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Spiritual healing: a conversation with Hildegard Arnesen

From the May 2004 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Metaphysician lives in two worlds. One is Olympia, Washington, the Evergreen State, in the Pacific Northwest, where she has lived with her husband since 1974 in an idyllic place in the woods. The other is St. Petersburg, Russia, where since 1993 she has spent six months of each year in a city of onion-domed cathedrals, architectural monuments, and sub-zero temperatures, braving the snows and winds blowing in from the Gulf of Finland.

Ms. Arnesen first began receiving patients as a practitioner of Christian Science healing in 1977, shortly after obtaining her Ph.D. in Russian language and literature from the University of Washington. A book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, had changed her life two decades earlier— and she decided that the pioneering work of spiritual healing was more important than teaching Russian. But the years spent mastering the Russian language were not wasted. They turned out to be preparation for a great adventure and a life of more far-ranging service. In the early 1990s she revisited St. Petersburg and was invited by a group of Christian Scientists to join them and establish her Christian Science practice there. Her two-world life began.

Invitations to speak about Christian Science in public turned into an appointment to The Christian Science Board of Lectureship in 1994. She has since lectured widely in the Russian-speaking Field, which includes the former Soviet Republics of Latvia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Arnesen also became a teacher of Christian Science in 1994 and taught her first class in 1995 in St. Petersburg, where she continues to teach each September. Senior writer spoke with her recently in Boston.

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