Category Archives: Guardian Angel

When St. Francis and St. Anthony Show Up At Your House

It started a couple of years ago with a medal showing up on my bedroom floor. It had two saints on it. One side was St. Francis. The other side was St. Anthony. I asked my husband and children if it belonged to any of them. They all said, “No.” I asked my friends and relatives who had visited anytime lately if it belonged to them. They all said, “No.” I asked my neighbors, who all said, “No.” Where did this medal come from? I had no idea, but I knew that St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua were going to be with me for a while.

My daughter’s Confirmation was coming up soon. I headed to look for the perfect gift for her. I noticed an entire wall full of Crucifixes. There were probably 100 at least. Suddenly, this one jumped out and said, “Pick me!” I held it in my hands and realized that I really should give her something else as she already had a crucifix. Plus her older brother’s Confirmation gift was quite different from this. I saw exactly what she needed and added that to my basket. I then looked at the price on the Crucifix and thought, “Why am I buying this?” But I bought it anyway.

I immediately hung this Crucifix in our front hall. My husband noticed it and asked me about it. How do you explain this to your very logical, reasonable husband? I just said, “I was supposed to buy it.” He was fine with that but asked who the people were? The Crucifix had Jesus on the Cross along with four people, one on each end of the cross. I told him, “I have no idea.” He said, “Maybe we should find out.” Good idea! So I got online and googled this Crucifix. I discovered it was called the Misericordia Crucifix. Misericordia means “mercy” in Latin, I believe. Anyway, this crucifix was a 14th-century processional cross. It features St. Francis at the top; the Blessed Virgin on the left; St. John the Beloved on the right; and St. Anthony of Padua at the bottom. So here they were, St. Francis and St. Anthony, showing up at my home again.

Then there was the conclave of March 2013. My beloved friend Pope Benedict XVI was resigning and a new pope would be elected. My children and I watched as they announced the white smoke. Such excitement! Who could understand the language of the announcement. I believe it was made in Latin, but our Latin wasn’t up to translating this! Then I said, “Did they just say Francis?” Sure enough. Our new pope chose the name “Francis” after St. Francis of Assisi.

Twenty three years before this, I visited the town of Assisi, Italy. I fell in love with the quaint streets and festival of flowers. Tiny flower petals were placed on the sidewalks, creating entire scenes. One I remember best was DaVinci’s Last Supper replicated with flower petals! When I saw it, all I could think was, “Please, God, don’t let the wind blow!”

The one church I wanted to visit was the Basilica where St. Francis was buried. When I arrived, a notice was posted that an earthquake had made the church unsafe and we would not be allowed to go inside. Such disappointment! I was very saddened because I also had not been able to see the Sistine Chapel because of a major restoration project. It felt like every time I tried to visit a holy place, the doors were closed!

However, St. Francis will not be outdone in mercy. Decades later, he and his buddy St. Anthony showed up at my house and have continued to shower many gifts upon me and my family. During the past two years, so many amazing things have occurred tied to this dear saint that if I listed them all, you would most likely not believe me. Suffice it to say that St. Francis was an instrument of peace, and he brings blessings to all those who are open to God’s grace and mercy. Perhaps that is why his order is 30,000 strong not counting all the orders who share his charism and the lay people who are Third Order Franciscans!

To honor this dear soul, lover of peace and of Jesus Christ, won’t you pray his prayer with me?

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us.

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A Toy Maker, a Drug Addict and my Guardian Angel

It was rush hour and I was headed to interview a toy maker for a Christmas story I was writing. His shop was located in an area of town stricken by poverty and the things that often come along with it: crime and drug dealers. I knew this wasn’t a safe area, but I had enough street smarts to know what to watch for and how to stay safe.

As I approached a major intersection the light turned red. I was the fourth car back in the line waiting for a green light. When the light turned green, I started forward. As is usual, we spread out a bit as we moved forward. I was driving a fine green Buick LeSabre circa 1971 nicknamed “the Beast” because of its size and looks. As I entered the intersection, I felt what I can only call a “tap on the shoulder” and against all reason, logic, human thought process, I slammed on my brakes as hard as possible in the middle of the intersection. This is when life entered what I call “soup mode.”

As I am slamming on my brakes without even taking or having time to look behind me to see if someone is going to now rear end my car, I see a tricked out Lincoln about to hit my car. I will never forget the eyes of the man driving that car. They were vacant. The eyes of a soul whose addiction was so deep and whose face looked like someone running from the devil. By all physical reality, he should have slammed into my passenger door. His speed was at least 60 miles per hour. Against all reality, our cars did a complicated dance in the middle of a major intersection at rush hour. This moment was so slow-moving, it was like swimming in soup. His car missed my car by centimeters, and almost as if our cars bended around each other. He drove right on through the intersection. I ended up in the middle of it, untouched, still in soup mode. As I gazed at the drivers of the vehicles all around me, I saw the exact same expression: wide open eyes, jaws dropped, total unbelief! All I can say is that at the very moment I needed it, I had the grace of Holy Obedience to the promptings of my Guardian Angel.

On this most holy day of the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, I thank mine for giving me my life. I think my children would also thank my Guardian Angel, as they would never have been born, but for me making it through this unreal moment in life.

Angel of God, my Guardian Dear,

to whom God’s love commits me here.

Ever this day, be at my side

to light, to guard, to rule, to guide.