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“I Love to Tell the Story”
by A. Catherine Hankey (1834-1911)
When Catherine “Kate” Hankey passed away in 1911, many of her former Sunday School pupils – children she had taught 50 years earlier – travelled long distances to attend her funeral. That fact in and of itself speaks volumes as to the influence and impact one woman can have. 
Kate was born into the home of a wealthy English banker. Raised an Anglican, she nevertheless developed an earnest evangelical zeal. At the age of eighteen she started a Sunday School class for salesgirls. Kate would later begin to organize Sunday School classes for rich and poor throughout London. These classes had a strong influence in the city, with a large number of the young students in turn becoming zealous Christian workers.
In January of 1866, at the age of 31 Kate became quite ill and spent many months convalescing. During this recovery period, she wrote a lengthy poem on the life of Christ. The poem consisted of two main sections, each containing 50 verses. The first section of the poem was titled, “The Story Wanted” and was later adopted for another of Catherine Hankey’s familiar hymn texts, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story,” still widely sung today. Later that same year while recovering from her illness, Kate completed the second part of her poem titled, “The Story Told,” which became the basic part of “I Love To Tell the Story.” It has been said that any number of hymns could have been developed from the many verses she wrote.