In the past three decades, several studies have demonstrated that hymn-writing in the nineteenth century was an accessible literary genre by which English women could inscribe their spiritual experience, publish their theology, raise awareness about their social concerns, and minister to their fellow Christians.
However, research on the development of English women’s hymn-writing to date has focused on the works of Protestants and overlooked the contributions of Roman Catholics. This is perhaps not surprising in the context of the relatively late development in English Catholic hymnody (see below), which made it less visible than the longer traditions of the Protestants. Furthermore, for much of the nineteenth century — the golden age of hymn-singing in England
— Catholic hymnody did not fit into the Protestant model of congregational hymn-singing in church services. As Muir elucidates:
Nineteenth-century vernacular Catholic hymnody did not evolve in the same way. In the first place it was driven out of Mass and the Office and largely confined to outdoor processions and extra-liturgical services. The latter had a strong devotional streak, which militated against active congregational participation. As a result, for a long time hymns were often the preserve of the choir and treated like anthems and motets. It was only from the late nineteenth century that stronger efforts were made to develop a tradition of congregational hymn singing.