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Margaret Lee Runbeck(1905-1956): Going on Heart-First

Margaret Lee Runbeck
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Margaret Lee Runbeck, via Shannon Chan


Margaret Lee Runbeck(1905-1956) was the author of 16 books, but her presence on the internet is one sentence at a time.  Pages of her quotes come up on Google, but very little actual biographical information.   I did discover that Margaret Lee Runbeck recorded a “This I believe” piece for Edward R. Murrow’s radio show(a tradition carried on by NPR), describing her trip to India in the 1950’s, to teach literacy by writing small novels for those who had just learned to read.

The love which came back to me through this work, the opening of Indian hearts which showed me the great spiritual treasures of that civilization, gave me back something as valuable as any American help could give India. I went to give. I came back rich with what I received. . .

We have to meet our neighbors on spiritual grounds. This cannot be done by governments. Only person to person can we express love to each other. When we find our American way of doing this, we can unite the world.

I believe there is a spiritual revival going on all over the world. Because I have written two books on answered prayer, my mail brings me thousands of letters which tell that the greatest revolution happening today is going on in men’s souls. Men are finding that life is good only in so far as it feeds the soul with satisfaction and peace. We have come to this moment on our journey headfirst. I believe we are going on from here heart-first.

Runbeck believes that the United States began with men and women “who loved God enough and humanity enough to leave home in order to worship in freedom.”   Usually, I bristle when I hear about “America as a Christian nation,” because I don’t feel the love, or the heart-first journey, but I resonate with finding ways to love each other, and share our treasures, both spiritual and material.

Click Here for Audio of Margaret Lee Runbeck

More Margarets at my Margaret Pinterest Board




  1. brainfan says:

    Thank you for putting this description here. I saw one of Margaret’s quote this morning on one of those picture memes that are passed around. It was sadly unattributed because I knew it wasn’t just an anonymous person who wrote it. I create some of these picture-memes myself and I always attribute them, both in honor of the person who said it and also as a doorway for those who want to learn about the person. Your quote here helps paint a fuller picture of her, which lends a deeper meaning to her quote. Thanks!

  2. MARYHELEN says:

    Lo mas hermoso es que cuando citas alguna frase de un escritor es considerar que tuvo que haber pasado por su vida en su tiempo para poder expresar ideas que empatan con tus emociones actuales.

  3. Anjuu says:

    I just finished reading “The Year of Love”…a page turner, we were visiting our friend in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I saw it sitting in their dining room. Something drew me to it. I brought it home to Calgary and finished it in a few days. The book was written in 1956.
    I completely resonate “I came back rich with what I received”…I feel exactly that…rich after reading the book. I am of Indian origin and was born in Africa, lived in the UK and now in Canada. Our journey to the west started in 1973. Visited India for the first time in 2011/2012. I fell in love with the people. I had never seen so many “brown” people in my life. I am brown! I chatted with everyone, the Riksha walla, the school children. I was mesmerized, I loved it and want to definitely go back. IT IS RICH…the people.?

  4. Terra Lam says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely information of Margaret Lee Runbeck which otherwise hard to discover on internet. Much appreciated & touched!

  5. Debra says:

    I found her book “Our Miss Boo” at a library book sale several years ago. It is beautifully written and is a reminder of what really matters. I reread it every couple of years when the insanity gets to be too much for me.

  6. Sue says:

    I was so happy to find this new information about Margaret Lee Runbeck. Her mother, Jessie Dee Runbeck, was my grandmother’s oldest sister. We had a few of Margaret’s books which I read as a young adult. My mother was so proud of her cousin. Recently, I have been doing ancestry research and was fascinated to find record of some of Margaret’s world travels. So thank you so much for your research and insight into what she did while on one of her trips. It meant so much to be able to hear her tell of her time in India and get some insight into who she was.

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