Edith Schaeffer has died at the age of 98.
Schaeffer co-founded L'Abri with her husband Francis, and was a monumental figure in late twentieth century American evangelicalism. She taught that homemaking and hospitality were important Christian ministries, and that art and beauty should have a cherished place in contemporary Christian life. According to Schaeffer, God was creative and brought beauty into the world and Christian women, through feminine service to their families, could do the same.
Tim Challies, pastor of a Baptist Church in Toronto, writes a brief history of L'Abri, and Schaeffer's role in that work:
In 1948 the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions sent the Schaeffers to Switzerland as missionaries. In 1955, after identifying significant disagreements with IBPFM and subsequently withdrawing from that organization, they decided to simply open up their home and make it available as a place to demonstrate God’s love and provide a forum for discussing God and the meaning of life. They called it L’Abri after the French word for “shelter.” By the mid-1950’s up to 30 people each week were visiting.
Edith had an integral role in maintaining the home and mentoring those who visited. She wrote or co-wrote twenty books, including Affliction, a book on suffering, and the autobiographical The Tapestry: the Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, each of which received the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (in 1979 and 1982 respectively).Os Guinness once called Schaeffer "the secret of L'Abri."