Severin E. Simonsen, C.S.B.

Portrait by Arthur M. Hazard. Original Longyear Collection.


SEVERIN E. SIMONSEN grew up in the wilderness of Wisconsin near Oconomowoc, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. His deeply religious parents emigrated to the United States from Norway in the spring of 1843, and reared Severin and his seven siblings in a home anchored by Bible-reading each morning and evening. Reverend Simonsen’s father eventually joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and while in his teens, Severin conducted prayer meetings and preached in the Methodist pulpit in Milwaukee. In 1881, he graduated from Garrett Biblical Institute, the first Methodist seminary in the Midwest, and a year later entered the active ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, serving first in Wisconsin and later in Minnesota, Illinois, and New York. In 1886, after being told by physicians that he only had a few more months to live, Rev. Simonsen was healed through Christian Science. He continued serving in the Methodist ministry until some years later, when his son was also healed through Christian Science. Finally convinced of the truths contained in Science and Health, Rev. Simonsen left the pulpit in November 1900. He and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Sawyer (the two were married in 1883), had Primary class instruction from Edward Kimball in 1901 at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, and the following year they moved to Connecticut, where the couple served as First and Second Readers of First Church of Christ, Scientist, New Haven. In September 1902, after visiting Mary Baker Eddy for the first time, the Simonsens were elected First Members of The Mother Church at Mrs. Eddy’s request. Soon after, both husband and wife were listed as practitioners in The Christian Science Journal, and Rev.  Simonsen became a teacher as well.  In 1920, the couple moved to Los Angeles, California, and eight years later Rev. Simonsen published a book about his life’s journey, From The Methodist Pulpit into Christian Science and How I Demonstrated the Abundance of Substance and Supply.

Support Longyear with a membership

Help advance our mission by becoming a Longyear member