The gift of a lifetime

Unselfish giving was a common thread, if not the whole cloth, in the fabric of Mary Baker Eddy's life. After her discovery of Christian Science in 1866, while directing the growth of a worldwide church and founding the publishing entity that produces the Sentinel and other magazines and books designed to share the teachings of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy also acted as a philanthropist, helping others through benevolent giving.

By 1899, her incidental giving had grown to such proportions that she remarked in a letter to Irving Tomlinson: "Recent charities of mine demanded unexpectedly will take my spare change this year. I calculate not less than $15,000 is required to meet them" (Rev. Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, Amplified Edition, Boston, The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1996, p. 237). In 2004 dollars, that amount would be roughly $240,000. In 1908, when she moved away from Concord, New Hampshire, some local businessmen figured her economic impact on their town had totaled $1,575,000. Her generosity had taken the form of "charitable donations, improved roads, miscellaneous gifts and contributions, granite contracts for Christian Science churches, and other known expenditures" (Tomlinson, p. 255).

lives transformed through giving
February 9, 2004

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