Birthdays on January 17
Frederick III "the wise," elector of Saxony, was born near Leipzig, Germany. It was Frederick's sense of justice that led him to protect Luther from his opponents in Rome. While protecting Luther, Frederick became sympathetic to his doctrines, but remained a Roman Catholic. He refused the Imperial crown, although he administered the empire.
Birth of Catherine Mumford in Ashbourne, England. A frail child, she left school at 14 because a severe spinal complaint forced her to spend most of her youth flat on her back. She was a brilliant student, however, and her illness did not prevent her from studying theology, history, geography, and philosophy. As the wife of William Booth, Catherine contributed many ideas to The Salvation Army and was the designer of the flag and the famous poke bonnet. Most important, she must receive credit for the full equality women enjoy in The Salvation Army. When she was 59, Catherine was told that she was suffering from cancer and had only two years to live. She preached her last sermon on June 21, 1888, and then retired to her home at Hadley Wood, near London, where, despite severe pain, she continued to discuss Salvation Army affairs and encourage her many visitors.