100 years on: Mary Baker Eddy – still “a luminary” after all these years!

Next in our “100 years on, and still going strong” series, celebrating the continued resonance of Mary Baker Eddy’s life and ideas 100 years after her passing.

An article called Large number of people who died in 1910 remain well-known today recently appeared in the Evansville Courier & Press. In it “Retiring Thoughts” columnist John Gottcent writes of his research through old newspaper clippings and how he “noticed an interesting phenomenon about the year 1910. A large number of people who died that year were not only famous then, but remain well-known today, a century later.”

Among the notables he points to that are still fondly remembered today, Gottcent lists Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, William Sydney Porter, King Edward VII, Florence Nightingale and Mary Baker Eddy.

In contrasting the unlikelihood of anyone remembering the famous who passed on in 2010 in the same manner, Gottcent concludes “It may be that 1910 was an unusual year in this department. But it could also mean that people we consider famous now tend to be “celebrities” rather than real luminaries.” [Emphasis added.]

A luminary is “a person of prominence or brilliant achievement” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, and William Sydney Porter, were luminaries in the literary sphere and Florence Nightingale “a person of prominence or brilliant achievement” for her work in improving the lot of the sick.

Mary Baker Eddy earned her prominence as both a writer – thirteen of her books and countless articles were published in her day – and a healer.  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures has sold over 11 million copies, and the Christian spirituality it outlines – conceived of and articulated through her own proven practice of it – has brought profound spiritual, mental and physical healing to a great many of its readers.  Despite the current market saturation by material medical practices, spiritual healing remains the therapeutic system of the future – being pioneered by many today – as thinkers increasingly see the link between consciousness and health, and begin to recognise the beneficial effects of the divine influence on human minds and bodies.

Mary Baker Eddy was also a church founder and an astute businesswoman, founding a publishing company that is still going strong over 100 years later, as well as several titles that have continued uninterrupted since their launch.

The Christian Science Publishing Society - home of The Christian Science Monitor

In the realm of business, the world today is catching on to the modus operandi of Mary Baker Eddy which was – in business, as in all things – prayer to a God of infinite goodness that “Thy [good] will [that benefits ‘one and all’] be done”, followed by faithful implementation of the ideas that came in response to that prayer.

As a recent Washington Post article called Working: Prayer plays a silent role in the office put it “Prayer often has a bigger role in the workplace than many people realize.”  It then gives a couple of examples of workers using prayer in their professional lives.

For Mary Baker Eddy, prayer and spirituality infused her professional life, leading to extraordinary innovations, such as an early example of a franchise, the worldwide “bookstore chain” of Christian Science Reading Rooms.  The Christian Science Monitor, was also an innovative breakthrough – a quality secular newspaper published by a religious body – that has gone on to earn seven Pulitzer Prize awards and is currently attracting more readers than at any time in its history through its online version.

Through her example, ideas, and ethics, Mary Baker Eddy has armed and equipped businessmen and businesswomen – who note her example and strive to assimilate her ideas – to put prayer into practice when forming and running a business, with ethical and spiritual practices and companies resulting.

Mary Baker Eddy’s prominence and brilliance were based on humility and spirituality, not ego and personality.  There is no reason why tomorrow’s “celebrities” shouldn’t be genuinely luminous too, provided that it is these kinds of qualities that inform their motives and underpin their legacy.

My Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire colleague, Wendy, is a businesswoman who is grateful for what she has learned from Mary Baker Eddy’s business motives, which she discusses here…

“The lives of great men and women are miracles of patience and perseverance. Every luminary in the constellation of human greatness, like the stars, comes out in the darkness to shine with the reflected light of God.” (Mary Baker Eddy)


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Categories: Mary Baker Eddy, Spirituality and Society, Women's spiritual leadership

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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