Angel of God
Extras from the Summer 2020 Issue

Many years ago, my husband and I made a consecration to our guardian angels through a religious order called Opus Angelorum. We prepared for a year. Father would send us study materials every month, and we listened to a lot of talks on our guardian angels and the work of the Holy Angels.

Since the time of study and consecration, we are more aware of the work of our guardian angels in our lives. I collaborate with my guardian angels in the raising of my children; just realizing that we are in the company of the holy angels is enough to have me striving to be a better wife and mother.

I tend to ask my angel to help me quite often. Right when we get in the car before travel, we ask the guardians to be with us and protect us. If someone in our family is dying, I send my angel and even my kids’ angels to be with the dying, or those we know in the ICU or with coronavirus. I ask my angel to go to holy Mass for me. I ask my angel to help me in so many ways, even in some cases where someone is missing. I have sent my angel to help in very critical situations and, so far, those situations do become quickly resolved.

I also have learned to give credit where credit is due. I have seven kids and run a large household. Days before the coronavirus hit, I went on a massive food shopping spree for no reason, sort of out of the blue, and had every fridge and freezer full. Then the virus hit, and the grocery stores became mad houses, but we were already set. I give the credit to my guardian angel.

With a household of nine—that’s a total of 18 persons in our home, counting our angels—that really is a lot of supernatural power. We need to be open to their work in our lives each and every day. Time and time again, we ask our angels to bless us and show us the way. I think the more my kids are aware of that, the more we grow in holiness.

—Marthie (Moran ’94) Baker

If I need to wake up at a particular time—catching a flight, making it to First Friday Mass—I will ask my guardian angel to wake me up at the correct time. (I do not stipulate a time.) I always wake up at the perfect moment—not early, not late—to get out the door on time and without a rush, even when children are involved. In fact, I sleep more soundly on nights when I do this than on nights when I set an alarm, having learned that my guardian angel is more reliable than an alarm clock.

—Laura (Seefeld ’04) Ustanovsky

Ever since our first son was born, we knew it was important to practice family bedtime prayers. As a young child, I had a major heart surgery, which left me anxious and restless at night from night terrors. Once my mom and dad instituted a special prayer to my guardian angel for protection, those night terrors slowly but surely evolved out of my life.

With our newborn, we began to develop a habit of praying the “Angel of God” prayer before bed. I pray that, as our children grow, the simplicity of that prayer reminds them that, since the beginning of time, they have had a special guardian specifically interceding for and protecting them.

—Abby (Lucy ’16) Bettencourt

We were traveling back from Lourdes, where we had just served during a 10-day break in autumn of 2013. We were exhausted but awake since we had to switch trains in Munich. We grabbed our bags and got off the train, ready for this leg of the journey to be over.

As we looked around in confusion, we realized that we were at a small station in the middle of nowhere Germany with no one around; in other words, we were not in Munich, where we were supposed to meet up with our friends.

We scrambled to find a schedule at this deserted station in the wee hours of the morning when a man appeared out of nowhere and started walking toward us. He asked where we were going. I explained that our panic was because we had tickets departing from Munich. The man directed us to go down and around to the platform where a train en route to Munich would pass by in a few minutes.

I turned around to express my gratitude, but he was gone, simply gone. It was so open that he could not have disappeared behind anything.  He had simply disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. Astonished, we moved over to the next track where a train appeared and took us to Munich.

—Christina Schmitz ’16

My life has been changed forever because of God’s extraordinary gift of angels. I have always had an interest in learning about angels and talking to my guardian angel. So, while attending a Steubenville conference in high school, I prayed for the grace to see my angel. I was praying with my eyes closed, and when I opened them, I saw my angel standing in front of me holding my face and telling me, “I’m here! And I love you!”

The love I felt in that moment was overwhelming and indescribable. When I reflect on that experience, it amazes me that the love my angel shows me is only a fraction of the love God has for us. He loves us so much that he created special friends to be with us forever and share in our lives in a unique and real way.

My friendship with God’s angels has grown so much through reflecting on the amazing gift God has given us to be able to call on the angels and receive their help and friendship at any time. I know I am never alone because, at any time, there are many angels watching over me! They are able to be by my side in a more physical way than when I ask the saints in heaven to pray for me, because angels are made to be our companions throughout life.

To me, this is one of the greatest expressions of God’s love for us. He not only created a beautiful earth for us to live in with other humans and animals to keep us company, but he also thought we were so special that we should have heavenly companions as well.

—Rachel Rander ’18

There is not a single Steubenville student who does not look forward to (or at least desire) spending a semester abroad in Austria. Each one of us tends to arrive filled to the brim with dreams and expectations. The Spring of 2016 came, and I eagerly boarded my plane to Vienna. Per usual, Gaming professors offered their advice. Professor Schofield stated her piece: Under no circumstances should one jump from the “top of the creek.” I nodded as many others did, but this nod did not demonstrate an interior resolve.

After an ultimate frisbee match, many decided to celebrate by creek-jumping. Never having seen a jump or done one, I copied the jumps of those around me. . . from the “top.” Filled to the brim with hesitation, I distinctly heard: “If you jump you will (1) end up like the girl whose feet were crushed by jumping and (2) you will not go to Ireland on Monday for 10-Day.” I casted away that fear.

Moments later, I broke my heel and spent the rest of the semester in a plaster cast. It would be 6 months until I could walk properly.

Breaking my heel shaped my soul incredibly. I regretted it for days, but then I came to the firm decision to embrace it as an opportunity for joy. But I do believe my guardian angel could feel the pain I was about to experience. I have only heard his voice twice in my life, and this was one of them. I believe he suffers when I feel pain, and I am sure he was trying to help me avoid unnecessary trauma.

The Lord does not coddle us, but there are also moments when our own imprudence causes more damage to ourselves than I think he would allow.

—Giorgina Heanue ’17

I remember this happening while I was at Franciscan, I think. I was in a conversation with someone about how various saints had strong relationships with their guardian angels. I felt a sort of sorrow that, while I said a prayer to mine every night, I never gave it the thanks and attention it deserves for helping me through so many rough times.

At one point, someone in the conversation started talking about how some people, including saints, had found a name for their guardian angel through prayer. I was struck by this idea. After the conversation, I started praying and asked my guardian angel for its name.

Almost immediately, a name came to me, as if bobbing to the surface of a lake in my head: “Constance.” It was a name from a character in a book I had read as a child. It is hard to explain, but the profundity of that moment in my heart unveiled the truly personal reality of my guardian angel, and in that moment, I felt its joy.

Ever since, I have prayed to my guardian angel by name, have thanked it frequently by name, and have asked for its help by name in times of distress.

—Deacon Peter Grodi ’13

I don’t have a long and grandiose story, but it is my job in online enrollment to get people to where they need to go. I pray to the angels every day, and I often find myself remembering key details on how to get students to where they need to go at random times throughout the day. I will be thinking about something else and then it just hits me!

I think it is a good reminder for me that my guardian angel and all of the angels are always there to help me get to where I need to go—heaven! May Mary, the Queen of the Angels, intercede that as many souls may get there as possible!

—Tom Weishaar

I haven’t encountered an angel myself, but an angel was the reason I was baptized.

I was baptized at the age of two, which is a weird age to be baptized for a cradle Catholic. My mom and dad were both cradle Catholics as well, but they weren’t that into their faith before I was born. My mom knew that, at baptism, she had to promise to raise me as a Catholic and wasn’t sure if she could make that promise. So, she waited to get me baptized.

One night, in a dream, an angel appeared to her and told her she needed to baptize me. She woke up and immediately told my dad, “We need to get Patrick baptized!”

He was half asleep, so he just nodded and said, “Sure, we’ll talk to the priest.” But my mom said, “No, we gotta get him baptized, like tomorrow.”

I don’t know if it was my guardian angel or hers, but that angel helped me receive the grace of baptism.

—Patrick Neve ’19

When my son was about five and having trouble sleeping on his own, I would often sleep with him to help him get some rest. One night he went to bed healthy and fine and I was, as usual, next to him. We both fell asleep.

Hours later, late at night, I was woken up, gently, by a voice I can only describe as sweet—not male, not female; I have never been able to describe it, but sweet, like a child, though not a child.

The voice said my name twice. I figured something must be wrong, and I knew I heard that voice. It wasn’t a dream since I had started to wake up, as I say gently, and then heard the voice clearly.

Looking around the house all seemed well. I was baffled. About two minutes after getting back into my son’s bed, he threw up while sleeping on his stomach, but he didn’t stir. It took me at least a whole minute of pushing and shaking and calling him to wake him.

If that voice—which I am sure was my guardian angel—had not woken me up, my son would have aspirated the vomit and been either seriously injured or killed. I never would have known he was sick, as he made no noise that would have alerted me something was wrong. My angel saved his life.

This same voice woke me up another time, in the night, saying my name twice. This time my daughter, who was about four, was falling off her bed, headfirst. I put her back in bed, but had she slid another few inches she would have fallen and seriously injured her neck. I’ve not heard him since. This was about 13 years ago now.

—Keith Berube ’98 MA ’15

In 1998, a week before my mother died, she was taken to the hospital. She was fragile and weak, and I had a difficult time accepting that my mother was going to die. I would sit in that hospital room watching her as life slowly withered away, praying the rosary and begging the Blessed Mother to help my mother.

After she passed, I went to the cemetery every day, praying for her, missing her. My heart was aching, and I still kept thinking, I should have done more.

A month went by, but my heart was still heavy. Then, one evening, in the middle of the night, I awoke and saw this brilliant white light. It came toward me and seemed to embrace me. It brought such peace and made me feel so good. In that moment, I felt that I had done all I could for my mother, was loved, and could finally move on.

Looking back, I think it was my angel that said, “Enough mourning! Your mother is not suffering, but at peace. You were a good loving daughter. Now move on. She is with our Lord.”

—Danuta (Szwabowski ’67) Hartman

Having Michaelmas, Feast of the Archangels, as our wedding date was providential.  After shrinking away most of my life from cutesy angel piety that never felt authentic, I unintentionally neglected my relationship with angels, even my guardian angel. Excited, however, about our new archangel patrons, I became more intentional about building an authentic relationship with them.

I was fascinated to learn that many apparition sites of St. Michael existed and was fortunate to visit several of them. One day, admittedly a little skeptical at one site, I decided to be deeply attentive to him anyway. I recollected myself and started to pray the St. Michael Prayer, slowly and intentionally. All I got to was, “St. Michael, the Archangel” and then, bam!

I can’t really explain it, but I was somehow aware that I was in his presence, and his power was so overwhelming and awe-inspiring that I was suddenly frozen and speechless. All I could do was to be in awe. He felt huge, massive, powerful, like there was nothing or no one that could get past him. He was fiercely in complete control, and he had my back. Then the thought came to me, “Why would I ever feel afraid when I know I have St. Michael?”

I stayed in that space of awe and gratitude for as long as I could, then finished the prayer, but I felt bad for the times I neglected my guardian angel. To him I said, “I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you!” Not expecting anything, I suddenly felt a totally different presence, a smaller, closer to human size companion gently come beside me and envelope me as though wrapping me in a cloak. His presence was a gentle, comforting arm of protection.

Both were incredible experiences of God’s loving providence for me.

—Renata Grzan MA ’97

When I was five, I was enjoying our annual family vacation at my grandparent’s cottage. I was playing on the bed and fell off from a height. As I started to fall, I realized that I was going to smash my head on the baseboard heater, but suddenly I felt arms around me.

I looked up and saw my guardian angel’s beautiful face. His body appeared to be made of pure light and, even though it was a sunny summer morning, the rest of the room looked dark in comparison. He gently lowered me to the floor, so that I was safe and sound, and then disappeared.

—Sister Marie Therese, SOLI