Mother Divine, widow of religious leader Father Divine, dies

Mother Divine, widow of religious leader Father Divine, dies

March 8th, 2017 by Associated Press in National Obituaries

GLADWYNE, Pa. (AP) - The widow of Father Divine and leader for decades of a religious movement he founded that advocated racial equality and provided free food to thousands of people has died in Pennsylvania. Mother Divine was believed to be 92.

Emil J. Ciavarelli Family Funeral Homes says Sweet Angel Divine died Saturday at the movement's Gladwyne estate.

Mother Divine was born Edna Rose Ritchings. A 1946 Time magazine account says she moved from Canada to meet the Rev. Major Jealous Divine at the International Peace Mission Movement, which he founded in New York during the Great Depression.

The movement promoted celibacy and devotion to the Kingdom of Heaven. Its key activity was operating dining halls that provided free food.

Father Divine died in 1965. Mother Divine sold many of the movement's landmark properties including the Divine Lorraine Hotel in Philadelphia.