Park, Mary Olga

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Park, Mary Olga

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1891-1985

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A spiritualist mystic and self-published writer on the subject, Mary Olga Park was born on February 24, 1891 in Gargrave, Yorkshire, England, immigrated to Vancouver at the age of 19 and was known for her pantheistic theological beliefs and the prophetic visions she experienced. As a child, Park showed an interest in nature, music and religion. Brought up a Wesleyan, Park had no qualms about crossing denominational lines, attending services at an Anglican church when her own shut down due to lack of membership. The move to Vancouver was difficult for Park as it meant abandoning the connections she’d made in England surrounding her music career. At first, her father, Bruce Bracewell, worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but later became a dairy farmer in South Vancouver and was one of the organizers of the milk board. Park’s dream visions began in 1914 and showed her visions of the soldiers’ experiences in the First World War. The most rattling vision involved a powerful explosion that shook Park awake. Upon returning to sleep, she then dreamed of her father receiving a note, informing him that her brother, Maurice, a combatant in the war, was missing. Two weeks letter, the family received such a letter and it was later discovered that Maurice was suffering from shell shock due to his experiences at Vimy Ridge. In 1917, Olga was married to James Fleming Park. They had two children: James Bruce Park and James Samuel Park. The latter passed away shortly after birth. Still interested in religion and spiritual growth, Park became a Sunday School teacher, but eventually became dissatisfied with the structured nature of church-based religion and its interpretations of Christian teachings, or “Churchianity”, as she called it. This caused her to break ties with her church and, after her husband's death in 1959, she went to live with her son until 1964 when she moved to a small cottage in Port Moody. By this time, she had already self-published a book, Between Time and Eternity, which documented her spiritual “awakening”. Her beliefs as expressed in her book began to spread by both the book itself and by word of mouth until a number of “seekers” were drawn to her and began an informal group of “learners” who sought spiritual guidance. Park continued to live alone at her cottage until 1978 when, after breaking a leg, it was necessary to move back to Vancouver. Park passed away in December, 1985, followed only a few years later by her son.

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