French theologian and Catholic church leader Jean Charlier De Gerson, was born near Reims, France. He began studying theology in 1381, securing his doctorate in 1392. During the great papal schism (1378-1414). Gerson took part in the councils of Pisa (1409) and of Constance (1414-18)--which burned John Hus . He believed that a general council was superior to the pope, that a genuine reformation--starting with the papacy--of the church was necessary and that the Bible was the only source of authority of Christian knowledge. He spent his last years in a monastery at Lyons teaching children, composing hymns and writing books on Christian devotion.
Johannes E. Gossner was born in Hausen (near Augsburg), Germany. This German clergyman was a Catholic priest until 1826, when he became a Lutheran. In 1829 he began a pastorate at the Bethlehem Church in Berlin, remaining there 17 years. In 1842 he established the Gossner Foreign Missionary Society, which sent out over 140 missionaries during his lifetime, principally to the Khols of East India. Retiring from the pastorate in 1846, Gossner devoted his remaining 12 years to a hospital he founded.
Frances Ridley Havergal was born in Astley, England. She began writing verse for publication as early as age seven. Always in frail health, she was a fruitful writer, and even composed a number of hymn tunes. Among the many hymns she wrote are "Like a River Glorious," " "Take My Life and Let It Be" and "I Gave My Life for Thee."