Mary B. Eddy

Mary Morse Baker Eddy was born in Bow, New Hampshire, on July 16, 1821. From childhood onward, she was often ill, so much so that, after she was widowed, her only child was even taken away from her. She would not see her child again for thirty years. She spent much of her life in a quest to discover ways to healing sickness of the body and soul. In 1862, she was influenced by the unorthodox medical techniques o Phineas Parkhurst Quimby of Portland, Maine, who was able to improve her health temporarily through the use of suggestion. In 1866, however, she was crippled after falling on ice near her home in Lynn, Massachusetts. After this incident, she studied the New Testament, and was healed of her injuries. These experiences led her to develop the doctrines upon which she would found the religion known as Christian Science. The doctrines were based on belief in the healing powers of Jesus Christ, which Eddy felt that modern Christianity underplayed. After spending several years studying the Christian Bible, as well as lecturing and demonstrating the tenets of Christian Science, she published Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875).
The following year, she founded the Christian Scientists’ Association. Eddy established the Church of Christ, Scientist in 1879, and the Massachusetts Metaphysical College in 1881, both in Boston, Massachusetts. The mother church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, was organized in Boston in 1892. Eddy also established periodicals, including the Christian Science Monitor (1908). When she died, on December 3, 1910, in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, she left her church an estate worth more than $2.5 million, and a membership of about 100,000. Eddy remains the only woman in modern Western history to have founded a major religion.