Carrie Frances Judd Montgomery – April 8, 1858 – July 26, 1946
Mrs. Montgomery was an editor, faith healer, evangelist, philanthropist, preacher and writer. She was influential in the American Divine Healing Movement in the late 19th century and played a significant rule in promoting faith healing and Pentecostalism through her writings. She was was the first person to open a healing home on the West Coast.
The fourth of eight children, Carrie was born on April 8, 1858 and spent her childhood in Buffalo, New York, where the revival of 1857-58 was underway. On a cold winter day in late 1879 Carrie was walking to school when she slipped and fell on the icy ground. She continued to school that day and was sent home from school. On January 6th, 1877, Carrie was diagnosed with spinal fever. Carrie was quickly confined to her bed because of her illness and was forced to give up school. Her days in bed quickly turned into months and then years, being “prostrated with spinal complaint… Her hips, knees, and ankles could not be touched, even by herself without great suffering.” For eleven months Carrie could not sit up on her own and was intolerant to light. At one point she was so sensitive she described the pillow under her head being “like a block of stone.” At that time those around her expected her death at any moment, and even her mother allowed friends to come and say their last goodbyes to Carrie.
Around that time her father discovered an article in the local newspaper. The article spoke of a woman, Mrs. Edward Mix, who was healed of tuberculosis through the prayers of Mr. Ethan Allan. When Carrie heard this she asked her sister, Eva, to send a letter to Mrs. Mix requesting a healing prayer form her. Mrs. Mix response came quickly in a letter centered around the prayer of faith in James 5:15 as well as encouragement to act in faith regardless of how she felt. Mrs. Mix also detailed a specific time where both parties would pray in their separate houses for Carrie’s healing.
Carrie writes: “At the hour appointed by Mrs. Mix, members of our own family also offered up prayer, though not in my room. Just before this, I seemed to have no power, whatever, to grasp the promise. Terrible darkness and powerful temptations from Satan rose to obscure even the little faith I had, but, suddenly, my soul was filled with a child-like peace and confidence, different from anything I had ever experienced.
There was no excitement, but without the least fear of hesitation, I turned over and raised up alone, for the first time in over two years.”
Carrie was healed and within three months had returned to all of her normal activities. This was Carrie’s introduction to faith healing and for the rest of her life, she relied only on prayer for healing from every illness.
In the years that followed Carrie corresponded with Mrs. Mix, who at one point came to visit her. Together they went into the city to pray for the healing of those who were sick.
In the year 1880, Carrie published her book, The Prayer of Faith in order to encourage other to embrace of their healing in the name of the Lord, Jesus. The Prayer of Faith was one if the first and most prominent books on the subject of divine healing.
In 1881, Carrie began a monthly magazine titled The Triumphs of Faith in which she promoted faith healing, holiness, women in ministry. Almost all of the articles in her magazine were written by women of faith. Shortly thereafter in April of 1882, Carrie opened her first healing home, Faith Rest Cottage.
In contrast to the norms of the time, Carrie also became an itinerant preacher and teacher who traveled globally to share her story of healing. Her zeal spread the unpopular message of divine healing and branded her as a radical evangelist. Her close friendship with A.B. Simpson allowed her to play a significant role in the foundation of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Simpson encouraged and created a space for Carrie to step out and share her story. During the time of her ministry she transcended denominational barriers speaking at Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Salvation Army and Alliance churches, as well as churches of all racial make-ups. By 1889, many churches closed their doors to her because she was a woman preacher and because she spoke to African Americans.
In the year 1890, Carrie was wed to a successful businessman, George S. Montgomery, who was previously healed of diabetes and afterwards had “consecrated himself to the Lord’s Service.” He brought her from Buffalo, New York to Oakland, California. With the support of her husband and great provision of resources, she opened up an orphanage and training center there. Together they also commissioned the Home of Peace. This was the first healing on the West Coast, even before John G. Lake’s healing rooms.
Carrie is one of the only women listed among other key shapers of the movement of Charles Cullis, A.B. Simpson, A.J. Gordon, William E. Boardman, Andrew Murray, and other men. She and her husband were also named honorary officers of the Salvation Army before the turn of the 20th century.
Loren Berry, Carrie’s grandson, recalls that about a week prior to Carrie’s passing, she asked him to read the bible to her. Today he looks back on her request and says, “I didn’t know it then, but now I realize that she didn’t want me to read the bible to her because she wanted to hear it, but because she wanted me to hear it. That is just the kind of woman she was.”
Carrie passed peacefully in her home in the year 1946, her ministry was entrusted to her faithful son-in-law, Merrill Berry, who incorporated the ministry into a non-profit organization in 1949 to ensure continued service to the Christian community. The Home of Peace still continues this way and is governed by a board of directors.