1856–1917

Introduction

Born: Circa 1856, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: 1917, Orms­kirk, Lan­ca­shire, Eng­land.

Pseudonyms

Biography

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

Lyrics

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