Edith Schaeffer, wife of the late Francis Schaeffer, a reknown pastor, author, abortion opponent and founder of the L’Abri conference center in Switzerland passed away today. She was 98.
Schaeffer was born into missionary life in China. She met her husband Francis in the 1930’s at a Christian event in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Later, the two founded the Christian conference center L’Abri in Switzerland, where Edith often tended to meals for the guests. It is stated that she tended a sizable vegetable garden in an effort to have sufficient food for those visiting.
Her husband Francis was a prolific writer and often denounced the secular humanism that he saw permeating society.
“Why has our society changed?” he once asked. “The answer is clear — the consensus of our society no longer rests upon a Christian basis, but upon a humanistic one. Humanism is man putting himself at the center of all things, rather than the creator God.”
Francis also released two films, How Should We Then Live?: The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture and Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, the first of which chronicled the history of the Church from the early Church to current times. The second film addressed the issues of abortion and euthanasia, which Schaeffer strongly opposed.
Francis Schaeffer died in 1984 of lymphoma, and was said to be influential in the lives of many Christian leaders during his time.
The Schaeffer’s son, Frank, wrote a tribute to his mother this morning, which was published in The Huffington Post. Frank, who departed from his parent’s beliefs a number of years ago, had remained in touch with his mother.
“My mother Edith Schaeffer died today. … She has just gone to be with the Lord, as she would put it,” he wrote. “She died at home which was her wish.”
He included in his list of warm memories of his mother “[being] in the garden at dawn weeding and watering her wonderful flowers and vegetables,” “taking impractical detours to look at something lovely” and “praying out loud over meals long — so long — at the table, as she forgot that for the rest of us prayer was mostly a ritual, though for her it was an endless conversation with the eternal.”
Frank also stated that his mother expressed a “horror at the ‘harshness’ … of so many evangelical religious people and the way they treated ‘the lost’ and [would declare], ‘No wonder no one wants to be a Christian if that’s how we treat people!'”
Edith Schaeffer, in addition to caring for her husband and children, and helping run L’Abri, was also a prolific author. Her books included The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life, What is a Family and 10 Things Parents Must Teach Their Children.
L’Abri continues to this day, and has expanded to several countries, including in the United States, with facilities in both Massachusetts and Minnesota.