Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy

  • Birthday: 16.07.1821
  • Age: 89 years old
  • Place of birth: Bow, New Hampshire, USA
  • Date of death:  03.12.1910
  • Citizenship: USA


American religious figure, preacher and healer, author of the doctrine of Christian Science.

Born in Bow, New Hampshire, Baker was the youngest of six children of Abigail and Mark Baker. The girl was brought up in the Congregationalist faith, but she did not believe in a number of its dogmas, such as original sin and predestination. Mary believed much more that God loves all his children; on this basis, she often quarreled with her father, who preferred to trust a rather rigid version of the theory of fate and was seriously convinced that sinners will face eternal torment after the Last Judgment. The constant arguments even made Mary sick; only his daughter’s illness convinced Mark Baker to be more flexible in his conversations with her. The illness soon went away after prayer, which, from Mary’s point of view, was another sign of God’s love.

At the age of 8, young Mary began to hear voices calling her name, coming from nowhere. Later, while Mary was studying at Pembroke Academy, an even stranger incident occurred. A patient who had escaped from a local psychiatric hospital wandered into the schoolyard and frightened the children there. Maria was the only one who was not afraid of him; she boldly approached the man armed with a heavy stick, took him by the hand and calmly led him out of the yard. The next Sunday, the lunatic returned. Entering the church, he sat down in the pew of the Baker family. After the solemn hymns, the fugitive left the church and surrendered to the authorities without the slightest resistance.

On December 10, 1843, Baker married George Washington Glover; six months later, on June 27, 1844, he died of tropical fever, just two months before the birth of his son. After her husband’s death, Mary granted freedom to all of his slaves.

Baker earned her living by writing political articles for the New Hampshire Patriot; at the same time, she worked as a teacher. Her success in the teaching field gave Mary the opportunity to create an experimental school; in this school, Baker practiced some of the techniques that are considered the norm in modern kindergartens, such as education through affection rather than punishment and different approaches to developing students’ genuine interest in the subject matter. Unfortunately, these techniques seemed too innovative at the time; they were never implemented.

Mary was always in poor health, which, coupled with financial problems, made it difficult for her to provide adequate care for her son; at some point, the boy had to be handed over to Mark Baker. In 1853, Mary remarried; her new husband, dentist Dr. Daniel Patterson, promised to adopt her boy, but he never kept his promise.

Maria’s mother died, and her father remarried; his new wife had no particular love for either her stepdaughter or her son. Sometimes the woman was helped by neighbors, who did not hesitate to use the boy as free labor. Baker’s condition was deteriorating; Patterson, meanwhile, kept evading the adoption of George Jr. which plunged Maria into an even deeper depression. Daniel turned out to be an extremely lousy husband in general – even during the marriage, he did not hesitate to court other women, and he did not earn much; at some point he even pawned some of Mary’s books, jewelry, and furniture, but even this did not particularly strengthen their financial situation.

In October 1862, Mary became a patient of Dr. Phineas Quimby. Quimby’s unusual methods temporarily relieved Baker’s condition. Later, however, she became disillusioned with magic and hypnosis; Phineas himself claimed that he learned much more from Mary than she did from him.

In February 1866, Baker severely injured her back. After this incident, Mary turned even closer to God. At that time, she began to think about the foundations of what would later become the Christian Science; one of the principles of this science was the belief in the healing power of religion and the complete impotence of such purely earthly things as hygiene or medicine. After some time, Baker not only healed herself, but also became a professional healer; the legends about the miracles she performed were simply incredible.

In 1873, Mary divorced Patterson. Two years later, Mary published her magnum opus, Science and Health. It was this work that later formed the basis of Christian Science. Baker also taught this Doctrine personally; many of her students later became healers themselves. The first edition of the book was only 1000 copies; later, however, the book was reprinted several times.

In 1877, Baker married Asa Gilbert Eddy; in 1882, they moved to Boston, where her husband died the same year.

Mary devoted the rest of her days to establishing her own church and finalizing Science and Health, later published as Science & Health With Key to the Scriptures. There was a lot of controversy around the new doctrine, but Baker also had a lot of followers.

In 1881, Mary founded the Massachusetts Metaphysical College; in 7 years, this educational institution trained about 800 students, most of whom became healers and preachers. In 1889, Baker closed the college to concentrate on her work. In total, the book was reprinted 400 times; 6 times the work was subjected to quite global revisions. At the moment, the book has been translated into 17 languages, including Braille.

Mary Baker Eddy died on December 3, 1910; her body was laid to rest on December 8. At the time of her death, the healer was 89 years old. Eddy’s death was reported in newspapers around the world; for the most part, reporters agreed that Mary was definitely a positive force.