The Life Story of Martha W. Wilcox, C.S.B.
From Addresses by Martha Wilcox
Compiled and privately published by her sister, Alta M. Meyer, for the students of Martha W. Wilcox, C.S.B. In accordance with the approval of the Executive Board of the Christian Science Students’ Association of Martha W. Wilcox.
One morning late in the fall of 1902, Mrs. Wilcox was seated in the office of the Clerk of the School Board, in Kansas City, Missouri. She had gone there to have the Clerk, James B. Jackson, sign an affidavit in order that she might obtain money on a piece of property. She explained that she needed the money as she had brought her husband from Ottawa, Kansas, to be treated for a so-called incurable disease. Mr. Jackson signed the affidavit, and then asked: “Mrs. Wilcox, did you ever consider having your husband treated in Christian Science?” To which she replied: “No. What is Christian Science? I have never heard of it.” Mr. Jackson kindly explained a few fundamentals of this religion, stressing its healing power, and at the close of the conversation, opened his desk and took out a little black book and handed it to her with the remark: “I always keep in my desk a copy of this book ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ by Mary Baker Eddy, to give to someone who might be interested in reading it. It has helped me many times and I am confident that it will help you.”
Mrs. Wilcox took the little black book with her to her rooming place. What she read appealed to her thought and she literally devoured the truth found in its pages, with the result that after a short period she found herself healed of a long-standing physical disorder.
A desire to gain knowledge was a chief characteristic of Mrs. Wilcox. She was born on a farm near Hampton, Iowa, and later her father moved his family to a farm near Ottawa, Kansas. The educational advantages on a farm in those days were very limited, but there were always books and magazines in the home, together with an urgent incentive to progress. Also, there was the influence of a religious family life. Each day was begun with family worship and a deep love for the Bible was cultivated. The country church with its activities was the basis for all social life, and church attendance was a religious duty. From early childhood, Mrs. Wilcox was taught the value of prayer, and prayer exerted a vital influence in everything she did.
After finishing grade school, she studied privately for a teacher’s certificate and later taught in the country and town schools near her home. Little by little, through her active participation in the Methodist Church and in her teaching work she progressed in her desire for knowledge and advancement.
In 1895, before leaving the farm, she married Lynn Wallis, a graduate of Manhattan College, Manhattan, Kansas. They established their home in Ottawa, Kansas, where Mr. Wallis was employed, but within six months, Mr. Wallis was drowned while on a business trip. Mrs. Wallis then turned again to teaching for a livelihood and taught for three years in the Ottawa schools. In 1899, she married Dwight D. Wilcox, the father of a student in one of her classes.
Late in the fall of 1902, Mr. Wilcox became seriously ill and the physician advised that he be taken to Kansas City for special treatment, and it was while in Kansas City for this purpose, that Christian Science was first presented to Mrs. Wilcox.
With her thought awakened to the healing power of Christian Science through the study of the textbook by Mary Baker Eddy, Mrs. Wilcox began at once to apply this scientific truth to her daily needs.
Mr. Wilcox had two sons. The elder son was self-supporting, but it was necessary to educate the younger son. And in order to relieve the financial burden, Mrs. Wilcox established a home in an apartment building and accepted paying guests. At the same time she devoted a part of each day to the healing work of Christian Science. Many severe cases came to her during these formative years, and through the Truth as set forth in the textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, which Mrs. Wilcox accepted and made active as her thought, many were healed.
Always interested in church work, Mrs. Wilcox soon became a member of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, Kansas City, Missouri, and associated herself with its activities. In January, 1904, the opportunity of Primary Class instruction came to her and with it came an urgent desire to devote her life work to the Cause of Christian Science.
Later in 1904, Mr. Wilcox passed on, and from this time her whole thought was to progress in the understanding of Christian Science and, eventually, to devote her entire time and energy to its healing work. Later she purchased a home at 2812 Harrison Street, Kansas City, Missouri, from which she carried on her work in Christian Science for many years.
On February 10, 1908, just six years from the time that she first heard of Christian Science, Mrs. Wilcox received a call from James A. Neal, to come to Boston to serve Mrs. Eddy in her home at Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Mrs. Eddy had moved from Pleasant View just two weeks before on January 26, 1908. Mrs. Wilcox served in the home until July of that year when she was called to Kansas City by the sudden passing on of her younger step-son. Later she returned to Chestnut Hill and spent the entire years of 1909 and 1910 in the home serving Mrs. Eddy in different capacities.
During this time, Mrs. Wilcox had the privilege of class instruction under Mrs. Eddy. At one time she was under Mrs. Eddy’s personal instruction for seven weeks. During this period of instruction, whenever a higher revelation of truth was presented, there was, at the same time, a requirement of immediate application and demonstration of this truth to some need at hand. This requirement of immediate application and demonstration of scientific truth to a need at hand, was a great influence toward Mrs. Wilcox’s growth in Christian Science.
Later, Mrs. Eddy decided that Mrs. Wilcox was to receive Normal Class instruction at the Metaphysical College in Boston, Massachusetts, beginning Wednesday, December 7, 1910, with Bicknell Young as teacher. It was arranged for Mrs. Wilcox to return to Kansas City for a short visit and then to Boston for class before returning to Chestnut Hill. In Kansas City, while attending Sunday service in Second Church of Christ, Scientist, the announcement was read from the desk concerning the passing on of Mary Baker Eddy on the previous day, Saturday, December 3, 1910. The following day, Mrs. Wilcox left for Boston to be present on Wednesday, at the opening of class in the Metaphysical College, which was held in The Mother Church edifice. Soon after class, Mrs. Wilcox returned to Kansas City.
Early in 1911, Mrs. Wilcox’s card appeared in the Christian Science Journal as teacher and practitioner of Christian Science, in Kansas City, Missouri. During this year, she held her first class, and in 1912, she addressed her first Christian Science Students’ Association.
In 1919, the Christian Science Board of Directors of The Mother Church, created a committee which was called the Committee on General Welfare. Mrs. Wilcox, chosen by the churches of Kansas City, together with six other Christian Scientists, chosen from cities in the United States and in London, England, were to act as members of this committee. The report, compiled by this committee, was completed in March, 1920, but Mrs. Wilcox remained in Boston until after the Annual Meeting in June, to aid in the distribution of the report. She then returned to Kansas City to resume her work as teacher and practitioner of Christian Science.
Mrs. Wilcox, in her chosen life work, was ever loyal to the teachings of our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, and she earnestly endeavored to express this loyalty through worthy and valued service to the community in which she lived. Mrs. Wilcox continued an active interest in Christian Science until her passing on in July, 1948.
The following pages are excerpts from the writings of
Martha W. Wilcox, C.S.B.
“There is no one in all the world who has used words with such significance of meaning as Mary Baker Eddy. She was a student of the dictionary. And we should use the dictionary and the concordances when we study Christian Science literature. As we do this, we find that the spiritual meaning revealed through words, has the seed within itself, and when active as our thought, will revolutionize our thinking and our world.”
“If we, in our thinking, see ‘a sinning mortal man’ present, where, according to divine Science, a sinning mortal man is not present, then we need to gain within ourselves the Saviour or divine consciousness that beholds man in God’s likeness, present and perfect.”
“There is no material activity. To Mary Baker Eddy, whatever was necessary to be done, even though it were mending stockings or writing a letter, if well done, it was scientific activity. We have been given a Science, which is to be made practical in every aspect of daily living.”
“To Jesus, Life was an eternal actuality. Jesus made this fact of eternal Life active as his consciousness and the concrete evidence of this fact of Life appeared as the life of Lazarus.”
“Whatever good we ascribe to God, we may immediately ascribe to ourselves as God’s reflection. Whatever is not true of God does not exist at all.”
“Christian Scientists are not primarily engaged in demonstrating over sin, disease, and death, but they are earnestly endeavoring to establish as their thought, the Principle of divine Science in which such misconceptions have no being.”
From a letter to a student:
“I am rejoicing with you that you know your husband has entered into a new experience of Life. He knows that Life does not and cannot die; he knows that Truth is true from actual experience, and from this time on, he will progress far more rapidly than if he had not had this experience, not of death, but of awakening into newness of Life.”
“If through old orthodox teaching, we think of ourselves as human beings trying to gain spiritual ideas, we experience an endless struggle. But when we accept the scientific fact, that by reflection, we are the spiritual ideas that God is being, we experience the concrete evidence of these ideas in daily living.”
“We build our universe within individual consciousness.”
“In Christian Science practice we do not get very far, if in our thinking, we swing back and forth like a pendulum from the fact of things to the belief of things. Christian Scientists let the poise of divine Law become so firmly fixed as their thought, that nothing can shake or dispel it.”
“Righteous prayer is the activity of righteous thought within individual consciousness. Many times each day, a Christian Scientist makes active in thought the already established good that Mind is being, and conforms his thinking in oneness with this infinite good. As he does this, more and more, this good that Mind is being, appears as his daily supplies.”
“The greatest good that we can do for ourselves is to gain spiritual understanding and to exercise this understanding in thought until wrought out in daily living. Working in this way, we live our immortality NOW.”