Kittie Suffield, an accidental tourist

Kittie Jennett, born in 1884, while a teenager, aspired to be a concert artist as a coloratura soprano or a pianist, for she was a talented musician and singer. Meanwhile, one winter day, this New York City native was traveling by train in Canada when the train was stalled by a blizzard. All the passengers were freezing. The conductor trudged through the storm when he came upon a house. He pounded on the door and Fred Suffield answered. Fred allowed the passengers to stay with him. Kittie later wrote him a thank you note. Fred responded, she responded, and so the correspondence continued. This led to romance, marriage, and the end of a hoped for career and fame as a singer and pianist. . . but only for a brief time.

Some time later, they attended a church in Ottawa pastored by A.J. Shea, and they were compelled by the spirit to become traveling evangelists. One summer, they hosted A.J.’s son, George Beverly, for a month in Westport, Ontario while holding evangelistic meetings. During his stay one night, George tried to sing, but his voice cracked. Kittie, the pianist, lowered the key and he sang beautifully from then on. She is known as the encourager and initiator of George Beverly Shea’s famous career as a singer, most notably for Billy Graham’s organization.

Kittie’s best known hymn is “Little Is Much When God Is in It” written in 1924. The refrain, which says “Little is much when God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There’s a crown and you can win it, if you go in Jesus’ name” reflects her own experience forsaking possible fame as a singer and pianist for her work as an evangelist and hymn writer.

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