Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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Clarkston pre-schooler sends gift to Pope Benedict
Story and photo by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the June 14, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
Emma Watson (right) with her mother, Patty, and brother Noah. (IR photo)
Emma Thérèse Watson, who just completed a year of preschool at Clarkston’s Holy Family School, has had some high-level communications in the church.
Several months ago, Holy Family’s pastor, Father Thomas Connolly, informed the children at the school that he would be visiting Rome and the Vatican, where he would have some one-on-one time with Pope Benedict XVI. Father Connolly explained that he would be happy to deliver to the Holy Father any notes or letters the children would like to send with him.
At her young age, Emma Watson has had five heart surgeries, the first one right after her birth, to correct a birth defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome – which means that the left ventricle of the heart is either missing or very underdeveloped. Whether this has anything to do with her outlook on life, which includes affection for the saint for whom she was named, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is anyone’s guess.
Regardless, Emma decided not to send a note or letter to the pope. Instead, she asked Father Connolly to give the pope her only picture of her patron saint.
When Father Connolly had Emma’s picture delivered to Pope Benedict XVI, he also got a message to the Holy Father about the little girl’s challenging life, so far. A couple of months after Father Connolly returned to Clarkston, he received a letter from the office of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, which included these words: “His Holiness will remember little Emma in his prayers. Invoking upon you and her family joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ, he cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.”
“Emma was thrilled,” says her mom, Patty Watson. “But she’s humble and doesn’t know it. She thinks everybody gets a letter from the pope. She thought it was really neat, but not a big deal, like everybody gets a letter from the pope.”