Mary Baker Eddy writes of her early exposure to the Congregational Church when, even while she was in her cradle, her devout parents regularly offered prayers and hymns that provided a spiritual culture that pervaded the home (see Message to The Mother Church for 1901, p. 31). From her very formative days, her inspired, searching thought moved seamlessly from writing prose, to reciting and writing poetry, to being comforted by hymns. She came in contact with prominent clergymen and noted authors. She read voraciously from many publications.
So it was natural for her to be aware of the long, penetrating poem on the life of Christ Jesus by Arabella Katherine Hankey, affectionately known by her friends as “Kate.” In her writings, Mrs. Eddy referred to the hymn taken from this poem as “Kate Hankey’s excellent hymn” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 15).
Kate was Mrs. Eddy’s contemporary, although 13 years younger. She came from a well-to-do, devout Anglican family, and although able to afford a life of ease among the elite, she chose to teach in Sunday Schools and aid people in the poorest parts of London. She published poems to hand out in her classes. She worked as a missionary in Africa and assisted her invalid brother there.