In 1907, a New York newspaperman was sent, with other reporters, to dig up sensational stories about a woman in Concord, New Hampshire. That year, a popular magazine had described her as, “The most famous, interesting and powerful woman in America, if not in the world, today.”
It was said that these newsmen were a belligerent bunch of old-timers looking for a scandal. After staying in Concord for some time, they were surprised at the loving treatment they received from the woman’s workers and friends. They wanted to hold the woman up to scorn and ridicule.
The New York newsman was known as a hard-nosed reporter. For many years he suffered from a cancerous growth on his throat that left him unable to speak at times and in extreme pain. But if he was looking to dig up the dirt on Mary Baker Eddy, he would have been surprised to find that the only scoop he took back to New York was knowledge of the healing power behind this women’s spiritual discovery. He went away cured of his cancer because of her Christian love.
This woman was no punching bag, but a powerhouse of spiritual strength, at a time when society considered men superior to women. She was the founder and leader of a worldwide religious movement at a time when women held only subordinate positions in Church and State. She was founder and president of a teaching college at a time when women were denied equal access to education and kept out of most professions. Here was a woman who was front-page news at a time when women’s history was being suppressed.
This was a woman who had struggled with poor health and financial and emotional hardship throughout her youth and early adulthood. Yet, she overcame these challenges through an inspired search of the Bible (especially a deep dive into Jesus’ healing work) and went on to become a “famous, interesting and powerful woman.”
Well over a century has passed since its publication, yet, today, her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, is still read throughout the world. The ideas in its pages continue to heal.
The Christian Science Monitor, the Pulitzer prize-winning newspaper she founded at the age of 87, is also still in print (and on the Internet) a century later. The First Church of Christ, Scientist, which Eddy founded and designed to “reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing,” has also been alive and active for over a hundred years. So has the Board of Education at The First Church of Christ, Scientist, serving in auxiliary to the Massachusetts Metaphysical College she founded.
What a legacy. Yet, before there was a book, a newspaper, a church, or a college, Eddy had discovered a divine Science. It is this Science of Christ, Christian Science, which is inspiring and healing people. Her writings explain this Science of spiritual healing. Her church promotes, protects, and publishes it. Her college prepares teachers of it. And her newspaper is designed to “spread undivided the Science which operates unspent” – providing unbiased news reporting that invites readers to care enough about world conditions to bring their healing prayer to bear on them.
Eddy’s life, love, and work influenced the world of her time. Today, they are still touching and transforming lives.
If you would like to further explore her life accomplishments, you can do so at The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity.
And even if you look into her ideas hoping to dig up some dirt on her, don’t be surprised if you, too, come away healed.
Originally Published on Houston Chronicle, @HoustonChron
*This image by Tony Lobl first appeared in 7 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Mary Baker Eddy