As we have been earnestly preparing the house Fern Lodge recently purchased nearby to provide affordable staff housing, we realized the home needed a name. At a Fern Lodge board meeting, one board member asked if there was a Christian Science nurse we could honor by naming the home after her.
Valentine Home! Emily Valentine played a vital role in the development of Christian Science nurses training and nursing facilities. She was among the first instructors in the training program that, for many years, The Mother Church required for all Christian Scientists who wanted to serve as nurses and to be listed in The Christian Science Journal.
After years of service as a Christian Science nurse and instructor at Tenacre, a Christian Science nursing facility in Princeton, New Jersey, Emily moved with her husband, Don, to California. She retired from nursing, and for about 10 years was listed in The Christian Science Journal as a Christian Science practitioner. During those years she saw a great need for nursing care within the Christian Science community, and so she once again began caring for others, opening and operating a Christian Science nursing facility in San Mateo named Valentine Haven.
Eventually, it was time for her to retire again, so she handed her nursing home over to a group of Christian Scientists who continued to operate it for years, calling it Laurel Haven. This is where Emily becomes an integral part of Fern Lodge’s family history.
Fern Lodge began when Mindell Fern Cox and her husband Willard saw the need to care for fellow church members and brought them into their home. This Christian and practical care grew into the Christian Science nursing facility we know as Fern Lodge. They maintained and grew this loving ministry for about 20 years. In 1970, they announced that they would retire and no longer operate the facility. A group of local Christian Scientists knew how much the Christian Science community benefited from Fern Lodge, so they formed a new board of directors to purchase the facility from the Coxes. They needed someone experienced to organize, manage, and staff the facility.
Emily Valentine. A couple of the board members knew Emily, and in 1971 they asked her to come out of retirement in order to establish Fern Lodge on that foundation of loving care that Mindell and Willard had laid. Emily served Fern Lodge for seven years, concurrently as Administrator, Head Christian Science Nurse, Instructor, scheduler, and occasionally as the cook! She served faithfully and tirelessly. Her joyous, attentive, all-embracing, selfless outlook built solidly on Fern Lodge’s foundation for the years of development that would follow. Her life inspired many and showed by living example how divine Love meets needs, reveals resources, and erases limitation. Her mission was always to listen and follow Mind’s direction, with humility and cheerfulness, regardless of how daunting the picture in front of her loomed. It is fitting to honor Emily by naming the home for our Christian Science nurses in her honor.
Thank you for sharing this history of Fern Lodge. Actually quite an amazing story–and woman, Emily Valentine. Excellent name choice for your new home for nurses.
I worked for Emily Valentine. She gave me my first set of the Bible and SH. She helped me to apply for membership in TMC. I worked at Valentine Haven from middle school through high school. She was always encouraging and supportive. Valentine Haven provided a family/homey atmosphere. I’m glad to read of the appreciation, gratitude and honor for Emily Valentine in naming the new residence after her. By the way, I still have the Bible she gave me. She wrote on the Bible cover, “Colleen, with love, Emily Valentine.” That love has been with me forever!