Anna Thérèse Behse
Anna Thérèse Behse b. 13.11.1877 – d. 04.04.1974
Parents: Peter Wilhelm Arnold Behse and Maria Thérèse af Forselles - Behse
Anna Behse was born 13.11.1877 in Helsinki. The family lived in Kaivopuisto, in villa number 20. Anna was the youngest of five children. Anna was only four years old when her father suddenly died and Anna experienced already as a little girl the breaking down of her home. All her brothers and sisters loved her and especially her sister Maria Elisabeth was a great support for Anna during her years of growth. Anna Behse went to Miss Pipping`s co-educational school and graduated in 1894, after which she began her singing studies. She schooled her bright soprano at first in Finland and after that first
in Germany, Dresden and then in Berlin. She became a singing teacher and vocalist.
Her brother Alfons Emil accompanied his sister Anna in many small home concerts,
which I remember very well. Anna Behse gave also many bigger concerts and according to an article in a paper she was accompanied among other persons by Oskar Merikanto himself. But life had other plans for her.
In her student years in Dresden she became acquainted with the Christian Science movement. Even as a small girl Anna took a special interest in religious questions.
In an article in the paper Samarbete 18.1.1962 she says:”I wondered and questioned and would so very much like to understand everything that was told in the Bible.
My religious mother gave me as guiding principle to seek for answers in the Bible, but many parts in the Holy Book were too complicated for my understanding.”
In Berlin in 1922 Anna Behse with her friends quite accidentally took part in a so called
Thanksgiving meeting.The testimonies of those who were healed and their thanksgiving
made a so lasting impression on her that she wanted to go more deeply into the matter. Healing with help of prayer?
Her friends teased her, but goal-directed she moved on and bought books, which dealt with the doctrine of Christian Science Here began a new phase in Anna Behse´s life In the above interview she tells; ” When I returned to Finland, I continued to make myself acquainted with the principles of Christian Science. At first in 1929 we were three persons, who gathered in my home to study the Bible. With time more and more people who were interested in the matter joined us and we came together in the Small Hall of the conservatoire.” After the war the movement got a new gathering place. Healing with prayer is one of the central principles. For this Anna Behse was trained in London where she attended a two weeks course. In Finland Christian Science functions as a society (Kristillisen tieteen yhdistys), which was founded in 1955 and where Annan Behse was
a founder member.
As I have mentioned before, I had the pleasure to know Moster Anna, as we called her. We visited her in her home Skillnaden 13 and later in Tölö, Oksanengatan. She liked to sit in her beautiful, red sofa, above which was a painting from her childhood home ” Jesus , 12 years old, in a temple” Especially, I remember her from the winter war, when she, evacuated, lived in our rear building. I was a lively child and my grandmother used to say to me:” Don´t disturb Moster Anna. She is praying.” I could not possibly understand how somebody could pray the whole day. Wasn´t the evening prayer enough? Not for her, she prayed for the people in need.
Benita Åkerlund 2009
Anna Behse (1877-1974) got acquainted with some practitioners of Christian Science when she was studying singing in Germany. After a couple of years she began studying the Bible in Finland. The church activity began, when two other persons formed a small group with her. Behse devoted her whole life to helping people by praying. She was the first in Finland officially registered christian healer – practitioner of Christian Science.
In 1955 The Christian Science Society (Kristillisen Tieteen Yhdistys – KristenVetenskaps Samfund was founded and registered in the official register 26.2.1975.
The Society functions in Helsinki, where it has a reading hall, church and sunday school. Church services (Sundays) and testimonial meetings are held ( Wednesdays). Public gatherings have been organised, as well. At other places there has been inofficial functions and study of the Christian Science principles.
The Finnish translation ”Tiede ja terveys sekä avain Raamattuun” of the book ”Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker was published in 1987. In the international edition of the paper ”Christian Science Monitor” Finnish articles are published ever now and then. A small magazine ”Christian Science Viesti” is published four times a year.