August 18 marked one hundred years since the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage. Perhaps less well known, fifteen nations had already enacted similar legislation, beginning in 1893 with New Zealand, followed by Finland, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Lithuania, Canada, Austria, Latvia, Georgia, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Estonia. And since then, with but a few exceptions remaining in the world, more than 170 countries have legally acknowledged a woman’s right to vote and to hold elective office.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this magazine in 1898, The Christian Science Journal in 1883, The Herald of Christian Science in 1903, and the international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, in 1908, never had the opportunity to cast a ballot. But in discovering the Science of the Christianity that Jesus taught and practiced, and in founding a church designed to “reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” (Church Manual, p. 17), she voted for the elevation of the whole human race and for righteous government everywhere through her prayer, healing, writing, teaching, and preaching. Here are two selections from her writings.
Grave on her monumental pile:
She won from vice, by virtue’s smile,
Her dazzling crown, her sceptred throne,
Affection’s wreath, a happy home;
The right to worship deep and pure,
To bless the orphan, feed the poor;
Last at the cross to mourn her Lord,
First at the tomb to hear his word:
To fold an angel’s wings below;
And hover o’er the couch of woe;
To nurse the Bethlehem babe so sweet,
The right to sit at Jesus’ feet;
To form the bud for bursting bloom,
The hoary head with joy to crown;
In short, the right to work and pray,
“To point to heaven and lead the way.”
(Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 388)
Man and Woman
The masculine element must not murmur if at some period in human history the verdict should take a turn in behalf of woman, and say,—Her time has come, and the reflection of God’s feminine nature is permitted consideration, has come to the front, and will be heard and understood. Then the mandate human, will appeal to man by works more than by words, and these shall declare whether Love is usurpation, or God’s law, and whether the feminine element is less beneficial to mankind than the masculine.
At such a juncture I would not dislike to be referee;—I would declare that one was not less, nor more, important in God’s sight than the other, and that in the divine order they both originated in One . . . .
. . . let us return to God, to the divine Principle of the universe including the genus man:—we shall find therein no occasion for departure, no occasion for strife, no suggestion of preeminence, or disseverance of the masculine and feminine elements of God’s creating—no question of who shall be the greatest. Then the kingdom of heaven will be here and everywhere, and the one Father-Mother God and His children will be understood from everlasting to everlasting.
(Excerpts, A10142B, December 19, 1900, The Mary Baker Eddy Collection)