When you ask ICR President Dr. John Morris to describe his mother, Mary Louise Morris, he says, “She prayed.” Mary Louise was the wife of ICR founder Dr. Henry Morris, and the mother of ICR’s current CEO, Dr. Henry Morris III. Two of her daughters, Mary Morris Smith and Rebecca Morris Barber, also contribute their time and unique talents to ICR’s work. A third daughter, Dr. Kathy Morris Bruce, serves God’s kingdom as a missionary.
Mary Louise invested herself in her husband’s work and in their family. “She prayed extensively,” John says. “Dad started several ministries. She sacrificed financially…she sacrificed in time, and she supported him while raising his kids. He was in his world of research and writing books, often traveling, and she encouraged him.”
Rebecca echoes those thoughts. “Mom revered her husband and made sure that we did, too. She made it her mission to make our home a pleasant and God-honoring place. Dad was often gone or buried in his books, so she ran the house, but she always made sure that he was seen as the leader. I don’t remember arguments or disagreements. If there were any, she never let on. We knew that she was Dad’s number-one fan.”
This devoted woman also stood by Dr. Morris as he dealt with the backlash of challenging the disinformation entrenched in conventional science. John remembers that “Dad was teaching at a university when he wrote The Genesis Flood, and he endured all kinds of criticism for writing that book—a book that changed the world. She went through the heartbreak of watching him go through some horrible things during that time, and she was his support. She went through it with him. She gets the blessing.”
“Her ministry to us can be defined in the verse ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ [John 15:13]. She did that for Dad. She did that for us.”
Mary Louise’s grandson Henry Morris IV shares similar sentiments about his mother, Jan, in his stewardship article “Arise and Call Her Blessed” (page 21). Mr. Morris says, “Most of all, I am thankful for her constant prayers throughout my life.” He points out the unmatched worth of such a godly woman, and shares a snapshot of his experiences with his own faithful mother. He reminds us that “mothers are identified as the single largest influence in teaching the Scriptures to their children,” and he encourages us to honor these precious women.
No doubt, ICR has been built and strengthened by the uncompromising faith of men and women who love the Lord—who had a vision and a passion to make a difference in the world and who dedicated their lives to an unheralded ministry, beginning with ICR’s founder and his wife. Their sons, daughters, and grandchildren caught the vision for this ministry and continue to faithfully carry out the work.
Mary Louise Morris undergirded ICR during the early years of establishing the ministry and through the following decades of growth, changes, and difficulties. Like so many women who support and encourage their husbands in ministry, who dedicate their lives to raising godly children and nurturing a family, Mary Louise also did the work of another privileged ministry—that of quietly communing with her heavenly Father and interceding on behalf of those she loved.
She may have appeared to be in the background, but Mary Louise was actually on the frontlines as a prayer warrior. Her husband wrote books and articles and gave talks that impacted lives worldwide. While she didn’t write with ink on paper, Mary Louise wrote with love on the hearts of her husband, children, and grandchildren, and through them, she continues to impact the world today.
* Jayme Durant is Executive Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Durant, J. 2013. She Prayed. Acts & Facts. 42 (5): 4.