Finding what more we can all do

In publishing our Finding Resilience series, we’re making a statement: Out of turmoil, resilience is essential to progress.

Video screenshot
Christian Science Monitor Editor Mark Sappenfield interviews Fordham University student Veronica Quiroga during the "Overcoming adversity: How the pandemic revealed resilience" event.

Once you see the word, you start seeing it everywhere: resilience. If 2020 was the year of turmoil, 2021 might well be the year of resilience. There’s the need for individual resilience amid the pandemic or natural disasters, and there’s a push to build a broader resilience in communities and countries – helping them weather climate change, political dysfunction, or economic shocks.

In that spirit, our newest project is called Finding Resilience. You may have already seen stories or attended our webinar discussion earlier this month. The intent is to seek out where resilience is operating and chronicle how people are finding it in themselves and their neighbors. In doing so, we’re also making a statement: Resilience is not about teeth-gritted willpower. Nor does resilience accept the tragic or unjust conditions that kindle it. Resilience is essential to progress. 

In some cases, maybe a solution emerges. In others, the challenges might remain. But resilience is about finding growth and meaningful victories even amid tribulation. It is the beginning of change. 

During our live event, we focused on an article by our Harry Bruinius about how the Bronx, a borough of New York City, has found resilience amid the pandemic. Harry and I welcomed Veronica Quiroga, a leader of the Bronx COVID-19 Oral History Project, for a conversation about the inspiration and insight she found along the way. You can find the video here.

She said there came a point when she realized she could do more. A senior at Fordham University in New York last year, Ms. Quiroga saw her beloved Bronx devastated by the pandemic. So she did what she thought she could do best: She gave her neighbors a voice.

The resulting oral history project was more than just a body of work. For Ms. Quiroga, the realization of her own power and agency came with a broader sense of healing, she tells me. “The healing of my own self during a time of uncertainty, adversity, and grief resulted in me partnering with individuals who undoubtedly all wanted to offer a space of ‘recovery’ for Bronxites.” 

The project gave those who participated not only a space for their grief, but also a venue to speak of the remarkable compassion, community, and resilience expressed. It just took a decision “to actively participate in the history that I had cared so much to preserve and protect,” Ms. Quiroga says. 

Our founder, Mary Baker Eddy, said the Monitor must “bless all mankind.” In Finding Resilience, we hope to offer evidence that the strength and confidence to move forward is already in all of us. Through our events, we hope to inspire action. 

We’d love to hear your stories of how moments of transformation have enabled you to bring healing and resilience to your communities, helping to uplift others. Please send your stories to We’ll be sure to share them. 

You can read Finding Resilience stories here

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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