Mary Baker Eddy

(1821-1910)

She was born to devout Congregationalists at a time when Puritan piety was a real, though residual, force in the religious life of New England. She struggled with serious illness from childhood, grieved over the death of a favourite brother when she was 20, became a widow at 22 after only a half year of marriage to George Glover, and in 1849 lost both her mother and her fiancé within three weeks of each other.

1853 married Daniel Patterson, ending in divorce 20 years later after he deserted her. In 1856 Patterson and her father conspired to separate her from her only child, a 12-year-old son from her first marriage. She would not see her son again for nearly 25 years, and they met only a few times thereafter.

Losing faith in medical systems based on materialistic premises, she hit on what some today would call the placebo effect. Her conviction that the cause of disease was rooted in the human mind and that it was in no sense God’s will was confirmed by her contact from 1862 to 1865 with Phineas P. Quimby of Maine, a pioneer in what would today be called suggestive therapeutics. 

To “reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” was the stated purpose of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which she founded with 15 students in Lynn, Mass., in 1879. [cited Britannica]

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In Progress