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musings from linda 3/22/24

Jeanette Threlfall had a tough life… 

Born in 1821 in Blackburn, England, she was a little girl when both her parents died…  As an orphan, she was relegated to living in a succession of homes, dependent on the goodwill of various relatives…


After the age of 12 she had no formal schooling…  In a carriage accident, she slipped and fell; her injuries led to leg amputation… A second accident left her a helpless invalid… No photographs of her remain to be seen.


A sad life — lived and forgotten. 



Jeanette Threlfall visits NMCC every Palm Sunday… her spirit is alive and well!  While our children joyfully parade around the sanctuary with palms and pussy willows,  the congregation sings the hymn HOSANNA, LOUD HOSANNA. (click here to listen)


Even during COVID, Julie Abbott and Laura Prohaska made a Palm Sunday video for our online worship — singing the hymn while their kids marched through the forest waving branches!


Guess who wrote the text to that hymn?  

Jeanette Threlfall. 

She never married or had children of her own, but as she pondered the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry in Jerusalem, she reflected on his gentle love of little ones  — and the mutual affection of unquestioning joy and gratitude with which they would be greeting him on this festal day.  She imagined them running through the city, bursting with excitement and unquestioning love for Jesus — a “simple,  undignified, giddy kind of love…”  


 “Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang —

      Through pillared court and temple the lovely anthem rang! 

       To Jesus who had blessed them, close folded to his breast,

       The children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.

What a beautiful picture she paints with her words!


Though basically uneducated, she had a great love of reading — and because her health was “delicate” she had a lot of time to devote to writing sacred poems and hymns which she sent — anonymously— to various periodicals.  While critics did not laud her writings as very good literature, it was said that through all her works “A sweet spirit utters itself … “ and “hallowed by sound doctrine and fervent devotion.”


She had every reason to be a bitter, unhappy person — but apparently was anything BUT …

She was a benefactor to those less fortunate

   She taught church school 

       She had a “liberal hand and a large heart” 

            She helped charities of the parish with “spontaneous generosity”

                Her purse was “ever open, unasked” to every good work of which she heard 

                    Though suffering herself, she became the joyful center of her household 

                         She was an adviser and counselor to all — cheerful, despite pain 

                              And always SO grateful for any act of kindness 


She died in 1880 at age 59.  I am guessing she would be shocked to learn that she was being remembered in 2024 in North Madison, Connecticut, USA.  BUT — when we live lives of kindness, gratitude, joy and LOVE, the ripple effects are never ending!  

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