Army Archives

“I Want to Say a Word”

Catherine Booth, along with her husband William, co-founded The Salvation Army. by Captain Charles Smith

If Catherine Booth were alive today, she would be 194 years old. When contemplating the kind of life she lived and the legacy that she has left behind, some of her greatest achievements are found in her writings and in the origins of cofounding The Christian Mission and The Salvation Army. 

Besides being a wife and mother to eight children, Catherine was a proficient preacher (having spoken to several large groups) and a prolific author (having penned 10 books).

It was when her husband William was speaking in January of 1860 at a meeting in Bethesda that Catherine felt the urging of the Holy Spirit to stand up and speak a word, as she called it, “in season for the Lord.” She wrestled for a moment with the Lord, saying she couldn’t, but He reminded her of her childhood promise that she would always obey Him, at any cost. She later said, “I stood—God only knows how—and if any mortal ever did hang onto the arm of Omnipotence, I did at that moment.”  

Catherine went toward the pulpit, just as William was finishing the service. As he saw her, he said, “What is the matter, my dear?” She replied, “I want to say a word.” And what a word it was! Catherine spoke about how she had been disobedient for some years for not speaking for the Lord. The congregation of about 1,000 people were moved and many promised to the Lord to be obedient in the future. 

I wonder what promises we have made to God that we need to fulfill, knowing that the Lord remains faithful. Only He can help us in our own discouragement and defeat to have the victory! 

Photo courtesy of The Salvation Army National Archives

ALL Articles