Evangelical leader Edith Schaeffer, who co-founded L'Abri, a Christian ministry, with her husband, prolific evangelical author Francis Schaeffer, passed away quietly in her sleep early Saturday.
L'Abri was founded in Switzerland in 1955 as a Christian retreat center where people of any faith, or no faith, could come to learn and discuss theological and philosophical issues. During the 1960s, it became popular among some of the counter-cultural, or "hippie," movements of the time.
"What a lovely person Edith is – and how thankful we are that she has gone at last to her eternal rest. One wonders, too, with her life-long and quite proper excitement about the 'great tapestry of God' could she have chosen a more fitting day than Easter Saturday to round off her own amazing contribution to that sublime fabric!" son-in law Ranald Macaulay wrote on the L'Abri website.
Schaeffer was born in 1914 to Christian missionaries in China. She married Francis in 1935 and they had four children together – Priscilla, Susan, Deborah and Frank.
Schaeffer wrote about 20 books, many dealing with prayer, family or raising children. She also authored a biography of herself and Francis that documented the history of L'Abri – The Tapestry: The Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer (1981).
L'Abri was influential among many Christian leaders, including the late Chuck Colson and Os Guiness, who taught at L'Abri.
While the Schaeffers were popular among counter-cultural movements in the 1960s, they were influential in the conservative Christian political movement, known as the Christian Right, during the 1970s and early 1980s. Francis Schaeffer wrote several books and produced videos, with the help of his son, Frank, that provided some of the intellectual foundations of the movement.
Frank Schaeffer would later reject much of his parents' teachings and now serves as a pundit and author representing a theologically and politically liberal Christian viewpoint. He wrote an obituary for his mother published in The Huffington Post.
"Mom's daily life was a rebuke and contradiction to people who see everything as black and white," Frank Schaeffer wrote. "Liberals and secularists alike who make smug disparaging declarations about 'all those evangelicals' would see their fondest prejudices founder upon the reality of my mother's compassion, cultural literacy and loving energy."