Mary Watson

Tithing Envelope

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Priesthood Blessing

Long years ago, when I served as a bishop, I received notification that Mary Watson, a member of my ward, was a patient in the County Hospital.  When I went to visit her, I discovered her in a large room with so many beds that it was difficult to single her out.  As I identified her bed and approached her, I said, "Hello, Mary."

She replied, "Hello, Bishop."

I noticed that a patient in the bed next to Mary Watson covered her face with the bed sheet.

I gave Mary Watson a blessing, we chatted, I shook her hand and said "Goodbye," but I could not leave her side.  It was as though an unseen hand were resting on my shoulder, and I felt within my soul that I was hearing these words:  "Go over to the next bed where the little lady covered her face when you came in."  I did so.  I have learned in my life never to postpone a prompting.

I approached the bedside of the other patient, gently tapped her shoulder and carefully pulled back the sheet which had covered her face.  Lo and behold!  She, too, was a member of my ward.  I had not known she was a patient in the hospital.  Her name was Kathleen McKee.  When her eyes met mine, she exclaimed through her tears, "Oh, Bishop, when you entered that door, I felt you had come to see me and bless me in response to my prayers.  I was rejoicing inside to think that you would know I was here, but when you stopped at the other bed, my heart sank, and I knew that you had not come to see me."

I said to Kathleen McKee, "It does not matter that I didn't know you were here.  It is important, however, that our Heavenly Father knew and that you had prayed silently for a priesthood blessing.  It was He who prompted me to intrude on your privacy."

A blessing was given, a prayer was answered.  I bestowed a kiss on her forehead and left the hospital with gratitude in my heart for the promptings of the spirit.  It would be the last time I was to see Kathleen McKee in mortality--but not the last time I heard from her.

Upon her death, the hospital called with this message: "Bishop Monson, Kathleen McKee died tonight.  She made arrangements that we were to notify you, should she pass away.  She left for you a key to her basement apartment."

Kathleen McKee had no immediate family.  With my sweet wife accompanying me, I visited her humble apartment.  I turned the key in the door, opened it and switched on the light.  There in her immaculate two-room apartment, I saw a small table with a note resting beneath an Alka Seltzer bottle. The note, written in her own hand, said, "Bishop, my tithing is in this envelope, and the Alka Seltzer bottle contains coins covering my fast offering.  I am square with the Lord." The receipts were written.

The sweetness of the night has not been forgotten.  Tears of gratitude to God filled my very soul.

This personal experience was shared by President Monson in General Conference, Oct. 1996