Schaeffer, Edith (1914-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College
Born November 3, 1914 to missionary parents serving with Hudson Taylor and his China Inland Mission, Edith Rachel Merritt Seville attended Beaver College in Germantown, Pennsylvania. On June 26, 1932 she met her future husband, Francis A. Schaeffer, who had finished his first year at Hampden-Sydney College and had returned home to work for the summer. They were married July 6, 1935 and after Francis attended seminary at Westminster Theological Seminary and gained ministry experience they were sent in 1948 to Switzerland by the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.
Schaeffer, with her late husband, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, co-founded the well-known Christian evangelism and retreat community in Switzerland, L'Abri Fellowship. The work of L'Abri began when their family was young in 1955 in the village of Huémoz, Switzerland. Today L'Abri has six branches around the world - one each in Switzerland, England, Holland and Sweden and two in the United States. During the years of their marriage, Edith was an intellectual equal to her husband. During their early years together it was Edith who helped direct his reading list.
Edith is the author of seventeen books on a variety of topics and is a speaker and counselor in the United States and abroad. Affliction (1978) was written during and just prior to times of significant difficulties. She wrote Tapestry (1981) as a chronicle of their lives together.
She is the mother of four children. Priscilla, their first child, was born on June 18, 1937 while in Delaware. On May 28, 1941, Edith gave birth to their second daughter, Susan while they were living in Grove City, Pennsylvania. During a pastorate in St. Louis, Deborah Ann Schaeffer was born, May 3, 1945. It was during the Schaeffers’ early years in Switzerland that Francis August Schaeffer V, or Franky, was born, August 3, 1952.
The Schaeffers returned to the United States permanently in 1978 so Francis could undergo cancer treatments at the Mayo Clinic. She has lived in Minnesota since his death in 1984. Since her husband’s death, Mrs. Schaeffer resided for a while in Rochester, Minnesota, but returned to Switzerland to live nearer to her family.