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”

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

A German Missionary in China~A Testimony to Guardian Angels 


In the early days of the revolution in China, Communists had been careful not to molest foreigners, lest world opinion be turned against them. In this tenuous state of peaceful co-existence, Father Karl, a German missionary, was able to continue his missionary activities which consisted in the care of the Catholic communities in several dispersed villages. He was fortunate enough to have a motorcycle, which permitted him to make the rounds each Sunday together with his sacristan.

On one such Sunday, while he was folding his vestments after an early Mass, a voice spoke to him in his mother tongue, “Hab keine Angst, alles wird gut gehen!” (“Have no fear, all will go well!”) He was astonished to hear his own language and asked the group of Chinese peasants that were standing nearby, which of them was it who spoke German so well! “German?” they replied, “Father, you know full well that we are all peasants and have never had any opportunity to learn any foreign language. Why do you ask?”

Evidently, none of them had heard the voice, so Father just brushed it off saying he was just curious–that it didn’t matter.

Little did Father Karl know how much it did matter; for that very day peaceful co-existence was to come to a sudden end with his demise. A local platoon of the People’s Army had received the command to liquidate Father; the Catholic Church was an obstacle to the success of the revolution. Only the execution was not to take place openly, but out on an isolated stretch of the road.

After the Mass kit had been packed, Father and his sacristan set off for the next village up in the hill country. The road was bad and full of curves, making progress slow. Rounding a hairpin curve, a platoon of Communist soldiers arose and opened fire upon him at about thirty-five to forty yards. The first volley “killed” the motorcycle, blowing it away, out from under them. They went sprawling in the dirt. To their good fortune they were able to take refuge behind a small boulder.

Dazed or simply slow-witted, Father Karl was sure that it must be a big mistake. As soon as they would see that he was a Catholic priest everything would be fine. Three times, he stood up to convince them that it was so; three times more they opened fire on him at nearly pointblank range and failed to harm him. Still, they did succeed in convincing him that they meant business, and that they were aiming at him.

At this juncture, his sacristan, who had till now been cowering behind the rock, stood up trying to make the same overture to sound reason and courtesy. Three times he rose to speak, three times their rifles spoke in return, but without effect.

Finally, the Communist soldiers advanced and took them into captivity. The better part of the “interrogation” consisted in a body search, by which it was verified that neither Father nor his sacristan had been wounded by a single bullet in seven volleys. The assassins were so overwhelmed by this that they simply let the two of them go. Of course, they had to go on foot, for the motorcycle had indeed received many a mortal blow.

On the way home, Father Karl recalled the words he had heard after Mass: “Hab keine Angst, alles wird gut gehen!” And he said to himself, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent his Angel and rescued me” from the Communist death squad (to apply the words of St. Peter from a similar circumstance: Acts 12, 11).

Walking further, Father Karl asked his sacristan why he too had stood up so many times, after the Communists’ mortal intent had become clear. “Father,” he replied, “how could I ever hold my head high again in the village, after you had risked your life three times for us, unless I too had made a similar effort to plea for our safety?”

(Told by Father Karl to a group of seminarians in Rome; mid 1970’s)

Source:opusangelorum.org

The Guardian Angel and The Priest 


St. Francis de Sales Witnesses the Greatness of the Priesthood By the Actions of His Guardian Angel

St. Francis of Assisi used to say that, “If I saw an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest, and then to the angel.”

St. Francis de Sales, after having given the order of Priesthood to a holy ecclesiastic, perceived that on going out he stopped at the door as if to give precedence to another. Being asked by the Saint why he stopped, he replied that God favored him with the visible presence of his Guardian Angel, who, before he had received the Priesthood, always remained at his right and preceded him, but afterwards walked on his left and refused to go before him. It was in a holy contest with the angel that he stopped at the door.

Sermon on the Guardian Angels~St.Bernard 


“He hath given his angels charge over thee.” O wonderful bounty and truly great love of charity! Who? For whom? Wherefore? What has He commanded? Let us study closely, brethren, and let us diligently commit to our memory this great mandate. Who is it that commands? Whose angels are they? Whose mandates do they fulfill? Whose will do they obey? In answer, “He hath given his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” And they do not hesitate even to life thee up in their hands.
So the Supreme Majesty has given charge to the angels. Yes, He has given charge to His own angels. Think of it! To those sublime beings, who cling to Him so joyfully and intimately, to His very own He has given charge over you! Who are you? “What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?” As if man were not rottenness, and the son of man a worm! Now why, do you think, he Has given them charge over thee? — To guard thee!

With what great reverence should you treat this word! What devotion should you proffer it; what great confidence should you place in it. Reverence because of their presence; devotion because of their benevolence; confidence because of their solicitude. Walk carefully, in all thy ways, as one with whom the angels are present as He has given them charge. In every lodging, at every corner, have reverence for thy Angel. Do not dare to do in his presence what you would not dare to do if I were there. Or do you doubt that he is present whom you do not behold? What if you should hear him? What if you should touch him? What if you should scent him? Remember that the presence of something is not proved only by the sight of things.

In this, therefore, brethren, let us affectionately love His angels as one day our future coheirs; meanwhile, however, as counselors and defenders appointed by the Father and placed over us. Why should we fear under such guardians? Those who keep us in all our ways can neither be overcome nor be deceived, much less deceive. They are faithful; they are prudent; they are powerful; why do we tremble? Let us only follow them, let us remain close to them, and in the protection of the God of heaven let us abide. As often, therefore, as a most serious temptation is perceived to weigh upon you and an excessive trial is threatening, call to your guard, your leader, your helper in your needs, in your tribulation; cry to him and say: “Lord, save us; we perish!”

An Evil Visitor~A Testimony of Guardian Angels 


An Evil Visitor

Lou and his young wife, Edith, lived on a small farm in upper Michigan, the last mail box on the lane. It was a lonely, tough life out on the farm, but the newly married couple was happy as they had one another and their daily bread. One morning in early summer after Lou had gone out to the field to mow hay, a stranger came riding into the farm yard. He hitched up his horse at the post, as was fitting, but failed to come straight to the house. Rather he first checked out the barn, checked out the shed and rather reconnoitered all around, before he addressed his steps towards the house.

Edith had taken all of this in from the window with growing anxiety. By the time the knock sounded on the door she was terrified. Initially, she thought not to answer the door, but realizing he might break the door down, she went and opened it partially and asked fearfully, “Yes, what do you want?”

The stranger, peering at her, asked in a toneless voice, “Are you alone?”

Edith wanted anything but to be alone with this surly chap. In her fright she blurted out, “NO! My husband’s in the attic!” And to add rhetorical force to her contention, she turned and called out: “Hey Lou!”

A voice, that of her husband, responded immediately: “Yea, what is it? I’ll be right down!”

That the stranger’s intentions were less than honorable could be read both by the expression on his face and the fact he backed down the steps, jumped on his horse and high tailed it out of there!

Edith too was completely taken aback; she had thought that Lou was out in the field mowing hay. She hastened up to the attic to see what Lou was doing there, but there was no one there!

Once, when narrating this story at a day of recollection, I asked the crowd, “Whose Guardian Angel do you think that was, Edith’s or Lou’s?” A young lady responded wonderfully, saying, “I’d like to think it was the rider’s Guardian Angel, keeping him out of trouble!”

(Told by the woman’s daughter, mother of a priest acquaintance; Michigan, early 20th Century)

Source:opusangelorum.org 

The Sunday Visitor 

The Carter family lived on the farm out on the high prairie in Wyoming where neighbors are few and far between; and wherefore, helping one’s neighbor or even a stranger in need, is still held to be a duty. Mrs. Carter was exemplary in the execution of this duty.

A new snow had fallen the night before. Sunday dawned bright, calm and clear. The family was getting ready to drive into town for Mass, when a stranger knocked at the door. Shivering with cold, he asked if he might warm himself a bit before the fire. Mrs. Carter graciously invited him in, showed him to the fire and began to prepare a hearty western breakfast for their unexpected gift. The boys repressed a groan realizing that this interruption meant they would have to go to a later Mass, which in turn meant that much of their playtime was being eaten up by this inconvenient stranger.

Having finished his breakfast, the guest thanked the family warmly and continued on his way. Shortly thereafter the family was able to be off to Holy Mass. A cold chill ran up their spine as they went out onto the snow covered porch, and saw to their utter astonishment that there were no footsteps in the fresh snow either coming up to or leading away from the house. Their strange guest had come and gone without leaving a footprint. Spontaneously the verse came to Mrs. Carter’s mind: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained Angels unawares” (Heb 13:2). Filled with gratitude, she explained to the children that they had received an Angel into their own home; that was God’s way of telling them that He was pleased with their kindness to strangers.

Source:opusangelorum.org

The Doctor’s Angel 

This story occurred during the Great Depression in the early 1930’s in Chicago. It was told to me by a priest, Dr. Brown’s brother.

In the wee hours of the morning Dr. Brown was jarred from sleep by the insistent ringing of the phone. He remembers groggily groping for the receiver; a husky, strained voice implored: “Is this Dr. Brown?”

“Yes, I am he.”

“Could you come quickly? It’s urgent, a matter of life and death!”

“Yes, I’ll come. Where do you live?”

“Seventeen Alan Street, please, come quickly.”

Dr. Brown dressed quickly, got his things together and was soon headed off to Alan Street; how lonely it was traveling alone through the dark streets at night. The neighborhood towards which he drove was on the “far side of the tracks”, where even during the day one might not feel too comfortable walking around.

Dr. Brown found the house easily enough, a single residence; only it was peculiar that no lights were on. He went to the door and knocked; after a pause, he knocked again. Still there was no answer. His third knock, however, elicited a gruff response, “Who’s there?”

“It’s Dr. Brown. I received an urgent call for medical help. Is this seventeen Alan Street?”

“Yes it is, but nobody called you, get out of here!”

As he withdrew, he scanned the street searchingly for lights that might indicate where his help was really needed. Seeing none, he reproached himself again, thinking he had failed to jot down the right street number. Or perhaps, it was just a bad prank. In any case, there was nothing he could do but return home. And as there was no follow up phone call, he simply forgot the matter in the days that ensued.

Several weeks later, though, he received another call during the day from the emergency ward at the hospital. The nurse explained that a man, a certain John Turner, who had just suffered a severe accident and was clearly dying, was begging to speak with Dr. Robert Brown. “Doctor, could you come by quickly? He doesn’t have much time. He will not tell us why he needs to speak to you.”

Dr. Brown agreed to go, yet he was rather puzzled, for he knew no one by the name of John Turner. This conviction was verified by the patient, who said: “Dr. Brown, you don’t know me, but I just had to speak with you before I die and beg your forgiveness. You will recall having received a telephone call several weeks ago in the dead of the night.”

“Yes, I remember the call, but…”

“It was I who called you.” The dying man explained: “I had had no work for months and months. I had sold everything of value in the house, and still could not feed my family. I could not bear the imploring, hungry looks in my children’s eyes. In my desperation, I resolved to call a doctor for help in the middle of the night. My plan was to kill him, take his money and sell his instruments.”

Though horrified, Dr. Brown could not help but protest: “Yes, but I came, why didn’t you kill me?”

“I was expecting that you would come alone, but when I saw that big, powerful young man at your side I was afraid; and so I just sent you off gruffly. Please forgive me.”

“Yes, of course,” muttered Dr. Brown in a daze.

A cold chill had come over him; he had had no inkling that what had seemed to him like an irksome error or even a bad prank had been really such a close call with death. And even less had he suspected that his Guardian Angel (to whom he ever after attributed this intervention) had saved his life that night; for indeed, the “powerful young man” had appeared only to his would be assailant, who now dying, was imploring his forgiveness.

How awesome are the ways of God. How often our Angels preserve us from harm without our ever adverting to the fact.

Source:opusangelorum.org