Patience Sinnett

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Patience Sinnett

Patience Edensor Sinnett was an English Theosophist who knew H. P. Blavatsky in the earliest days of the Theosophical Society in India, and wife of Alfred Percy Sinnett. Both Mme. Blavatsky as Mahatmas K.H. and M. expressed great affection for her and trust in her good judgement and discretion. Her husband, who always called her "Pattie",[1] commented on her fine qualities in his autobiography, and mentioned that she "studied astrology profoundly".[2]

Biographical data

In 1844, Patience Edensor was born to Richard and Clarissa Edensor in Sherston, Derbyshire, England.[3] She married Alfred Percy Sinnett on April 6, 1870 at St. John's [parish church], Notting Hill, in London.[4]

In 1872, George Allen, the proprietor of the Anglo-Indian newspaper The Pioneer, offered Mr. Sinnett the editorship. The couple moved to India where they lived until 1883.

On May 16, 1877, they had a son, Percy Edensor Sinnett, better known as "Dennie". His health was fragile throughout his rather short life. In March, 1881, the family went to England for a holiday. Alfred returned to India but Patience, who was expecting a second child, remained in Notting Hill with her mother. On July 14 the baby was delivered still-born.[5] She returned to India on January 10, 1882.

On February 11, 1883, the Sinnetts left Allahabad to return to England, where Patience would spent the rest of her life.

Dennie died of tubercolosis on May 11, 1908, at 31 years of age. Patience died of cancer the same year, at midnight on November 9, despite her husband's efforts at mesmeric healing.

Portraits of Mahatmas

Patience was present with Mme. Blavatsky and other at the studio of young German artist Hermann Schmiechen when he attempted to paint portraits of the Mahatmas Morya and Koot Hoomi.[6]

Pink note

On September 29, 1880, Mrs. Patience Sinnett, Mme. Blavatsky and Col. Olcott went for a picnic to the top of Prospect Hill at Simla. There, Mrs. Sinnett received a note on pink paper from one of the Masters. It was left in a tree and read: "I believe I was asked to leave a note here. What can I do for you?" The original of this "pink slip" is in the British Library.

Diaries

The diaries that Mrs. Sinnett kept were highly useful to her husband as he wrote The Occult World and later books. It was "a record of events which anybody might read, not a private diary of thought and feelings, and she kept this up all through our married life so that it now consists of 31 volumes of manuscript."[7]

Many people have sought the diaries, but their location is unknown. Boris de Zirkoff corresponded with C. R. Groves, General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in England:

I have recently had considerable correspondence both with John Coats and with Sri Ram regarding some diaries of Mrs. Patience Sinnett which were once in the possession of Miss Maud Hoffman. As you know, John says he distinctly remembers seeing the diaries in this office [TS in England headquarters] in a suitcase with other things brought by Miss Hoffman, but after that he does not know what became of them. We do not have them here in our archives nor were they ever sent either in my time or in the time of my predecessor to Adyar, but they might nevertheless have reached Adyar in some way and be in the archives there.
I have also contacted Mrs. Adelaide Gardner who preceded John as General Secretary. She says she met Miss Hoffman who had some personal memoirs of Mrs. Sinnett, had read them and doubted the advisability of letting them become public property, as they were too personal and not always to Sinnett's credit. But Mrs. Gardner thinks it quite possible that they were destroyed by Miss Hoffman, or they may easily be among Brother Raja's papers at Adyar. At any rate it is certain that we do not hold them and cannot do any more than we have done in attempting to trace them.[8]

Writings

Mrs. Sinnett wrote two pamphlets in the Adyar Pamphlets series, number 193 and 194, called "The Purpose of Theosophy". Col. Olcott described them as "an introductory manual for beginners." They are available at :

  • Part I from Canadian Theosophical Association. First published 1885, 2nd Indian edition 1886, 3rd edition 1902, 4th edition 1935. Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House.
  • Part II from Canadian Theosophical Association. First published 1885, 2nd Indian edition 1886, 3rd edition 1902, 4th edition 1935. Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House.

Notes

  1. A. P. Sinnett, Autobiography of Alfred Percy Sinnet (London: Theosophical History Centre, 1986), 12.
  2. A. P. Sinnett, Autobiography of Alfred Percy Sinnet (London: Theosophical History Centre, 1986), 3.
  3. 1861 England Census and 1871 England Census.
  4. London Metropolitan Archives, Saint John The Evangelist, Ladbroke Grove, Register of marriages, P84/JN, Item 018.
  5. A. P. Sinnett, Autobiography, 19-20.
  6. Laura C. Holloway, “The Mahatmas and Their Instruments Part II,” The Word (New York), July 1912, pp. 200-206, available at The Blavatsky Archives as Portraits of the Mahatmas
  7. A. P. Sinnett, Autobiography of Alfred Percy Sinnet (London: Theosophical History Centre, 1986), 12.
  8. C. R. Groves letter to Boris de Zirkoff. July 4, 1955. Theosophical Society in England correspondence. Boris de Zirkoff Papers. Records Series 22. Theosophical Society in America Archives.