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~