The Other Catherine - Salvation Army Canada
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    The Other Catherine

    Retrospective # 42 October 31, 2017 Randy C. Hicks
    ‘If I am asked what was the secret,’ she said, ‘I answer: first, love; second, love; third, love...
    ‘If I am asked what was the secret,’ she said, ‘I answer: first, love; second, love; third, love...

    Most are well acquainted with C. S. Lewis’s CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, particularly THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. But I reckon not too many people know about the Salvation Army’s “witch.” Somewhere buried in the back of my mind methinks I had heard about her but until recently I had completely forgotten her. Allow me to introduce you:

    We all know about Catherine Mumford Booth – wife of William and co-founder of the Salvation Army; many will know about Commissioner Catherine Bramwell Booth whom, daughter of the second General – Bramwell Booth - it is believed by many that she was her father’s choice to be the third general of the Salvation Army; but what about the other Catherine?

    [[ -- Catherine Booth was the eldest daughter of General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, and it was she who, at the age of 22, led the Army to France. Within a week, she was to be sworn at, jeered at, and pelted with stones and mud. In Paris, where religion was anathema and absinthe the answer to London’s gin, she lived in near starvation in the slums, causing riots in the cafes and theatres by singing and preaching there. In Switzerland, gaoled for preaching, she conducted her own defence, and said, ‘No one will know the glory and wonder of the presence of God I knew in my prison cell.’

    She studied the strategies of Napoleon and Garibaldi as well as the Sermon on the Mount; married a man who had given up a family fortune to fight by her side; and faced a split with the Army and her beloved father, which was to be the tragedy of her life, but she continued to preach and bring up a large family, constantly on the move and with very little money. She started homes for filles de joi, held discussions in America and Australia, and returned to the place where she had been arrested and gaoled, to speak to crowds so numerous that police found it impossible to control them.

    In 1919, after the First World War, undergraduates called her the heavenly witch. ‘Her eyes glowed when she was inspired,’ they said. ‘They bored into us. We were bewitched.’ Catherine Booth’s spirit and fire earned her the name she used all her life:
    Le Marechale. ‘If I am asked what was the secret,’ she said, ‘I answer: first, love; second, love; third, love. And if you ask how to get it, I answer: first, by sacrifice; second, by sacrifice; third, by sacrifice.’ -- ]]

    {Taken from the dust cover of the book THE HEAVENLY WITCH, THE STORY OF THE MARECHALE by Carolyn Scott (Hamish Hamilton / London, 1981)}

    Note – Carolyn Scott’s book was published in 1981 – Catherine’s work began in France exactly 100 years earlier.

    I find it interesting that while researching for today’s post, having just completed yesterday’s about a Salvation Army flag’s trip to the moon and back I would make the following discovery - this little vignette of the very first Salvation Army flag, in the prologue of the above book which says:

    “…Catherine Booth, the General’s wife, presented her daughter with the colours to take to France: it was the first Army flag, and Catherine had embroidered it herself, red for the saving blood, blue for holiness, and the golden star of the Spirit.
    ‘Carry it into the slums and alleys and preach under its shadow wherever there are lost and perishing souls,’ she said. ‘Charge on the hosts of hell and see whether they will not turn and flee.’

    Wikipedia tells me that:

    [[-- Katie Booth married Arthur Clibborn at the age of 28 on 18 February 1887. It was a well-attended event and subject of interest to the press, which reported that at least 6,000 people were in attendance. On marriage, Arthur and Kate changed their surname by deed poll to Booth-Clibborn at the insistence of General Booth. They had ten children, including the Pentecostal preacher William Booth-Clibborn. Following the birth of their tenth child the Booth-Clibborns resigned from The Salvation Army in January 1902, unhappy at the restrictive nature of the Army's military style of government…For the rest of her life she had almost no contact with her father or with those siblings who remained in The Salvation Army. 
    The 'Kate Booth House', a Salvation Army residential environment for women and children fleeing family violence in Vancouver, British Columbia, was named in her honour.
    On her death from double pneumonia in 1955 Katie Booth-Clibborn was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Her earlier falling out with her father William Booth and the other Salvationist members of the family prevented her from being buried near her parents and deceased siblings in Abney Park Cemetery. --]]

    We recognize all too well the “humanity” of our forebears and realize culture and custom was very different back then. Few SA stories are without some bumps and bruises and although sad, you likely know of similar instances in your own Army world.
    But ultimately the “Heavenly Witch” got it right did she not? It is by love and self-sacrifice that we build the Kingdom.

    Whom might you need to forgive?

    From whom might you need to seek forgiveness?

    In the end I firmly believe Love Wins!

    And it’s not yet the end!

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