Responding to the news with care for our world

Peace and universal rights for all

As attention focuses on the demands and rewards of democracy, the Library reflects on Mary Baker Eddy’s commitment to the pursuit of democratic ideals and world peace. She once wrote, in reference to her church, “It stands for the inalienable, universal rights of men” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 254). Throughout our collection—and in the history of the church and its congregation—one discovers countless examples of the pursuit of peace and human rights. Here are a few examples on that theme:

The Peace Flag

Long on display in the Christian Science Publishing House, this flag is an artifact with a history. It tells us a great deal about the peace movements active in the United States and Europe during the early twentieth century.

Seekers and Scholars Episode 5: “The Christian Science Monitor—genesis and today”

This episode highlights comments by Mark Sappenfield, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, which was founded in 1908 with the purpose “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” He responds to excerpts from a 1910 speech by the publication’s first editor, which discussed its purpose and activities. Sappenfield explains what aspects of the Monitor are different today—as well as how its core principles have endured since it began.

Women of History: Violet Oakley

 Now widely known for her talents, Violet Oakley was an illustrator, stained glass designer, manuscript illuminator, portrait painter, author, and speaker. Grand themes of the quest for peace and freedom, undergirded by vigilance and diligence—two qualities she greatly valued in humanity’s quest for peace—resonate through her works.

October 2020 offerings: Adaptation and inspiration in education

Throughout the world, education is undergoing radical rethinking and reorienting about how teachers engage with students during a pandemic. With that in mind, this month we are featuring stories of inspired teaching and learning, as found through the Library’s collections and programs:

Seekers and Scholars Episode 46: “National History Day in a pandemic.”

Learn about this unique year-long program for middle school and high school students with a passion for history—and the wonderful opportunities it offers for intellectual and character development. Staffs from The Mary Baker Eddy Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society discuss how students can engage with institutions like ours to create meaningful projects, even as National History Day has gone to a virtual format in response to COVID-19.

Women of History: Florence Boynton

Explore the adventurous story of this “‘born teacher’ from the San Francisco Bay Area,” who brought an inspired approach to education as she traveled to Japan in the early twentieth century to be a mentor in various capacities. Boynton’s students remembered her with admiration and gratitude, acknowledging how her balance of innovation and high standards made an enduring difference in their lives and careers, including in some cases as writers and reporters for The Christian Science Monitor.

One World 2020

Enjoy this video on how The Mary Baker Eddy Library provided “joy-based learning” (a concept discussed in a recent Christian Science Monitor feature story) in this summer educational program, exploring different world cultures. In this clip, the focus is on the country of Lebanon.

August 2020 offerings: The transformational power of women’s rights

On August 18, 1920, ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution took place. With it, the struggle to obtain full voting rights for women was achieved. This month we offer content from Library programs and our collections to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of this pivotal moment in history. 

Seekers and Scholars Episode 39: “Celebrating the nineteenth amendment with the Women of History series”

Learn about three American women whose accomplishments had transformational impact in the fields of religion, education and Japanese-American relations, and in television and women’s rights.

Women of History: Jean Stapleton

This famed actress—best-known for her portrayal of Edith Bunker in the sitcom All in the Family—played numerous other roles, including that of Eleanor Roosevelt. She brought a spiritual commitment, based on her practice of Christian Science, to both her acting profession and her activism for women’s rights.

Women of History: Cora Rigby 

Explore what it meant to be a woman breaking into the male bastion of journalism in the early twentieth century. Rigby was Washington, DC, bureau chief for The Christian Science Monitor when no other woman held such a position in the nation’s capital. In 1919, she founded the National Women’s Press Club (NWPC) as a riposte to the National Press Club, an all-male organization which remained so until 1971. Eleanor Roosevelt joined the NWPC in the 1930s, contributing her energy and convictions to its mission and programs. For more on the NWPC, see History of the Washington Press Club Foundation.

July 2020 offerings: The promise of renewal and freedom

Many of us have entered the fullness of summer. This year brings similar joys and expectations—as well as unusual and sometimes trying circumstances for individuals as well as the world. The following curated Library content speaks of greater freedom and progress for all.

“Set to music — writings of Mary Baker Eddy.”

Enjoy the singing of Kimberly Moller, as she interprets recent musical compositions with words by Mary Baker Eddy. The final piece, composed by Désirée Goyette, includes lines from an essay called “Voices of Spring,” found in Eddy’s Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896: “Goodness will have its springtime of freedom and greatness.”

Seekers and Scholars Episode 12: “Religious tolerance and the art of Violet Oakley”

Learn how the democratic ideals of William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania (later to become the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)—together with the healing practice of Christian Science—inspired the work of an important twentieth-century artist.

Women of History: Pearline Thompson

Discover how the first Black President of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, challenged and overcame racism through her practice of Christian Science.

June 2020 offerings: Improving the “new normal”

At a time when people are looking to reopen, reconnect, and restart lives that more closely resemble normalcy, we offer this previously produced Library content. It speaks to the opportunity for changing our perspectives in order to bring more progress and healing to the world.

New Visions in Social Change

This 2012 program focused on the emerging field of social entrepreneurship, including the promise this approach holds for solving the challenges of the 21st century. This is a 30-minute video is an edited version of the original two-hour program.

Seekers and Scholars Episode 6: “Daring to see the world differently” — The Christian Science Monitor (Part 2)

This 2017 podcast episode focused on what Christian Science Monitor photographer Melanie Stetson Freeman sees as inspiring qualities in the subjects of her photographs. Even when on assignment to document famine in Africa, she found resiliency and human dignity shining through even the most difficult circumstances—and pointing to humanity’s capacity to rise above difficulties.


Women of History: Caroline Getty

Read about the first teacher of Christian Science in France. She held her inaugural class in 1915, amid World War I—”the Great War.” The practical love she found in Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas was a beacon to others during what seemed like world-ending tragedies, including the 1918–1919 Spanish flu epidemic in France. It’s noteworthy that a decade later Getty wrote this, as the Christian Science church’s Committee on Publication for France :

Mrs. Eddy enjoins Christian Scientists to obey the laws of the land in which they may be living and, if the laws demand it, to report to the medical authorities any case of contagious disease. There are enthusiasts in every religion who lack common sense, but the true Christian Scientist will no more think of sending his child to school or to the movies before all danger of contagion is over than will anyone else. Mrs. Eddy’s teaching on this point is perfectly definite.
For Getty’s full statement see Christian Science Sentinel 30, no. 41: June 9, 1928: 808).

May 2020 offerings: Coping during a time of pandemic

As many of us continue to remain in relative isolation, the desire to unite and connect may take different forms. In our current response to the pandemic, we offer three examples of how this might take form: through service to others, individual reflection, and music as a facilitator of both. 


Women of History: Sarah Pike Conger

Read this article from our “Women of History” series. Sarah Pike Conger, a student of Mary Baker Eddy, was trapped in Beijing’s international district during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Strengthened by her study of Eddy’s teachings, she served others, offering comfort and aid. Her fearlessness, compassion, and activity became a sturdy support to many who were targeted during the Rebellion.

Seekers and Scholars: Windows into spiritual autobiography

Listen to this episode of our monthly podcast series. Mike Hamilton, the Library’s Executive Director, comments on the importance of spiritual reflection and autobiography. This episode draws from an older Library program, Spiritual Writing: Mary Baker Eddy and Julian of Norwich. Eddy and Julian shared an immense spiritual fortitude that each found in the solitude of communion with the Divine. Both women spent the rest of their lives sharing the overflow of inspiration and comfort with others.

Webcast: Christian Science music and the modern soul

Watch this Library program represent the role of music as a vehicle to individual reflection, as well as to connecting and sharing with others. The program gives perspectives of modern composers, arrangers, authors, and performers, exploring how they share their inspiration through sacred music.

April 2020 offerings: Caring for our world

At a time when many of us need to work remotely and practice social distancing, The Mary Baker Eddy Library offers this curated content. We invite you to watch, listen, and read these relevant selections: 

  • A video recording of a 2009 program titled “Nursing’s spiritual roots in contemporary practice,” which seems timelier than ever. 
  • A 2018 Seekers and Scholars podcast episode titled “Inspiring contemporary hymns—migration and refuge,” addressing issues of dislocation and separation. 
  • An article from our “Women of History” series, on Red Cross founder Clara Barton. 

We hope you find inspiration and enjoyment.

Nursing’s spiritual roots in contemporary practice

This 2009 video features Jean Watson, founder of the Watson Caring Science Institute; Peggy Burkhardt, Professor of Nursing at West Virginia University; and Linda Kohler, a Christian Science nurse. Introduction by Lesley Pitts, past executive director of The Mary Baker Eddy Library and former Christian Science nurse.

Inspiring contemporary hymns: migration and refuge

This 2018 recording features hymnist Josette Flamand and Dr. Ryan Vigil, a composer, pianist, and musicologist, who is also Manager of General Publications at The Christian Science Publishing Society.

Women of History: Clara Barton

This 2015 research article features Clara Barton, the Civil War’s famed “Angel of the Battlefield,” who had great respect for the person and teachings of Mary Baker Eddy.

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