a publishing company and added a weekly magazine to its publications. A decade later, she founded "The Christian Science Monitor".
Mary Baker Eddy breathed her last on December 3, 1910, at her house, in 400 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill section of Newton, Massachusetts. She was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Honors & Awards
- Her book, 'Science and Health' remained a bestseller for over 90 years.
- 'Science and Health' was selected as one of the '75 Books By Women Whose Words Have Changed The World', by the Women's National Book Association.
- In 1995, Mary was inducted in the National Women's Hall of Fame.
- In the year 2002, 'The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity' was opened to public, allowing them access to hundreds of thousands of documents and artifacts.
- Mary Baker Eddy Library is one of the largest multi-disciplinary collections, by and about an American woman
- On the 100th anniversary of Mary Baker Eddy, an almost 100-ton and 60-70 tons (hewn), eleven-foot square granite pyramid was dedicated on the site of her birthplace, in Bow, New Hampshire.
List Of Writings
- Science And Health, With Key To The Scriptures - 1875, revised through 1910
- Miscellaneous Writings
- Retrospection and Introspection
- Unity of Good
- Pulpit and Press
- Rudimental Divine Science
- No and Yes
- Christian Science versus Pantheism
- Message to The Mother Church, 1900
- Message to The Mother Church, 1901
- Message to The Mother Church, 1902
- Christian Healing
- The People's Idea of God
- The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany
- The Manual of The Mother Church