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March 19, 2014

Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy, featured in library display

A display about Mary Baker Eddy is set up in the Newburyport Library lobby for the month of March in recognition of Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is: Celebrating Women’s Character, Courage, and Commitment.

Mary Baker Eddy was an extraordinary woman in the 19th century who made significant contributions to spirituality and health in America as a teacher, writer and religious founder. Her courage and commitment are clearly evident in the body of work she accomplished.

Eddy did part of her life’s work while living in Amesbury, where her historic home can still be visited. This month’s library display, contributed by the local Christian Science church on Inn Street, highlights the life of this pioneer.

Eddy was no ordinary woman. Behind her Victorian-era velvet and lace dress was a 21st-century power suit. At a time when women could not vote, rarely preached from a pulpit or took part in medical professions, her work in the health-care arena broke through the glass ceiling that had yet to become a metaphor.

Eddy’s ideas as an author, pastor, teacher and healer charted the path for current thought on consciousness and health today. And in more ways than one, they still lead the way.

After a series of disappointments, including the passing of her first husband and the eventual desertion of her second, Eddy was mid-life and suffering from her own chronic ill-health. This prompted her to investigate alternative health-care methods, rather than resorting to the harsh treatments and side-effects of conventional 19th-century medicine. She tried diets, hydropathy, homeopathy and what are now known as placebo treatments— and she found some relief. But her most important conclusion from all of her investigations was that what a patient believes is directly related to the healing results they see.

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