57 Cents

This was sent to me by my friend Lenore.  I was reduced to tears and wanted to share it with you.  Most of this story is based on truth, and goes to show how powerful God is and what He can do with 57 CENTS.

A little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it was ‘too crowded.’  “I can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by.

Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class.  The child was so happy that they found room for her, and she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings.  Her parents called for the kindhearted pastor who had befriended their daughter to handle the final arrangements.

As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled red purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump.  Inside was found 57 cents and a note, scribbled in childish handwriting, which read: “This is to help build the little church bigger so more children can go to Sunday School.”

For two years she had saved for this offering of love.  When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do.  Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion.  He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.

But the story does not end there…

A newspaper learned of the story and published It.  It was read by a wealthy realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands.  When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered to sell it to the little church for 57 cents.  Church members made large donations.  Checks came from far and wide.  Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250, 000.00–a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century).  Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia , look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300.  And be sure to visit Temple University, where thousands of students are educated.  Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of beautiful children, built so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday School time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl hattie_may2 whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history.  Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor, Dr. Russell H. Conwell, author of the book, “Acres of Diamonds”. conwell

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of reward.

St. Theresa’s Prayer

May today there be peace within.
May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into our bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing and dance.  It is there for each and every one of you.

***********************************************************************************

FYI – I was looking for pictures of the little girl and the pastor and I came upon some additional information about the Hattie May story.  I did not feel it necessary to edit the contents of the story, so I am putting it here for your review.  Here is the website where I found the additional info – http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/h/hattiemaywiatt.htm

The story of a little girl who left 57-cents for a new church is true, but the version of the eRumor that is circulating has some details thrown in that are not.  The little girl’s 57-cents did inspire the efforts that resulted in the purchase of property and construction of buildings, but did not actually purchase the property outright.  A first-hand account of it is in a sermon delivered December 1, 1912 by Russell H. Conwell, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Philadelphia.  Rev. Conwell said the little girl’s name was Hattie May Wiatt.  She lived near a church where the Sunday School was very crowded and he told her that one day they would have buildings big enough to allow every one to attend who wanted to.  Later, Hattie May Wiatt became sick and died.  Rev. Conwell was asked to do the funeral and the girl’s mother told him that Hattie May had been saving money to help build a bigger church and gave him the little purse in which she had saved 57 cents.  Rev. Conwell had the 57 cents turned into 57 pennies, told the congregation the story of little Hattie May and sold the pennies for a return of about $250.  In addition, 54 of the original 57 pennies were returned to Rev. Conwell and he later put them up on display.  This was in 1886 when 57 cents was no small savings account for a little girl from a poor family.  Some of the members of the church formed what they called the Wiatt Mite Society which was dedicated to making Hattie May’s 57 cents grow as much as possible and to buy the property for the Primary Department of the Sunday school.  A house nearby was purchased with the $250 that Hattie May’s 57 cents had produced and the rest is history.  The first classes of Temple College, later Temple University, were held in that house.  It was later sold to allow Temple College to move and the growth of Temple, along with the founding of the Good Samaritan Hospital (Now the Temple University Hospital) have been powerful testimonies to Hattie May Wiatt’s dream.

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4 thoughts on “57 Cents

  1. I don’t know why people feel the need to elaborate or alter stories like this – the actual events were heartwarming and inspiring just as they were – they didn’t need to add more to create a “tear factor”. We live in such a “Hollywood” world today.

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