1856-1917

Circa 1856, London, Middlesex, England.

1917, Ormskirk, Lancashire, England.

In 1881 Partridge was a governess in a school in Liverpool, while living in the convent of Notre Dame.

As a result of extensive correspondence…I received an invitation to call upon [the author of Just for Today, previously identified only as] S. M. X. in the convent of Notre Dame, on Mount Pleasant, Liverpool.

I found her a charming, sweet-faced nun of the Roman Catholic faith who had given her life to teaching in that ancient school for girls. She was perhaps 60 years of age, small of stature, most gracious in demeanor, of attractive personality and withal most unassuming and retiring.

I told her I had come to pay my respects to the author of Lord, for tomorrow and its needs, and to tell her how much we thought of it in America. She modestly disclaimed what she assumed to be praise, and said she knew little of the world outside of her four walls, and did not know that her little fugitive had traveled so far. I told her I was a Presbyterian living in Chicago [Illinois], and that we Americans loved her hymn, and wanted to know of its author and her real name…

Finally, the nun answered my query directly, Yes, I’ll give you my name. It is Sybil F. Partridge. But it would be my preference that the great world outside should not know it till after I am gone. She had hectic cough, and I learn she recently has passed away, so I am at liberty now to tell the story.

…[She] was good enough to give me, in her own handwriting, the full poem of nearly a dozen stanzas, to which as an addendum, she appended the verse following, written for me in remembrance of the visit I am describing.

Since Today gave to me in you a friend,
Unknown, unseen for long, so to the end,
I pray you let me, too, that title borrow;
And keep, I pray you, in your mindful prayer
The name which you discovered with such care—
Till we shall see and know, in God’s tomorrow!
S. M. X.

The Catholic Author of a Protestant Hymn, by Frederick M. Steele, in The Continent, November 11, 1920

  1. Just for Today