Prelude

By Grace F. Knoche

Our Special Issue for 1998 is dedicated to Katherine Tingley, friend of humanity, who from 1896 to 1929 served as Leader of the Theosophical Society, an office she assumed after the death of her predecessor, William Q. Judge. We honor KT for her superb courage, large vision, and the executive skill that enabled her to build a world theosophic center at Point Loma and lead it until her death in 1929. Most of all, we honor and love KT for her tender compassion for all who suffer.

Katherine Tingley's sense of timing was impeccable. On the eve of the 20th century, she sent a clear message not only to the theosophic membership but to the world at large. In Europe she had sensed the tensions and war-fever piercing the veneer of "civilization." To meet this barrage of negativity, she determined to seed the thoughtatmosphere with counter-impulses of harmony and peace. At the same time she reminded us that we cannot expect the nations of the world to live harmoniously if we are not at peace with ourselves and with others.

Our contributors have touched but a few highlights of a life devoted to bringing beauty and order into the lives of both children and adults. Let them tell their individual stories. Out of these and selections from KT's words, the reader may create his own portrait. Though much ground is covered in broad strokes, much of necessity had to be left untold. So rich and varied was the life and persona of Katherine Tingley, we offer this Special Issue as an "unfinished symphony" of one who dared the impossible and more than once surpassed her dreams.


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