Daisette D. S. McKenzie, C.S.B.

  • Anne Holliday Webb
A young Daisette Stocking McKenzie. Photograph, P0984-1, Longyear Museum collection.

DAISETTE D. S. McKENZIE’s devoted service to the Christian Science movement during its formative years is widely remembered. A well-executed likeness of her, painted by Eileen Ayrton of Belfast, Ireland, was presented some time ago to Longyear Historical Society by the Association of pupils of Mrs. McKenzie.

Daisette Stocking was born in Mansfield, Ohio, and moved with her parents to Cleveland, where she received most of her education, with additional study in New York. She was attracted to Christian Science in 1887 through the healing of her sister’s child.

At that early date Mrs. Eddy was still founding and organizing the Christian Science movement; there were possibly only one or two branch churches then in existence; there were no Reading Rooms; no authorized lectures; no Lesson-Sermon had yet been established; and though there were many Christian Scientists throughout the country, there were none, as yet, in Cleveland. Miss Stocking studied the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and read The Christian Science Journal (then only in its fifth year), and a few pamphlets.

In 1887 Mrs. Hannah Larminie, a Christian Scientist who had studied with Mrs. Eddy in 1885, went to Cleveland to explain the healing work and Daisette Stocking and her two older sisters had class instruction with this student. Thus began their long service to the Cause of Christian Science. Meetings of Christian Scientists were soon arranged and Miss Stocking began preaching the Sunday services. Her work together with that of a few other dedicated students led later to the formation of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Cleveland.

William and Daisette McKenzie. Photograph, P1011-1, Longyear Museum collection.

In 189 1 Miss Stocking was invited to visit Toronto to start a church in that city. She served as pastor. In 1895, when Mrs. Eddy ordained the Bible and Science and Health as permanent Pastor of all Christian Science churches, she served as Second Reader with William P. McKenzie as First Reader. Later that same year Mr. McKenzie was listed in The Christian Science Journal as a practitioner in Toronto. He was called to Boston in 1896 by Mrs. Eddy to become a member of the committee that prepared the Bible Lessons.

Early in 1897 Miss Stocking, having completed her work in Toronto, returned to Cleveland. Soon she was actively serving First Church which she had helped to establish before being invited to go to Toronto. In succeeding years she was Reader of First Church, Cleveland, a member of its board of directors, and a teacher in the Sunday School.

During Miss Stocking’s years in Toronto she, with a friend, Miss Emily Shanklin who later became Mrs. Gavin Allan, maintained a home to which they made welcome anyone seeking healing in Christian Science, and many were the healings resulting from their work. They called their home Sharon, and today this name is perpetuated in the title of the accredited rest home for Christian Scientists, Sharon House, near Toronto.

Mrs. Eddy invited Miss Stocking to attend her 1898 class. She was awarded the degree of C.S.B. and was authorized to teach Christian Science. In the same class were Mrs. Lida Stocking Stone, a sister who had begun the study of Christian Science with her in 1887, and William P. McKenzie. He was also awarded the degree of C.S.B. and made a teacher.

Miss Stocking and Mr. McKenzie were married in 1901. He taught Christian Science until 1932 when he was made a member of the Board of Directors of The Mother Church. The multiple duties of this office led him to retire from teaching. Mrs. McKenzie was first listed in The Christian Science Journal as teacher in October 1932 and taught her first class in 1933.

Portrait of Daisette McKenzie. AW0262, Longyear Museum collection.

Mrs. McKenzie had a number of articles published in the periodicals. Among these are her inspiring review of “Our Lesson-Sermon” (Sentinel, July 23, 1949), and her addresses as incoming President of The Mother Church, 1943, and outgoing President, 1944, published in the July issues of The Christian Science Journal of these respective years. In her address in 1944 she said in part: “It has been well said that men of faith, more than any other group, must realize how much depends on what America does with its mind power, as .well as its man power … We must think straight and earnestly. We must utilize Mind power to prepare for this world crisis.”

The McKenzie Portrait

In 1960 the Longyear Historical Society was given a portrait of Mrs. McKenzie by the Association of her students. Painted by Eileen Ayrton of Belfast, Ireland, this remarkably warm and sensitive likeness is the one which appears in the book Pioneers in Christian Science, published by the Longyear Historical Society. This loose-leaf book includes 126 black and white portrait reproductions of pioneer workers, with brief biographical sketches. Miss Ayrton also painted the portrait of Mr. McKenzie which is in the Longyear collection at the Mary Baker Eddy Museum.


This article was original published in the Spring 1973 Longyear Museum Quarterly News.

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