Fillmore, Mary Caroline ‘‘Myrtle’’ Page
(1845–1931)
Myrtle Fillmore, cofounder of the Unity School of Christianity,
was born Mary Caroline Page on August 6, 1845, in Pagetown,
Ohio. She was raised in a devout Methodist family and
given the best education available for females in her day. She
attended Oberlin College and upon graduation moved to Clinton,
Missouri, to become a schoolteacher.
In the 1870s she moved to Dennison, Texas, where she met
her future husband, Charles Fillmore. They were married in
1881 and settled in Colorado, where Charles had previously
moved. They moved to Kansas City in 1884, but Myrtle’s life
entered a downward spiral. She had tuberculosis, at the time an
incurable wasting disease. However, in 1886 she attended some
lectures given by an independent Christian Science teacher, E.
B. Weeks of Chicago. Charles attended reluctantly, but Myrtle’s
life was changed by what she heard. She began to apply the
teachings and over the next year was cured of her illness. Her
recovery captured Charles’s imagination and enthusiasm.
While Myrtle was sharing with others the teachings to which she
attributed her healing, Charles was studying. In 1889 he began
a magazine that presented Christian Science in the context of
his various interests in the occult and Eastern religions.
Soon after founding the magazine, Myrtle and Charles met
Emma Curtis Hopkins, the independent Christian Science
teacher, and became her students. Under her tutelage, they focused
their work in healing. In 1891 they were ordained by
Hopkins and decided to organize their work under the general
name Unity. By this time the Fillmores had three children,
Lowell (1882), Rickert (1884), and Royal (1889). Myrtle
founded the Unity Sunday School and in 1893 launched and
for over thirty years edited Wee Wisdom, a children’s magazine
published for almost a century by the movement. She took the
lead in the formation of the Society of Silent Help, today known
as Silent Unity, the movement’s prayer ministry. In 1903 she
cofounded with Charles the Unity School of Christianity, the
central organization of the movement. She lived to celebrate
her fiftieth wedding anniversary and passed away on October
3, 1931.
Sources
Fillmore, Myrtle. How to Let God Help You. Lee’s Summit,
Mo. Unity School of Christianity, 1956.
———. The Letters of Myrtle Fillmore. Kansas City, Mo. Unity
School of Christianity, 1936.
Witherspoon, Thomas E. Myrtle Fillmore, Mother of Unity.
Unity Village, Mo. Unity Books, 1977.