Biography: Mary Baker Eddy

Learn more about the leader of the Christian Science movement.

BY: Cheryl Petersen

Mary Baker Eddy
Negotiating the 19th century gender constraints and opportunities available to her religious setting, Mary Baker Eddy found resources within her experience to reinstate a Christianity juxtaposed with divine Mind-healing, to meet the personal health and ethical needs of the common people. With one student, in 1867, Eddy started the first school of Christian Mind-healing in Lynn, Massachusetts. In 1875, Eddy published a textbook on her methodology, soon branded Christian Science, called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which she revised over 300 times during her lifetime. Eddy managed a worldwide franchise of churches of Christ, Scientists, and also established The Christian Science Publishing Society to print Christian magazines and later a public newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor.

Mary was born in Bow, New Hampshire, in 1821, when the nation’s religion was swirling in evangelicalism. However, Mary Baker’s upbringing was still under the order of male heads of households. Acquiescing to the 19th century attitude that women were to get married and bear children, Mary wed George Glover in the year 1843. They moved to the Carolinas only for Glover to die six months later of Yellow Fever, leaving behind a pregnant Mary. She returned to live with her parents and lost all her husband’s property. Not reflecting America’s independent initiative, Mary showed little signs of becoming self-supportive. Regrettably, when her child was about four years old, Mary’s mother died, altering the home dynamics and soon thereafter Mary’s child was placed in a foster home.

In the year 1853, Mary looked to another man to support her and hopefully her child. However, after wedding Daniel Patterson, her intent backfired. Patterson was unwilling to unite Mary and her child. At this frustrating and disappointing juncture, Mary’s consciousness began nursing a persistent certainty that all cause and effect belonged to God.

Continued on page 2: Read More »

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