Healer in Harm’s Way: Mary Collson, A Clergywoman in Christian Science
Tucker, Cynthia Grant. Healer in Harm’s Way: Mary Collson, A Clergywoman in Christian Science. Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1994.
Tucker’s account of Mary Collson’s love-hate relationship with Christian Science required a great deal of research, since there was little secondary source material available, and primary sources were scattered. But her story reveals some of the complexities of a well-educated and energetic woman seeking to help the world, but who ultimately felt too confined by the domineering and cold-hearted attitudes she encountered in the Christian Science Church. Her socialistic politics and economic worldview sometimes allied with, and other times collided with, her therapeutic work as a practitioner and church-supporter. Her clashes with her Christian Science teacher (Alfred Farlow), who was supposed to be her mentor, tormented her and left her feeling betrayed. But the outbreak of war in 1914 revitalized her commitments to women’s rights, socialist ideals, and healing. “Therapeutics, she reasoned, if unencumbered by church politics, would surely enable her to make a better world by making people better” (131). Also, “mental healing had always provided a good and ready income” (131). She returned to her practice, only to become disillusioned again. She often healed successfully, and then failed again. But her last straw was the lack of compassion or empathy she encountered among fellow healers. They found God, but where was the love?
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0870498435