A priest in a country town in Victoria, Australia, related this story to the members of the Legion of Mary. He told them of his experience regarding the power of the three Hail Mary's.

One evening I was called to the local hospital to see a dying patient. Arriving at the hospital I recognized this patient because I had known him as a Freemason. Perplexed I asked why he had called and he answered "because I am a Catholic". He stated that even though he had not practiced his faith for many years, and that during his life he had been a very active member or the Masonic movement, he had never forgotten his prayers taught to him by his mother. "During my life I have never failed to pray the three Hail Mary's, regardless of what happened in any day or where I might have been."

This all came to me as a big surprise , but I thanked God for His saving power. I checked the surrounding beds and saw a man in the next bed asleep, so I pulled the curtains closed and sat down while he and I talked in private. I heard the man's confession and together we prayed and thanked God for his goodness to all sinners. I anointed him and he received Holy Communion which gave him a great peace. The following day we talked and prayed again and for the second time in many years, he received Holy Communion.

That was the last time I saw him alive and he was buried from the parish church.

Some years later I was called to the same hospital during the night. This time I fronted a man I did not know. As this was only a small town I thought he could be a visitor, so I asked him.

The man told me that he was not a visitor and in fact was not even a Catholic. He related to me that he had heard me talking to another patient in the hospital a couple of years ago. He had never forgotten. He admitted to me that he was not asleep as I had thought, and had listened to our conversation. His request was simple. "Please, Father, I would like the same as you did for the other man that night some years ago."

I looked in amazement. I did not doubt the sincerity of this man in the bed here in front of me. I sat down and we talked for a short time. I instructed him in the faith and tested his reasoning. The man received his Baptism and his First Holy Communion. I stayed with him for a while praying for him and with him, and he was in great peace. He looked at me with a love I had never known, and have not experienced since.

Source: Apostles of Mary, Journal of the Servants of Mary help of Christians.