Message from Beyond

But all God’s angels come to us disguised

~James Russell Lowell~

Sister Mary Dolores Kazmierczak was planning the trip of a lifetime: Rome, then on to Poland. Her elderly father wanted to accompany her, but Sister Mary Dolores was unwilling to extend the invitation. “First, my mother wouldn’t fly, and because one of them never went anywhere without the other, I didn’t think Dad would be happy on a trip without her,” she explained. The second reason was more awkward. Mr. Kazmierczak had a physical disorder that caused him to lose his equilibrium. This shakiness would come on without warning. How, Sister Mary Dolores wondered, would she manage him on an extensive trip? What if he fell and hurt himself? Her decision was logical, she knew, but she still felt guilty.

However, two months before the trip, in May 1979, Mrs. Kazmierczak died. Now Sister Mary Dolores’s father was terribly lonely, and Mary’s feelings of guilt worsened. Her father would so enjoy traveling. But her reluctant answer was still no. Taking him anywhere would be too risky. A few days before she was to leave for Europe, Sister Mary Dolores and her father visited Mrs. Kazmierczak’s grave at Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City, Illinois. On their way home, they passed a small roadside produce stand. It looked deserted, but Mr. Kazmierczak wanted some fruit, so they pulled in to see if anyone was there. Two men were running the stand. One, wearing a blue shirt, was behind the counter; the other, in brown pants and a hat, was arranging the tables. Sister Mary Dolores and her father were the only customers there, and none of the four exchanged any comments or greetings. Mr. Kazmierczak wandered around looking at the displays while Sister Mary Dolores, keeping him in view as always lest he lose his balance, selected some produce. She gave her money to the blue-shirted worker at the cash register, then started toward her father, just a few feet away. It was then that the man in the hat approached her. “It’s okay to take your dad on the trip,” he told her without any preamble. “What trip?” What was he talking about? “The trip you’re going on,” the man replied. “I just spoke with your mother, and she said it was okay to take your dad. Nothing bad will happen to him.” “How could you have spoken to my mother?” Sister Mary Dolores demanded. “She died this past May.” “Yes, I know,” he said. Sister Mary Dolores looked around in astonishment. She and her father were still the only customers in view. Had her father complained to the man that he was being left behind? Yet the lot was so small—surely she would have seen or overheard a conversation. She could confront her father in front of the stranger, but Dad might be embarrassed or upset. It was better to wait until they were alone. “Well . . . thank you,” she said to the man, who was still standing calmly in front of her,and then she hurried her father to the car. Once they were on the highway, she broached the subject. “Dad, what did you say to the man at the fruit stand?” “I didn’t talk to him,” Mr. Kazmierczak said. “You paid him.” “I’m not talking about the man at the cash register, Dad. It was the other one, in the hat.” “But . . .” Her father looked troubled. “I didn’t see a second person. There was only the one man in the blue shirt, behind the counter.” “You saw me talking to the second man. You must have—you were right there the whole time, just a few feet away.” “But I didn’t. There wasn’t anyone else there.” Sister Mary Dolores stopped talking. She didn’t want to upset her father. And slowly she was realizing that something supernatural had just taken place.

During subsequent summers Sister Mary Dolores took her father with her on airplane and auto trips to Arizona and all through the state of Michigan—and he never had a fall. He thrived on the change of scenery and died a fulfilled man at age ninety-two.“I never worried after the incident at the fruit stand,” Sister Mary Dolores said. She knew her mother was looking out for both of them and had sent an angel to tell them so.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk~

Special Delivery

For God will deign

To visit oft the dwellings of just men

Delighted and with frequent intercourse

Thither will send his winged messengers

On errands of supernatural Grace

~Milton,Paradise Lost

One Sunday morning Kenneth and his wife Suzie found themselves without a penny.Suzie decided to pray and pray very specifically.”God,I need five pounds of potatoes,two pounds of pastry flour,apples,pears,a cauliflower,carrots,veal cutlets for Saturday and beef for Sunday.”,she said.

A few hours later,someone knocked on the door.Suzie opened it to a man carrying a basket of groceries.The man,between thirty and forty years old,was over 6 feet tall and strong looking,with blue eyes,white blond hair,and a long blue apron over his work clothes.He seemed radiant,glowing.”Mrs.Ware”,he said,”I’m bringing you what you asked for.”

“There must be some mistake,”Suzie protested,bewildered.”I have not ordered anything.”She called Kenneth.

Kenneth did not think the man looked like an ordinary delivery man.Perhaps he was the owner Perhaps he was the owner of a firm and had gotten the apartment numbers mixed up.”There are twenty five apartments,here,Sir.Have you come to the wrong one?”he asked.

The man ignored the question.”Mrs.Ware”,he repeated,”I am bringing you what you asked for”.Then he went into the kitchen and emptied the basket.On the table were the exact items Suzie had requested from God that morning—-even the two pounds of pastry flour was the correct brand.The Wares were shocked.”I turned to apologize,to explain I hadn’t a coin to give him,but his look of reproach sealed my lips,”Kenneth reported.

Suzie accompanied the man to the door and thanked him;then the couple stood by the window to watch him leave the building via the only route available.But though Kenneth watched,and Suzie opened the door again to check the hallway,the man never went by.

Kenneth always maintained he would recognize the delivery man anywhere if he saw Him again.He never did.But Kenneth and Suzie were filled with gratitude to the God who would send a personal shopper to fill their needs.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk”

Angels on Guard

Angels On Guard

And Elisha prayed,”O Lord open his eyes that he may see”.Then the Lord opened the servant’ eyes,and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of Fire all around Elisha.

~2 Kings 6:17~

Bill,his wife and their two children were vacationing at Big Bear Lake in California near Apple Valley.His wife was cooking on the open fire,and Bill took several photos of the family gathered around it.Then he read the Bible,asking God to protect them and give them a safe vacation.In a moment,however,their peaceful surroundings were shattered by six men on motorcycles,who seemed to roar out of nowhere.One pulled a gun demanding that the stunned family put their billfolds and purses on the ground.Terrified,they did so,and Bill in his haste,dropped his camera, too.

All of a sudden as quickly as they came,the men seemed to be stricken with fright.Leaving the family’s belongings on the ground,they turned,ran for their motorcycles,and sped off.Why had they gone so suddenly,leaving behind the items they intended to steal?

Confused but relieved,Bill’s family gave thanks to God for sparing them from a terrible ordeal,then went on to enjoy the rest of their vacation.It was not until they arrived home and had their phones developed that they saw what the bikers had apparantly seen that night.

One of the photos clearly shows the form of a white clad angel patiently standing watch over the family as they sat around the fire.


Myra worked for a Teen Challenge Christian Ministry and since it was located in a rough part of the inner city,she was concerned for the teens who had shown interest in receiving Christian counsel.It was difficult for them to visit the center because on the streets just outside,a group from one of the local gangs reportedly harassed them.For a short while each evening,Myra was alone at the center,and the gang bothered her as well,banging on the door and shouting obscenities.

One night when the gang appeared,Myra suddenly inspired to tell them about Jesus.Knowing the danger,she first prayed for guidance.Yes she felt sure she had heard the Lord correctly.She opened the door and walked outside.

The gang moved around her,and keeping her voice steady,she spoke to them about Jesus.

Instead of listening to her,however the gang shouted threats of drowning her in the nearby river.Trying to appear calm,Myra walked back through the door of the center and shut it.They didn’t follow her.

The next evening the thugs were back,once again banging on the door and threatening her life.Still believing she should try and reach out to them,Myra breathed a prayer to Jesus.”Lord,let your angels come with me and protect me”,she murmured.

Then she opened the door and was about to speak when the gang members suddenly stopped their shouting,turned to one another and left silently and quickly.Myra was surprised.Why had they gone?

The gang did not return for several days.Then one afternoon,to the surprise of everyone,they entered the center in an orderly fashion.Much later,after a relationship of trust had been built with them,Louis Torres the owner of the center asked them what had made them drop their threats against Myra and leave so peacefully that night.

One young man spoke up.”We wouldn’t dare touch her after her boyfriend showed up.That dude had to be seven feet tall”.

“I didn’t know Myra had a boyfriend,” replied Louis thoughtfully.”But at any rate she was alone here that night”.

“No,we saw him”,insisted another gang member.”He was right behind her”.

“He was big as life in his classy white suit”.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk” by Joan Wester Anderson~

A Pat on the Back From God

The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us. ~Jean Paul Richter

It was January 1948 when young Father Anthony Zimmerman arrived as a freshly minted Catholic missionary priest at Yokohama port in Japan. He was the first of his order, the Society of the Divine Word, to journey from America after World War II had ended, but he would eventually be joined by many more, along with priests being sent out of China before the communists could catch up with them. Father Anthony still remembered how he felt when his feet touched the pier after riding riding the waves for twelve days. “I felt myself swaying,” he said, “and I watched as my 117 trunks of luggage were lined up for inspection.” Inside were many articles for the war-deprived missionaries: army-surplus shoes, winter underwear, jackets, canned goods, even a bicycle and tiny motorcycle. General Douglas MacArthur had given the word that missionaries were welcome in Japan, and his command apparently cut the red tape—Japanese tax officials gave only a cursory inspection to the luggage, and Father Anthony was waved on to start his new life in Japan. “The missionaries in our Tokyo house gave me a warm welcome that night,” Father Anthony recalled. “We went to chapel right away to thank God for the safe journey. I don’t remember whether I thanked my guardian angel specifically, but I usually kept in touch with him at morning and evening prayers, so I probably nodded to him then, too, asking that he accompany me during my future in Japan.” He went first to a mission in Tajimi, where he would study Japanese and teach English. Those were the days of food and fuel rationing, when Japanese families sold precious heirlooms at bargain prices to buy the necessities necessities of life. As they saw Americans helping them, giving them food and fuel and kind treatment, the environment slowly changed to mutual acceptance and tolerance. Yet living conditions were not comfortable. “Traveling took a long time, there was no flush plumbing, and we didn’t always like the food. When I once asked my superior what that terrible smell was, he answered, ‘Either it’s supper or the toilet.’” Father Anthony added that he commuted on rocky and deserted roads on a little putt-putt motorcycle. “Looking back, I think my guardian angel did not approve of all the risks I took, but I prayed to him daily and tried to keep him on my good side just in case.” By 1950, Father Anthony had relocated to Ehocho parish in Nagoya, but he still commuted to various sites to teach English, visit the hospitalized, and, if the Japanese people were willing, discuss the Christian message of healing and forgiveness.

On occasion he would make rounds at the Umemori sanitarium for terminally ill tuberculosis patients. It was in the spring of 1950, after a visit to that sanitarium, that something special happened.“After visiting with patients at Umemori, I packed everything into the jeep and started the drive back to Ehocho parish,” he recalled. “I was never good at finding roads, but I drove on anyway, expecting that somehow I would return safely. I was not particularly attentive, being lost in a reverie about the people I had just left.” He was thinking about how desolate they were. In war-ravaged Japan, funds for the care of terminally ill patients were limited. The wait before death was gloomy, bereft of joy and hope. But a few were grateful to be told of God’s love. For them, Father Anthony mused, his spirit still heavy at the sight of all that suffering, for them he could help open the gates of heaven. He was nearing a crossroad now but didn’t realize it was there. He was in a wooded area, trees and shrubs crowding to the road’s edge, and he saw only the continuous path of the road straight ahead. There was no stop sign, and he barreled the jeep onward to get home. Still deep in thought, Father Anthony felt a powerful jolt. The jeep, traveling swiftly forward, began to rock dangerously up and down and from side to side. It was like sitting on top of an earthquake. Was it an earthquake?earthquake? What was happening? Afraid of braking too hard and turning over, Father Anthony came slowly to a stop. And just in time. No more than fifteen yards ahead, an enormous truck came roaring from a side road that was hidden by the foliage and tore through the place where he would have been. “If we had collided, the truck would have totaled both the jeep and me,” he said. “Spontaneously, I looked to heaven to thank God. I relish the moment still.”

But what had gone wrong with the jeep? As his heart quieted from the near miss, he realized that he must have hit something large or, at the very least, blown a tire—a typical occurrence on those roads. Shakily, he got out to look. But there was nothing to see. The jeep seemed perfect—its tires were fine, and he saw no dents or scrapes. And the road was completely smooth, without a rock or obstruction anywhere. Frowning, Father Anthony got in again and started the engine. Flawless. As he pulled away, the jeep ran smoothly, with no hint of the shaking that had just taken place. There was nothing wrong with it, absolutely nothing. But something mighty had manhandled it and changed Father Anthony’s course. It was then that he realized what had happened and spoke to his guardian angel. “Sorry about that,” he said. “And thank you very much.”

Later Father Anthony learned that he was not the only priest to have been similarly graced. During that same period, a classmate, Father John, went routinely to a convent near Peking (now Beijing) to say Mass for the sisters there. He knew the route very well; it was a simple straight path. One morning he called a man with a pedicab to take him by that direct route. Peking was already surrounded by the communists, and the rumble of distant artillery could be heard. “Straight ahead,” Father John said to the man operating the pedicab. “No, sir!” the man said. Father John was used to bargaining, but this time it was different. The man had already started a roundabout route that would take fifteen minutes longer and cost more. “Straight ahead!” Father John again insisted. “No!” “You win.” Father John sat back in defeat as the pedicab began its circuitous and seemingly senseless journey.But the route had not been pointless. For as they traveled, a massive explosion ripped through the air and a bomb made a direct hit on the straight road where Father John would have been. Who can say whether the pedicab operator was an angel or simply inspired by one? But as both priests knew, angels take special care of missionaries. “What does it feel like at such a time?” Father Anthony asked. “It feels like a pat on the back from God, who says, ‘I know you’re here, and I like what you’re doing. I also have more work that I want you to do. So hang in there! But be more careful!’ One does not forget such a time and event.”

Father Anthony eventually earned a doctorate and taught in Japan. Later, retired, he wrote books on theology. “I suspect that in heaven, my guardian angel is going to tell me that he already knew all this was coming for me, and that is one of the reasons he made the jeep rock to keep me from being killed,” he said. “The episode is etched into my memory. It is a gift I will never forget.”

Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk” by Joan Wester Anderson

Angels on the Highway~6 Short Stories of Encounters With Our Greatest Friends 

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way . . .” 

–Exodus 23: 20 

One of the first things I noticed as I opened my mail was that my son Tim had plenty of company–many people seemed to meet angels when driving! When you consider how much trouble we can get into in traffic, it’s reasonable that our angels would be kept busy. For example, a minister’s wife told me of a trip she took across central Kentucky. On one two-lane stretch she found herself stuck behind a coal truck, and after carefully peeking around, she swung out to pass. Horrified, she saw a huge semi coming toward her. “The coal-truck driver saw my dilemma and inched over to the right as far as he could go,but there was not going to be enough space for three vehicles to pass, nor was there enough time for me to get back in my lane,” she recounted. Frozen, she waited for the inevitable crash. But as the truck approached her, it melted from view. Shocked, she moved back behind the coal truck, checking her rearview mirror. The semi wasn’t there. “There were five of us in the car,” she told me. “All of us saw the truck coming. None of us saw what happened to it.” 
Sharon W. (not her real name) doesn’t drive often, so when she set out one rainy evening for a coworker’s house, her roommate gave her explicit directions. But the rain turned to snow, and Sharon became nervous. She knew she didn’t have enough experience driving in rough Michigan weather. Traveling too fast through an intersection, Sharon tapped the brake, but her car skidded dangerously toward a light pole instead. “Oh, angels, help me!” she cried. Immediately the car righted itself. “It was as if it had actually been picked up and turned around,” she said. “I found myself myself on the right side of the street, heading in the right direction.” None the worse for wear, Sharon drove on to her destination. When she arrived home, Sharon told her roommate about the near miss. “I’m not surprised,” her friend replied. “After you left, I began worrying about you driving in this weather. So I sent my guardian angel to accompany you.” 
Bernadine Jones was driving north on a two-way street in Denver and approached an intersection where she could either continue on a straight path or go left into a curve. She was planning to turn left, but she was unfamiliar with the avenue, so when she heard a voice command her, “Slow down now!” she responded without thinking. Coming almost to a stop, Bernadine was astonished to see an oncoming car speed across the left-hand curve, just where she would have been had she not stepped on the brake. It was only later that Bernadine realized the voice had come from within her car. But she was alone.
Mae Warrick left the optometrist and walked toward her car. As she opened the front door, she heard a man’s voice say, “Fasten that seat belt!” Mae turned and looked back, expecting to see someone, but the street was deserted. Was someone playing a trick on her? Puzzled, she fastened the belt. She drove to her favorite highway cafe and started to turn left into the driveway. Too late, Mae realized that a truck was in the driveway and she couldn’t complete her turn. An oncoming car, unable to stop in time, plowed into Mae’s automobile. “Even with my seat belt on, I sustained a cracked rib and bruises,” said this eighty-year-old. “I wonder what shape I would have been in had I not obeyed my angel’s orders!”
 Janet Notte-Corrao obeyed orders, too, one night. She was sitting in the passenger seat next to her husband, their two children in the back. Janet was not really alarmed to hear a voice as the car went around a curve–she had heard her angel before. Although the message was not audible to the others, Janet heard: “Pray, Janet! There is a car coming that will hit you as you turn into your driveway. Pray!”As she heard the words, Janet also received a vision of the vehicle hitting her family’s car. Oh, God, she prayed, please surround our car with your heavenly host of angels! Janet’s husband was driving carefully. Without warning, there was the sound of screeching tires, and then a jolt as he slammed on the brakes. “I was still so deep in prayer that the motion was almost a surprise,” Janet said. “It thrust me forward–thanks to my seat belt, not through the windshield–but the cars hadn’t crashed. We were so close that their headlights were shining into our eyes.” Before Janet’s astonished husband could react, the other car sped off, as quickly as it had appeared. But her prayer had been answered. “There was just a tiny space between the two cars,” she noted with a smile. “A space the width of an angel.”
 Driving home on a Saint Louis freeway one rush hour, Andrew (not his real name) had almost reached his exit. Checking his mirrors, he began to move into the right-hand lane. But the steering wheel didn’t budge. What was happening? Andrew attempted to swerve again, but the wheel seemed stuck.He would have to force it in order to get off the freeway and find a service station right away. Trying not to panic, Andrew looked back to see what was behind him. Directly at his rear, in the blind spot, was a compact car. “It was too far back to be picked up by peripheral vision, too far forward to be seen in my rearview mirror. Had the steering not locked, I would have turned directly into the other vehicle, at fifty-five miles per hour.” Andrew braked a little, to let the other vehicle pass, before forcing his steering wheel to the right. But as soon as the little car went by, Andrew’s wheel responded normally. There was no reason to find a service station after all. Andrew drove the car another eighteen months, and later, his son and daughter-in-law drove it. No one found any abnormalities in the steering, or anything else.

Excerpts from “Where Angels Walk”

The Safety Inspector~A Testimony to Guardian Angels 

Jean had gone to a spa in the Ozarks with her sister Pat and two girlfriends, young adults enjoying a weekend of sunning and fun. Because Jean was the only one who knew how to swim, she decided on Saturday morning to venture into the lake. Her companions planned to stay on shore and work on their tans. “There were other people in the area,” Jean remembered, “but no one very close to our spot on the shore. There were no lifeguards patrolling this section of beach. As far as I knew, I was the only swimmer in the lake.” The sun was warm, the water refreshing, and time—and distance—passed more quickly than Jean had anticipated. At a point much farther from shore than she had thought—and where the lake was quite deep—Jean suddenly ran out of breath. Shocked, she realized that she did not have enough energy to get herself back to shore. She called and waved frantically, but she could hardly make out the tiny figures on the sand. And no one was looking her way. As her fear increased, Jean realized that she could drown. “God, help me! Help me!” she prayed aloud. Suddenly she saw something bobbing in the water to her left. A boat! It looked like an old abandoned canoe. If she could get to it, perhaps she could row it back. With the last of her energy, Jean paddled over to the boat, but her heart sank when she saw it. It was old, all right, without oars, and apparently chained or anchored in some way to something at the bottom of the lake. She could hold on for a moment, steady herself and catch her breath, and that was surely a blessing. But the respite was at best temporary. How long could she hang on before Pat and the others noticed her absence? Or would they simply assume she had come ashore on another stretch of beach, and not put out any alarm for her? What would happen when the sun’s rays began to burn her, or she became thirsty, or her arms, clutching the slippery sides, became tired? What if the old boat splintered under her weight? Jean started to cry. “Help!” she called again. “Somebody, help!” 

To her right, Jean suddenly heard splashing. She turned to see a man a few years older than she gliding easily through the waves, then treading water in front of her. “Hi,” he greeted her calmly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to be passing by. “Having trouble?” “I—I’m out of breath and can’t get back,” she answered, relief flooding her. “Where did you come from? I didn’t see anyone swimming—and I was certainly looking for help!” The young man shrugged casually. “Oh, I’m a safety inspector, and one of my jobs is saving lives in water, if I have to. Do you think you can swim back?” “Oh, no.” Jean shook her head. “I’m exhausted.” “Come on, you can do it!” The young inspector inspector smiled confidently. “I’ll swim beside you the whole way, until you reach shore. If you get in any trouble, I’ll hold you up.” “Well . . .” He seemed so confident. Maybe she could do it, especially if he was there to catch her if she faltered. Jean somehow summoned the energy to swim the entire distance. The safety inspector didn’t say much, but true to his word, he matched his strokes to hers and watched her carefully. 

In a final burst of power, Jean stumbled triumphantly onto the beach’s sandy shore. Pat and the others, still lounging on their blankets, looked at her as she splashed through the shallows. “What happened to you?” Pat called. “You’ve been gone such a long time.” “I almost drowned,” Jean panted, dragging herself toward them. “If it wasn’t for the lifeguard . . .” “What lifeguard?” Pat was looking past Jean. “The guard, the safety inspector who swam back with me.” Jean turned around to point to him. But there was no young man on the shore, no one swimming away in the lake, no one walking on the shoreline in either direction.Nor had Jean’s friends seen anyone accompanying her. Jean never saw her rescuer again, but she did discover that the resort didn’t have any lifeguards or “safety inspectors” on the payroll. Perhaps he was a guard of a different kind.

~Excerpt from “Where Angels Walk”~

Angels In The Frigid Cold 

It was just past midnight on December 24, 1983. The Midwest was shivering through a record-breaking cold spell, complete with gale-force winds and frozen water pipes. And although our suburban Chicago household was filled with the snug sounds of a family at rest, I couldn’t be a part of them, not until our twenty-one-year-old son pulled into the driveway. At the moment, Tim and his two roommates were driving home for Christmas, their first trip back since they had moved east last May. “Don’t worry, Mom,” Tim had reassured me over the phone the night before. “We’re going to leave before dawn tomorrow and drive straight through.We’ll be fine!” Kids. They do insane things. Under normal circumstances, I figured, a Connecticut-to-Illinois trek ought to take about eighteen hours. But the weather had turned so dangerously cold that radio reports warned against venturing outdoors, even for a few moments. And we had heard nothing from the travelers. Distressed, I pictured them on a desolate road. What if they ran into car problems or lost their way? And if they had been delayed, why hadn’t Tim phoned? (This was long before we had cell phones.) Restlessly I paced and prayed in the familiar shorthand all mothers know: God, send someone to help them. As I later learned, the trio had stopped briefly in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to deposit Don at his family home. Common sense suggested that Tim and Jim stay the rest of the night and resume their trek in the morning. But when does common sense prevail with invincible young adults? 

There were only four driving hours left to reach home. And although it was the coldest night in Midwestern history and the highways were snowy and deserted, the two had started out again.They had been traveling for only a few miles on a rural access road to the Indiana tollway when they noticed that the car’s engine seemed sluggish, lurching erratically and dying down to ten or fifteen miles per hour. Tim glanced uneasily at Jim. “Do not”—the radio announcer intoned—“ repeat, do not venture outside tonight, friends. There’s a record windchill of eighty below zero, which means that exposed skin will freeze in less than a minute.” The car surged suddenly, then coughed and slowed again. “Tim,” Jim spoke into the darkness, “we’re not going to stall here, are we?” “We can’t,” Tim answered grimly as he pumped the accelerator. “We’d die for sure.” But instead of picking up speed, the engine sputtered, chugged, and slowed again. About a mile later, at the top of a small incline, the car crawled to a frozen stop. Horrified, Tim and Jim looked at each other in the darkened interior. They could see across the fields in every direction, but, incredibly, theirs was the only vehicle in view. For the first time, they faced the fact that they were in enormous danger. There was no traffic, no refuge ahead, not even a farmhouse light blinking in the distance. It was as if they had landed on an alien, snow-covered planet. And the appalling, unbelievable cold! Never in Tim’s life had he experienced anything so intense. They couldn’t run for help; he knew that now for sure. He and Jim were young and strong, but even if shelter was only a short distance away, they couldn’t survive. The temperature would kill them in a matter of minutes. “Someone will come along soon,” Jim muttered, looking in every direction. “They’re bound to.” “I don’t think so,” Tim said. “You heard the radio. Everyone in the world is inside tonight—except us.” “Then what are we going to do?” “I don’t know.” Tim tried starting the engine again, but the ignition key clicked hopelessly in the silence. Bone-chilling cold had penetrated the car’s interior, and his feet were already growing numb. Well, God, he prayed, echoing my own distant plea. You’re the only one who can help us now. 

It seemed impossible to stay awake much longer. Then, as if they had already slipped into a dream, they saw headlights flashing at the car’s left rear. But that was impossible. For they had seen no twin pinpricks of light in the distance, no hopeful approach. Where had the vehicle come from? Had they already died? But no. For, miraculously, someone was knocking on the driver’s-side window. “Need to be pulled?” In disbelief they heard the muffled shout. But it was true. Their rescuer was driving a tow truck. “Yes! Oh, yes, thanks!” Quickly, the two conferred as the driver, saying nothing more, drove around to the front of the car and attached chains. If there were no garages open at this hour, they would ask him to take them back to Don’s house, where they could spend the rest of the night. Swathed almost completely in a furry parka, hood, and a scarf up to his eyes, the driver nodded at their request but said nothing more. They noted that he was calm as he climbed into his truck, seemingly unconcerned about the life-threatening circumstances in which he had found them. Strange that he’s not curious about us, Tim mused, and isn’t even explaining where he came from or how he managed to approach without our seeing him. And had there been lettering on the side of the truck? Tim hadn’t noticed any. He’s going to give us a big bill, on a night like this. I’ll have to borrow some money from Don or his dad. But Tim was exhausted from the ordeal, and gradually, as he leaned against the seat, his thoughts slipped away. They passed two locked service stations, stopped to alert Don from a pay phone, and were soon being towed back through the familiar Fort Wayne neighborhood. The streets were hushed, Christmas lights long since extinguished and families asleep. Still, Don’s street seemed the most welcoming they’d ever been on. The driver maneuvered carefully around the cul-de-sac and pulled up in front of Don’s house. Numb with cold, Tim and Jim raced to the side door where Don was waiting, then tumbled into the blessedly warm kitchen, safe at last. Don slammed the door against the icy blast. 

“Hey, what happened?” he began, but Tim interrupted. “The tow-truck driver, Don—I have to pay him. I need to borrow—” “Wait a minute.” Don frowned, looking past his friends through the window. “I don’t see any tow truck out there.” Tim and Jim turned around. There, parked alone at the curb, was Tim’s car. There had been no sound in the crystal-clear night of its release from the chains, no door slam, no chug of an engine pulling away. There had been no bill for Tim to pay, no receipt to sign, no farewell or “thank you” or “Merry Christmas.” Stunned, Tim raced back down the driveway to the curb, but there were no taillights disappearing in the distance, no engine noise echoing through the silent streets, nothing at all to mark the tow truck’s presence. Then Tim saw the tire tracks traced in the windblown snowdrifts. There was only one set of marks ringing the cul-de-sac curve. And they belonged to Tim’s car.

~From “Where Angels Walk” by Joan Webster Anderson~

How Our Lady Saved St.John Paul II From Several Attempts On His Life 

On May 10 1981 just one day before Pope John Paul II was shot he toured the facilities of the Vatican medical center and met with staff members. After the visit, a physician asked John Paul II if he would bless their new ambulance. The Holy Father did so with holy water and said, “I also bless the first person who will use this ambulance.” John Paul became the recipient of his own blessing, because he was the first patient to need it. 

May 13 was a typical Wednesday for John Paul II as he descended to Saint Peter’s Square to participate in his weekly papal audiences.He climbed aboard the Popemobile and crisscrossed through Saint Peter’s Square, kissing babies and blessing the 20,000 pilgrims who had gathered to see him. At 5: 17 P.M., moments after blessing a two-year-old girl and handing her back to her elated parents, blasts from a 9mm semiautomatic pistol rang out. Pigeons throughout the square scattered skyward as John Paul fell backward into the arms of his secretary, Monsignor Dziwisz. One bullet fractured two bones in his left index finger and passed through his abdomen before exiting through his sacrum and coming to rest in the Popemobile. Another bullet grazed his right arm, and two American women in the crowd were injured.After the gunshots were fired, the Popemobile fled the scene and John Paul was transferred into the familiar ambulance. Dziwisz climbed beside him and could hear him praying, “O Maria, Madonna! Maria, Madonna!Madonna! [O Mary, my Mother].”

In Saint Peter’s Square, as the faithful were praying for his survival, a group of Polish pilgrims took an icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa and placed it beside the empty seat that the Holy Father would have sat upon during his audience. A gust of wind blew it over, and a bystander noticed the inscription on the back of the image, which had been written days or weeks earlier: “May Our Lady protect the Holy Father from Evil.” The ambulance sped through the streets of Rome, honking desperately because the siren had failed shortly after leaving the Vatican. The Pope was losing a great deal of blood, but managed to stay conscious until his arrival at the Gemelli Hospital. Because he was now in critical condition and unconscious, he was given last rites and surgery was performed. Thankfully, a surgical room had been prepared and most of the staff was already in place because an Italian soccer player had been scheduled for an operation—which could now afford to wait. The surgeon, Professor Francesco Crucitti, rushed from across town and began the operation. He discovered severe internal bleeding due to a perforated colon and five wounds to the intestines. After making the initial incision, he noted, “I saw blood everywhere. There were some six pints of blood in the abdomen.” Considering that the average adult male only has ten pints of blood, the medical team feared the worst, later admitting that they did not believe the Pope would survive. John Paul, however, said that after he was shot, he had a premonition that the wound would not be fatal. After sponging up the blood, the doctors noticed that the path of the bullet missed the aorta by millimeters, which would have meant certain death. After a blood transfusion and five hours of surgery, the Holy Father’s condition stabilized. He woke up early the next morning with a broken tooth, a result of the hasty administration of anesthesia. He took a brief rest, and then upon awaking again, wanted to ask something but was wearing a mask. Dziwisz lifted it, and because John Paul thought it was still the previous day, asked if they had recited Compline (night prayer) yet.

John Paul remained hospitalized at Gemelli for three weeks before returning to the Vatican. However, two weeks after his homecoming, his condition worsened and he returned to the hospital to receive treatment for a cytomegalovirus infection that had been caused by a tainted blood transfusion. For the next fifty-six days, he lived at Gemelli under the watchful care of a team of zealous physicians. John Paul was eager to return to the Vatican, but remained in good spirits about needing to negotiate with those who wanted to make medical decisions on his behalf. Across the hall from his room was a meeting space where the doctors would convene to discuss his treatment. He playfully referred to the gathering as “the Sanhedrin.” He would inquire, “What did the Sanhedrin say to-day?” In time, his infection cleared, but a second surgery was required to repair the colostomy that had been performed because of the damage the bullet inflicted on his digestive system. The doctors wanted to postpone the operation until October, but he insisted that he was well enough to endure it. He met with them and gave them an impromptu half-hour speech about the proper relationship between a patient and his caregivers. During it, he gently reminded them that the patient must never be viewed as an object of treatment, but rather as the subject of his illness. He also reiterated the importance and necessity of dialogue between physicians and their patients. Whatever he said must have worked, because he set the date for his operation for August 5 (the feast of Our Lady of the Snows) and he was back home in the Vatican on the fourteenth, in time for the feast of Mary’s Assumption the following day.
Although John Paul forgave his assailant in the ambulance moments after being shot, he wanted to meet with Agça in prison to forgive him. The Pope made the trip to Rome’s Rebibbia Prison in December 1983 and spent more than three hours ministering to hundreds of prisoners. He did not learn much about Agça’s motives during their private conversation, which lasted more than twenty minutes. John Paul believed the assassin did not act independently, but was commissioned to carry out the act. He later wrote, “I think it was one of the final convulsions of the arrogant ideologies unleashed during the twentieth century.” But the would-be killer’s motive wasn’t the topic of their discussion. Instead, Agça was astonished that the Pope survived, because he knew the shot was mortal. Agça never apologized, but wanted only to know about the third part of the secret of Fatima. He asked, “I know I was aiming right. I know that the bullet was a killer. So why aren’t you dead?” John Paul knew the answer in his heart, which he had explained to others: “One hand shot, and another guided the bullet.” Agça was bewildered by whatever powers preserved the life of the Pope, and expressed fear that the “goddess of Fatima” would seek vengeance to “get rid of him.” John Paul allayed his fears and assured him that our Lady had forgiven him, too.

However, John Paul was disinterested in the details of the investigations into who may have plotted his demise. He said, “It doesn’t interest me; because it was the devil who did this thing. And the devil can conspire in a thousand ways, none of which interest me.” During his visit to Fatima in 1982, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of his assassination attempt, another attempt was made on his life, which wasn’t made public until after the Holy Father passed away in 2005. As he was walking toward the altar during a candlelight procession, a priest stabbed him with a bayonet. All papal biographies prior to 2005 state that the man “attempted” to stab the Holy Father, but none realized that he succeeded. John Paul didn’t appear to be wounded, and even turned to bless the man who attacked him, as security forces pulled the assailant away. The Holy Father finished the prayer service without others noticing his wound. After returning to his room after the event, his aides noticed the blood on his cassock. His attacker, Father Juan María Fernández Krohn of Spain, was an ultraconservative who opposed the reforms that were taking place within the Church after the Second Vatican Council and thought that John Paul was conspiring with communists to destroy the Church. He had been ordained in the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) but left the priesthood after the attack and was treated for mental illness. Despite this second attempt on the Pope’s life, he continued for more than two decades to walk among his people, refusing to live in fear.

The Holy Father had more brushes with death than most Catholics realize. Perhaps his first close encounter was during his youth when his thirteen-year-old friend Bogusław Banas jokingly picked up a revolver and aimed it at him, saying, “Hands up, or I’ll shoot!” Not knowing the firearm was loaded, he pulled the trigger. He recalled, “It was pointing straight at Karol, and it’s a marvel I didn’t kill him. The bullet missed him by a hair’s breadth and broke a window.” Following this incident, Wojtyła survived a gauntlet of threats to his life under the Nazi and communist occupations of Poland. Many years later, when he was told that Sarajevo was unsafe for him to visit, he replied, “If missionaries, bishops, and nuncios take risks, why shouldn’t the Pope take them, too?” His keepers wanted him at least to wear a bulletproof vest, but he declined. He added, “the shepherd always has to be in the middle of his flock, even at the cost of his own life.” When the Vatican security team encouraged him and everyone in his entourage to wear them on their trip to Nicaragua, he retorted, “If any in my entourage wish to wear a bulletproof vest, they need not accompany me on this visit. We are in the hands of God and we will be protected by Him.” In Pakistan, before the Pope arrived to celebrate Mass in 1981, a terrorist died when his bomb exploded prematurely at the entrance to the stadium,a bomb meant to end John Paul’s life.On two other occasions, men with knives were arrested while lying in wait for the Holy Father in crowds. Plots were also foiled in Venezuela, Austria, Italy, the Ivory Coast, and even Poland. 

One of the most significant papal assassination attempts was thwarted less than a week before the Pope landed in the Philippines to celebrate World Youth Day in 1995. On the evening of January 6, Manila police responded to a call to investigate a fire on the sixth floor of the Doña Josefa Apartments—less than a block from the papal nuncio’s residence, where John Paul was scheduled to stay. Smoke was billowing from the window and the residents reported an unusual scent. By the time the authorities arrived, the two tenants from Unit 603 had fled and the fire had subsided. When the police entered the apartment, they discovered that one of the residents had accidentally ignited the fire while mixing chemicals in the kitchen. The apartment was a live-in bomb factory in which investigators discovered sulfuric acid, nitroglycerin, and a host of other chemicals, along with wires, funnels, fuses, a pair of pipe bombs, and an Arabic manual for creating liquid bombs. They also found a Rosary, a crucifix, a Bible, a photo of John Paul, and maps of the routes on which he was soon to travel through the streets of Manila. A voicemail from a local tailor was left on the phone, saying that the cassock that was ordered was ready for a final fitting. However, the “intelligence gold mine” was the discovery of a laptop and four discs that were filled with elaborate terrorist plots and contact information. Altogether, the police confiscated enough evidence to fill three police vans. Thanks to the accidental fire, international terrorist experts were alerted to a three-phase plot, code-named “Bojinka.” It was reported that phase one was to have a bomber dressed in a priest’s cassock slip into the papal entourage and murder the Pope with a bomb on his way to the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City. Phase two was to be launched less than two weeks after the Pope’s assassination, when terrorists were scheduled to plant bombs on eleven flights from Asia to the United States. The devices were timed to detonate almost simultaneously over the Pacific Ocean, killing four thousand passengers. The final phase of the operation was for a terrorist to crash an airplane into CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. A former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Division called the plot, “Extraordinarily ambitious, very complicated to bring off, and probably unparalleled by other terrorist operations that we know of.” Unlike some of the other assassins who failed, those behind this operation were not amateurs. One of the two men who lived in the apartment was Abdul Hakim Murad, who created the bomb that detonated under the World Trade Center in 1993, injuring more than one thousand people. The other man was Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who planned the World Trade Center bombing. At the time of the 1995 papal assassination attempt,he was a fugitive with a $ 2 million bounty on his head. His uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who masterminded the September 11 attacks, also lived in Manila at the time and helped plan “Bojinka.” Most of the money to fund the operation was wired to a bank account owned by a man who worked for an Islamic organization run by Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law. Osama bin Laden said of the financier of the plot, Wali Khan Amin Shah, “He was nicknamed ‘The Lion.’ He is one of the best. We were good friends.” All the men were eventually captured and the terrorist plot to kill thousands was prevented. 

Nine days after the providential apartment fire, John Paul peacefully celebrated Mass in Manila with between five and seven million Filipinos. It would not be long before the Pope’s life would again be threatened. Two years later, as his plane was approaching the airport in Bosnia, NATO officials warned that it was dangerous to land. He insisted that the visit continue, and an F-16 fighter jet escorted him to the runway for protection. The Holy Father was informed that a bomb had been discovered under a bridge he was scheduled to drive over one hour later. The device had been assembled from more than fifty pounds of plastic explosive and twenty antitank mines. The Pope asked, “Are there people waiting for me?” “Yes.” “Then I will go.” Four years later, when the Holy Father visited Syria in 2001, an Islamic terrorist group planned to have a female suicide bomber throw herself at the Popemobile in Damascus, then nearby snipers were to open fire after the detonation. On the eve of the trip, the CIA informed the Vatican, who provided the information to Syria’s secret service to prevent the attack. 

Not surprisingly, John Paul had a strong devotion to his guardian angel—although it is fair to speculate that he probably had a legion of them! He said, “My Guardian Angel knows what I am doing. My faith in him, in his protective presence, continues to grow deeper and deeper.” Before deplaning in Turkey, a reporter asked him if he felt he was in danger. John Paul answered, “Love is stronger than danger.” He also spoke often of his absolute trust in the maternal protection of our Lady. Having read Saint Louis de Montfort’s classic True Devotion to Mary, he would have known that the great Marian saint promised that, “This powerful Queen of heaven would sooner dispatch millions of angels to help one of her servants than have it said that a single faithful and trusting servant of hers had fallen victim to the malice, number and power of his enemies.” Having the confidence of living under her mantle gave John Paul the courage to scold even the Sicilian Mafia, calling them to repent because God’s judgment would come upon them one day. The Mafia responded by damaging two Roman churches with bombs, including the Pope’s cathedral church, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. Considering the constant peril under which he lived, it is understandable why he considered himself to be an heir of Saint Paul.

The Reading Angel 

It’s remarkable how many stories of angels come out of hospital experiences. 

D Bay entered the hospital in 1994 with acute pain from “a fibroid tumor the size of a grapefruit” in her uterus. The surgery was successful but more complicated than expected, and her troubles weren’t over.

D Bay recalls that she was in horrible pain. She had an allergic reaction to the morphine she was given and doctors were trying to counteract that with other medications. This turned a bad experience worse. Not only had she just had a major surgery and feared she might not be able to have children, she now dealt with the pain of an acute drug reaction.

After receiving more pain medication, he was able to sleep for a few hours. “I awoke in the middle of the night. According to the wall clock, it was 2:45. I heard someone speaking and realized someone was at my bedside,” she says. “It was a young woman with short brown hair and wearing a white hospital staff uniform. She was sitting and reading aloud from the Bible. I said to her, ‘Am I alright? Why are you here with me?'”

The woman visiting D Bay stopped reading but did not look up. “She simply said, ‘I was sent here to make sure you’d be alright. You are going to be fine. Now you should get some rest and go back to sleep.’ She began to read again and I drifted off back to sleep.”

The next morning, she explained the experience to her doctor who checked and said that no staff had visited her overnight. She asked all of the nurses and no one knew of this visitor. Neither did anyone check her vitals that night.

“To this day,” she says, “I believe that I was visited by my guardian angel that night. She was sent to comfort me and assure me that I would be okay. Coincidentally, the time on the clock that night, 2:45 a.m., is the exact time recorded on my birth certificate that I was born!”