What is Christian Science Nursing?
— Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 370:12
Welcome to Fern Lodge. We are grateful you have shown interest in the healing ministry of Christian Science nursing. We feel it will be helpful to share our understanding of the work we are doing, its foundation, substance and expression. Our Leader’s statement quoted above gives a guiding fact about Christian Science nursing, a fact we strive to keep foremost in thought as we go about our daily work. Today the divine idea that was demonstrated in the life of Christ Jesus, takes the form of Christian healing, and this healing is as a babe, receiving constant care from our Father-Mother God. We are to cherish this babe of healing, and our cherishing is what we name “Christian Science nursing.”
All true care expresses God’s care for man: All true care is God’s manifestation of His love for His children. The Foundation for Christian Science Nursing, prepared by The Mother Church, puts it like this: “Since man is the reflection of his Maker and God is Father-Mother—the source of all spiritually inspired care—then the human manifestation of the nursing and mothering concept is (should be) an expression of God’s care,” and “The basis of all true care in Christian Science rests on the fact that God cares for man.”
In one of his letters Paul wrote, “…our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world….” From the experience of many nurses, with their thoughtful demonstration of the tender care of divine Love, we have learned some of the dangers about which Paul warns Christians. We do not mean that proper nourishment, activity, cleanliness and so on are not related to proper nursing. But we strive to remember that right actions must spring from the understanding of the grace of God and the inspiration He provides every moment of every day. Patients come to Fern Lodge because of one or more nursing needs, which may appear to be physical or mental. Our duty is to help meet those needs from our understanding of God’s ever-present care and of man’s pure, whole spiritual nature.
Respect for each patient’s individuality: Patients may have specific requests regarding how their needs are to be met. We lovingly consider every request because we respect each one’s unique relationship to God, and generally we strive to do as the patient asks as long as it does not endanger anyone. If we pray as we do this, we will be free to share lovingly with the patient new possibilities he may not have considered. This prayerful consideration is in contrast to analyzing a situation to find a practical, efficient method of care and then forcing the patient and other nurses to adopt that method of care, an approach that has no place at Fern Lodge.
Meeting basic human needs: Basic human needs involve being clean, clothed, and nourished, and they include a proper sense of activity and healthy relationships with others. In each case, our aim is to assist another to properly care for himself, and as Mrs. Eddy says, “To do this, the pure and exalting influence of the divine Mind on the body is requisite, and the Christian Scientist takes the best care of his body when he leaves it most out of his thought, and, like the Apostle Paul, is ‘willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord,’” (S&H 383:6). To assist another to be “absent from the body,” the nurse will not dwell in thought or conversation on bodily conditions and how to accommodate them efficiently. Tender affection will lead the nurse to say and do only those things that will help patients feel the presence of divine Love, meeting every human need.
Relationships with others: And every patient will have opportunities to relate with others. We welcome family and friends who come to the facility, and we will do all we can to encourage these visits. However, every patient will have opportunities for quiet prayer and study, alone and sheltered from distractions.
What are we helping patients to do, and why? We help patients in order that they may be free to pray for themselves without undue concern for their physical condition or for the cares of daily living. We trust that our nursing is an aid to those seeking healing in Christian Science.
Prayer and study: One reason patients ask for the aid of a Christian Science nurse is to be helped in their desire to pray for themselves, to work with a Christian Science practitioner, and perhaps to deepen their study of the Bible, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, and other publications of The Mother Church. It is a joy for nurses to assist patients to pray, read the Bible Lesson Sermon, study, attend church services, and seek spiritual insight, inspiration and guidance. Simply giving the needed care is intended to help patients be free from undue concern for apparent limitations, fears, or the routine activities of daily living in order for them to feel able to turn wholeheartedly to God, seeking spiritual growth and healing.
We respect each patient’s own inspiration as to how to pray and study. Generally, it is not a nurse’s place to note or comment on when, where, or how a patient should do these activities. Fern Lodge will provide comfortable, well-lighted places for study and will seek to ensure that schedules and activities do not interfere with patients’ time for communion with God, and the nurses will offer the aid a patient needs. A nurse’s assistance may range from just leaving the patient alone to active participation such as reading the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy’s writings, the Bible Lesson, or helping with research in the various Christian Science publications. Fern Lodge also provides for Church services on Sunday and testimony meetings, now held on Thursday, which are conducted by volunteers from local Christian Science churches. Patient attendance at these services is encouraged, but not required. Fern Lodge also asks each patient to receive daily treatment from a Christian Science practitioner.
Once again, welcome to Fern Lodge! We value your insights, observations, and inspiration regarding the practice of Christian Science nursing and the operation of this nursing facility