• 1848 The future Madam Lake was born Sarah Genevra Chafa.
  • 1864 Met Father Lake at Charity Theater event in New York. 
  • 1874 Secretly married Father H. S. Lake and moved to California to escape ridicule.
  • 1876 Mr H. S. Lake died of Tuberculosis and Madam Lake experienced a spiritual awakening.
  • 1884 She joined Boston High Society where she met the wealthy spiritualist Mr. Ayers.
  • 1885 She was present of the societywhen the First Spiritual Temple was dedicated.
  • 1887 Became official pastor of First Spiritual Temple.

Early Life

Sarah Genevra Chafa showed her talents and intelligence at a young age as a published poet and she showed her independence by leaving her parents' house in her twenties to live with a friend who was a wealthy suffragette.  As an early supporter of women's rights she attended many society balls and fundraisers with her friend.

At one such fundraiser she met Father Henry Lake, a charismatic, progressive-minded priest. Before long the two of them fell in love and he renounced his vows, to marry Sarah in a secret ceremony. The young couple moved to California where they lived together happily until he contracted tuberculosis and tragically died. With her husband gone, Sarah Lake had a spiritual awakening and saw death for what it really was a transition from body to spirit.

After having visions of her departed husband and other spirits, she became a professional medium under the name Mrs. H. S. Lake, or Madam Lake. Soon, she was traveling the country.


"Spiritualists believe that death is merely the transformation of the human chrysalis to the spiritual butterfly."

After traveling around the country speaking about women's rights and spirituality, she settled in Boston to become the Pastor of the First Spiritual Temple, built in Boston by Mr. Ayers, a wealthy progressive. 

As a medium, Madam Lake was not theatrical. Her benevolent spirit guides always delivered the reassuring message that the human race was destined to achieve progress, justice and true enlightenment.