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Mary Baker Eddy (1821 – 1910) was a pioneer in exploring the relationship between spirituality and health. Chronically ill for much of her early life, she sought help from a range of conventional and alternative therapies without finding lasting relief. However, experimentation with homeopathic remedies and unmedicated pills (placebos) convinced her that the true basis of health must be mental rather than physical. At the same time, as an avid reader of the Bible – in an era when women were largely barred from religious leadership and theological discussion – she frequently pondered Christ Jesus’ promises that his followers should perform the same works of healing that he did, and she questioned why such healing had not continued beyond the first few centuries after his time.
Early in 1866, she sustained life-threatening injuries from a fall on an icy pavement near her home in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA. Three days after the accident, with her friends and her doctor not expecting her to live, she turned to the Bible for comfort and, while reading an account of Jesus healing the sick, found herself suddenly well. Eddy later called this breakthrough her discovery of Christian Science – the name she gave to the eternal divine law underlying Jesus’ supreme victory over all evil, disease and death itself.
In the years that followed, Eddy continued her deep study of the Bible and her burgeoning practice of spiritual healing. She taught her discovery to many other men and women who in turn became healers and teachers of Christian Science themselves. In 1875, she first published her seminal work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which she revised and refined over many years to produce the definitive textbook explaining Christian Science and its healing method. Together with her students, in 1879, she founded a church of her own in Boston, Massachusetts, that would grow into a worldwide denomination. She established monthly and weekly publications (The Christian Science Journal and Sentinel), as well as a multi-lingual magazine (The Herald of Christian Science), to share Christian Science with the world and publish verified accounts of healing. In 1908, at the age of eighty-seven, she founded an international newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, with the mission “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind”. The Monitor, available online at www.csmonitor.com, has won numerous awards, including seven Pulitzer Prizes, and remains a widely respected and acclaimed source of high quality, unbiased journalism to this day.
Eddy’s remarkable achievements, and her great persistence in the face of intense struggles and public opposition, made her a household name and one of the most famous American women in the world by the time of her passing in 1910. You can find out more about this extraordinary woman through the range of biographies available from the online shop at this website, or by visiting The Mary Baker Eddy Library’s website at www.marybakereddylibrary.org.