common theme in urban legendry is the thought that great things often come
from meager beginnings - that those who seem to have little or no material
wealth can build empires of gold.
This is one of those tales, but unlike
the others, this one is true. This
is an inspiring true story of
a little girl who left 57-cents that did inspire the efforts that resulted
in the purchase of property and construction of buildings for a bigger
church, school, hospital etc. Truly,
God works in very mysterious ways.
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.
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.
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.
This is a true story, which goes to show what God can do with 57 cents.
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... St. Theresa