Women of History: Helen Wood Bauman

July 15, 2015

Portrait of Helen Wood Bauman, circa 1950-1959. P09184. Photo by
Gordon Converse. ©The Christian Science Publishing Society.

“When God is fully understood as underlying all constructive developments, when He is seen as sustaining all progress out of limitations imposed by matter, or nonspiritual thinking, all men will delight in turning to Him ….”

—Helen Wood Bauman

Helen Wood Bauman served the Christian Science movement as a practitioner and teacher during much of the twentieth century. She is particularly known for her prolific writing  as an editor of its  religious magazines, the monthly Christian Science Journal, weekly Christian Science Sentinel, and multi-language Herald of Christian Science.

Born November 17, 1895 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Mrs. Bauman  began her career by studying music in Boston and London. She later taught music and was an organist at Christian Science churches in St. Joseph and Kansas City.

Bauman  was a student nurse in the US Army Nursing Corps during World War I when  she became interested in Christian Science. As her commitment to the religion deepened, she  took Christian Science Primary class instruction, a course on spiritual healing, from Judge Clifford P. Smith, in 1920. On New Year’s Day in 1922 she married Oscar George Bauman (1879-1960), who also practiced Christian Science healing for many years. She was first listed as a public  practitioner in 1932 and practiced healing in St. Joseph for the next 16 years, sharing an office with her husband in the Empire Trust Building. In 1946 she became a teacher of Christian Science. During her career she also instructed classes of incoming teachers (Normal classes) twice, in 1958 and 1973.

In 1948 Bauman moved to Boston to fill the position of Associate Editor of  the Journal, Sentinel, and Herald. She would become the longest serving editor, working there for 22 years and writing well over 1,000 editorials, in addition to articles and poems. When she was appointed Editor in 1959, she was the first woman to have filled that role since 1892. She was elected President of The Mother Church in 1963.

While not generally given to writing about herself, Helen Wood Bauman did on occasion mention her own insights and experiences of healing, including recollections that illustrate an early love of God and a receptivity to His healing power.

In 1956 she wrote, “In my own experience, even as a small child I responded to the presence of Christian Science, which was stirring controversy in the world.” Explaining that she did not actually become a Christian Scientist until years later—when a friend shared Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures—she revealed that, even at that early age, “my heart warmed to the thought that people could now heal as Christ Jesus and his disciples did…” (“Opportunities and Obligations,” Christian Science Sentinel, December 29,1956).

Bauman resigned as editor in 1970 and continued her healing practice in Boston. She passed away in February 1985, leaving a rich legacy of writing, teaching, and healing that touched countless lives.

Listen to "Women of History from the Mary Baker Eddy Library Archives," a Seekers and Scholars podcast episode featuring Library staffers Steve Graham and Dorothy Rivera.

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