March is Women in History Month. There is one 18th century woman whom many of you know little about even when as recently as 2002, the U.S. Congress passed resolution honoring her contributions to humanity and the advancement of women - the woman is Mary Baker Eddy.
I have chosen to tell you a little about this remarkable woman whom some of you may know only as the founder of the Christian Science Church. However, she did much more including striving to alleviate human suffering. Let me tell you how this all came about.
Mary Baker Eddy was frail even as a child. She prayed fervently and also tried the skill of medical doctors and any material aid for relief including homeopathy, but she received only temporary relief.
In the winter of 1866, Mary Baker Eddy fell on the ice. The doctor said her injuries were so severe he could do nothing to save her. Mary lay in her bed and reached for her well-worn Bible. In it she read of one of Jesus' healings. She saw for an instant the truth Jesus taught and was healed. She arose and walked into the parlor where her family was planning her funeral.
She did not want to lose this insight as she so often wondered how Jesus healed. She stayed aloof from society for three years diligently searching the Bible for inspiration. From her findings, she wrote Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures. She had discovered a scientific divine method of healing and opened a metaphysical college to teach others. Among the healing were smallpox, cancer, clubfoot and ulcers. Everything yielded to the healing truths of the Christ.
What makes this all so amazing is this was done at a time when women had very few rights. They only wrote poems and light stories. They never struggled to get publishers to print their books. They never lectured in public to thousands. She even preached for quite a while as guest pastor in a large Baptist church, where healings often occurred in her sermons.
But her teachings were not accepted by some and she was severely persecuted. When she saw her findings were not going to be accepted by the established churches, she founded her own church as a way to preserve this healing method.
All of her major accomplishments were in her senior years, when she founded three magazines and the Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, which is read by almost every member of Congress. Her book, Science and Health in the last three years alone, has sold more than 200,000 copies a year.
In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 1998, she was named by Religion and Ethics News Weekly as one of the 25 most significant religious figures for Americans in the 20th Century.
In 2002, the Mary Eddy Library for the Betterment of Mankind was opened in Boston. It is the most extensive library dedicated to one woman.
Now your history lesson is over. When someone asks you, "who is Mary Baker Eddy?" you can answer with assurance.
Mary Baker Eddy's spiritual method of healing will be explained at a workshop in Sunnyside March 13, at 2 p.m. at the Sunnyside Senior Citizen Center, 1400 Federal Way. It is open to all.
Jesus said ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." But we need to understand the truth so we can apply it to free us from all ailments.
To learn more go to www.marybakereddy library.org.
- Donna Homer of the Sunnyside Church Christ Scientist.