Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Angels Among Us Today
Today's Catholic ^ | Carol Baass Sowa

Posted on 05/12/2007 1:29:12 PM PDT by NYer

SAN ANTONIO • It was 30 degrees below zero, with temperatures expected to dip frighteningly lower by Christmas Eve, and Joan Wester Anderson’s son Tim was, against advice, driving home from college in the Midwest to his parents’ home near Chicago. Already all major highways in the area had been shut down as a white-out obliterated all landmarks in wind-whipped swirls of snow. These were the days before cell phones and Anderson was sure that if her son was any place safe, he would have called to ease her fears. Six hours past his scheduled arrival, she began to pray. “I remember thinking for the first time that Tim wasn’t going to be coming home,” she said. “And I remember crying out to God in a way that I never did before: ‘God, God, you’ve got to send someone.’”

Meanwhile, her son and his friend, taking what they had been told was a shortcut through frozen cornfields, sat hopelessly lost in their stalled car, knowing full well they would soon freeze to death, and they began to pray. Suddenly, the inside of the car was filled with light. Behind them was a tow truck, its headlights shining through the snow. “Need a tow?” asked the bundled up stranger tapping on the car window. He deftly hooked up their car, towing them back to the classmate’s home they had left earlier. When Tim and his friend stumbled, near frozen, from the car to thank the driver who had saved their lives, they discovered both he and his tow-truck had vanished, leaving no tracks in the snow. It was a while before Tim told his mother about this. “When it’s something like this, you tend to kind of hold it close to your heart for a while,” she said. “And you replay it.” Looking for a rational explanation, Anderson set out to find the mysterious tow-truck driver, only to learn there was a curfew in force at the time and all area tow-trucks had been under lock and key. “Finally,” she said, “I had to give up and say, ‘God, if this was an angel, then I want to know more.’” As she shared Tim’s story with others, she began to realize her family was not the only one with an angel story to tell. And so began Joan Wester Anderson’s career as author and lecturer on the subject of angels among us.

Anderson had begun her writing career in 1973 as a means of financing repairs on the “fixer-upper” house she and her husband had purchased for their growing family. Writing had always come easily to Anderson, who frequently dashed off letters to the editor to her hometown paper, The Chicago Tribune, but she had never envisioned earning money this way until her pastor suggested this was where her talents lay and she should pursue writing. Numerous articles in various publications followed, as well as short stories and books. It was her son’s encounter with one of God’s heavenly messengers, though, that set her on a whole new path, uncovering more and more modern day stories of angelic help in time of need. Her first angel book, Where Angels Walk: True Stories of Heavenly Visitors, became a New York Times best-seller and would eventually lead to a whole series on the subject, including: Guardian Angels, An Angel to Watch Over Me, In the Arms of Angels and Angels We Have Heard On High, as well related books: The Power of Miracles, Where Miracles Happen, and Where Wonders Prevail. Actress Loretta Young, after reading her angel books, asked Anderson to write her biography, which became Forever Young, written shortly before Young’s death.

“Angels are with us always,” said Anderson, a devout Catholic and member of St. Edna Parish in Arlington Heights, Ill. “We all have one, but if we’re not welcoming our angel, there might be a reason why we’re not getting a lot of help. It could just be that we’ve forgotten him.” Sometimes angels appear in human form in answer to a plea for help, she related, sometimes they are seen in the traditional way we think of angels, winged and with flowing robes. “Many times we do not see them,” she said. “They come, they pull us out of traffic, they whisper in our ear.” Some have heard a distinct voice speaking to them while, to others, it is an imperative inner voice, somewhat like intuition.

It was in human form that an angel entered the life of a Vietnam veteran Anderson spoke with. It is harder for men to disclose such experiences, she related, as they are more guarded about displaying emotion. “If I’m interviewing them, I have to take lots of breaks,” she said. The man told her of being trapped under his car when the jack slipped. Suddenly he saw huge feet approaching and the car was lifted, allowing him to roll free. But when he looked around, there was no one there. As Anderson chatted with the man, an even more incredible story came out. His experiences during the Vietnam War left him an atheist he explained, as he felt he could no longer believe in a God who would allow such things to happen. Then one day, sitting in a restaurant, a man in a shabby black suit tapped him on the shoulder, saying “God wants to see you in church.” Annoyed and embarrassed, the veteran wondered how the man could know he did not attend church. When he turned around again, the stranger was gone. After relating the story to his wife, they decided to let their son pick a church at random from the Yellow Pages for them to attend. It turned out to be the only church in the Archdiocese of Detroit with a ministry for Vietnam veterans and the group happened to be meeting that Sunday. “Not many people get a chance to see two angels,” the man told Anderson. “Of course he is definitely a churchgoer now,” she said.

Angels, winged and haloed, have been seen by others, she noted. A man on Manhattan on 9/11 looked up in the billowing smoke and debris above the fallen towers and saw thousands of angels. “And each angel was holding the hand of a person and they were all going up at the same time,” he told Anderson. And they were all laughing and singing. A woman related a somewhat similar vision the day of the Oklahoma City bombing. Driving toward the city and its rising smoke, she had to stop her car to be sure of what she was seeing — angels protectively encircling the city with their wings. An Episcopalian priest, who was beginning to feel he had lost his calling and should resign his ministry, thought he was losing his mind one Sunday when he looked up at the start of his homily and beheld angels floating above him in the dome of the church. Feeling he had gone over the edge and should commit himself, he was approached afterwards by an elderly parishioner who commented on his startled look at the beginning of the sermon. The pastor tried to brush it off as “nothing,” but the woman replied, “Oh I think it was something. You saw them too, didn’t you?”

Very young children and those in a similar state of innocence sometimes see and are close to angels, noted Anderson. She related the story of friend whose worries about changing her Down’s syndrome child to a different school were overcome when the boy finally pointed to a picture of an angel in a book as resembling the “yellow man” who played with him in his room at night, and whom the family assumed was an imaginary companion. “Joey didn’t have a word for shining or sparkling or golden,” the mother said, and the closest thing he could come up with was the name of a color he was familiar with — yellow. She told Anderson, “It was like I was infused with understanding and I realized that God was saying to me: ‘Do you think for one minute that your child was ever alone?’” She knew then that his angel would be at the new school with him and she had no reason to fear for him.

An angel in compelling inner voice form caused a mother, who had left her young children in charge of her absent-minded husband one Saturday, to suddenly dash home from the store and run to a neighbor’s open garage where she discovered her children had accidentally shut themselves up in an old freezer. They were still alive, and the woman later told Anderson she did not know if it was her angel or the children’s angel who guided her to them. “Angels don’t make a big deal out of their coming,” said Anderson. “They come in, they do what they’re supposed to do and they leave, in the sense that we don’t see them anymore.” “A lot of times that veil between heaven and earth is very thin,” she added, “and angels can step through it and minister to us.”

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Prayer; Theology
KEYWORDS: angels; guardians
Editor’s Note: Author and lecturer on angels, Joan Wester Anderson, spoke on these heavenly messengers in a presentation on April 17 at the new Villa de San Antonio, a faith-based independent and assisted living Franciscan community, as part of its grand opening activities and, later, in a private interview. To learn more about the author and her books, visit
1 posted on 05/12/2007 1:29:16 PM PDT by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

On several occasions, I have called on my guardian angel for assistance and it was received. Each day, I join Mother Angelica in praying the Chaplet to St. Michael the Archangel. Towards its conclusion, she invites us to offer up an Our Father in honor of our own Guardian Angel. Thank God for these angels!

2 posted on 05/12/2007 1:32:20 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer; Ryan Spock; TheMom; TChris; Xenalyte; Semper Vigilantis; georgiadevildog; Chad Fairbanks; ...
... a mother, who had left her young children in charge of her absent-minded husband one Saturday ...

I leave my kids in charge of their Dad sometimes, but I have to be very subtle about it, or he gets in a snit. I would say that a child has to be at least 12 to adequately manage a Dad.

(Verbal mayhem ping, y'all ... mind your indirect objects!)

3 posted on 05/12/2007 2:04:47 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Death is perishable. Faith is eternal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

On a more relevant note, I was in a charismatic prayer meeting with a group of United Methodist ladies, and had a vision of the angel of their church speaking to one of the ladies. When I told them, they said, “Which angel?” and when I described the vision, they knew exactly whom I’d seen.

4 posted on 05/12/2007 2:07:09 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Death is perishable. Faith is eternal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NYer
One of my friends car's battery had died, because she had left her lights on while she took photos of the sunrise. Her sister was giving her a jump and they crossed the jumper cables (red on black and black on red). Fire was traveling down the cables and the handles were too hot for either of these girls to unhook from the batteries, my friend's sister burned her hand trying.

Both girls had turned to run away when this car pulled up and two "really big guys" got out. The guys unhooked the cables, without burning their hands. When my friend and her sister looked up from the engines and the dropped cables neither the car or guys where anywhere to be seen.
5 posted on 05/12/2007 2:57:35 PM PDT by Talking_Mouse (wahhabi delenda est)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick
I would say that a child has to be at least 12 to adequately manage a Dad.

That's about correct for girls. Boys have a narrow age band for managing Dad. At 10 they are pretty good at it, but by the time they are 14, they are liable to be following Dad around and getting into the same trouble rather than managing him.

6 posted on 05/12/2007 3:12:11 PM PDT by NCSteve (Trying to take something off the Internet is like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NYer
I made up a "poster" (just a Word doc on a color printer which I printed for my office wall) of the last section of President George W. Bush's first inaugural Address.  It includes the image I first saw here on FR after 9/11 of the bald eagle with the phrase "Let's Roll" and these words from the speech:


After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson: ``We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?''

Much time has passed since Jefferson arrived for his inauguration. The years and changes accumulate. But the themes of this day he would know: our nation's grand story of courage and its simple dream of dignity.

We are not this story's author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose. Yet his purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another.

Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.

This work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.

George W. Bush's Inaugural Address. January 20, 2001

Do I believe in angels?  Oh yeah! 

This file actually got out into "the wild" here in Memphis.  I gave a copy to a friend here at work and he printed a copy for a local car dealer.  That car dealer made copies and I've seen it all over the net and in some surprising places where I've traveled. 

I don't discount the possibility that other's were inspired in the same way by this portion of this speech that I was and that others didn't connect it to the same graphic file and create exactly the same simple poster.  I fully accept that the other copies of this, however exactly the same as what I created, may have been done by other hands.

Now, get your mind around the import of that little thought. 

After all, I believe in angels.  That is a humbling thought, for me at least.  I, for one, cherish that notion.

7 posted on 05/12/2007 3:25:23 PM PDT by Phsstpok (Often wrong, but never in doubt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NCSteve

Oh, excellent point!

8 posted on 05/12/2007 3:25:57 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Death is perishable. Faith is eternal.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Phsstpok
Thank you so much for posting the graphic with those words from President Bush's Inaugural Address. It's a day I will never forget! And yes, I too believe in angels!

God bless you! And God bless the United States of America! Let's Roll!

9 posted on 05/12/2007 4:16:13 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: NYer
thank you for the compliment, but it's not my graphic. I did a bit of "bandwidth theft" to add that to my post.  I have come to the conclusion that they have forgiven me in this context as this is not the first time I have posted this (by a long shot).

I linked to when I built that file, though it was originially for my own local print out and I didn't think anything of it at the time as I was basically printing out a one shot file for my own personal use. 

It has grown since then. 

Part of my positive feeling about this post is that the link is still there.  I assume, 100%, that that is because the folks at strangecosmos want it to be widely distributed.  But always remember, the graphic is their's and the quote is from the President.  All I did was put them together on a single page and, from what I have seen, I don't think I'm the only one.

I think this is bigger than all of us.  Certainly it's bigger than I am.  That please me no end, by the by.

10 posted on 05/12/2007 4:36:46 PM PDT by Phsstpok (Often wrong, but never in doubt)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: NYer
It was 30 degrees below zero

We need to get a move on getting Global Warming to fix this.

11 posted on 05/12/2007 4:38:21 PM PDT by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer; All

Question for you: does the Bible have references to Angels appearing larger or smaller than human form?

12 posted on 05/12/2007 5:16:38 PM PDT by MHGinTN (You've had life support. Promote life support for others.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NYer
The Chaplet of St. Michael

13 posted on 05/12/2007 5:22:18 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]


Some Cherubim are described as having a voice of a mighty pipe organ.

I’ll post some lists of the various choirs of angels in a little while. They have different characteristics as perceived and revealed to humans.

There are wingless angels, powers, dominions, authorities, principalities, cherubim (4 winged), and Seraphim (6 winged), but to name a few of the groupings studied by different groups.

Mythology, if true, is also remarkably consistent with Scripture. Roman, Greek, Norse, Egyptian mythology actually falls very much in line with Scripture, although much of it unwritten in Scripture.

14 posted on 05/12/2007 5:37:12 PM PDT by Cvengr (The violence of evil is met with the violence of righteousness, justice, love and grace.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I believe in angels as ministering spirits. However, I don’t worship them. I only worship God.

15 posted on 05/12/2007 6:42:36 PM PDT by CANBFORGIVEN (! Corinthians 2:14)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

16 posted on 05/12/2007 7:40:56 PM PDT by GoLightly
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

Thank you, bookmarking.

17 posted on 05/12/2007 9:31:33 PM PDT by fortunecookie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]


“And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” Luke 1:19

Since angels are sent by God, we can surely thank them for doing their duty (as opposed to the angels who didn’t - ref. the Epistle of Jude).

18 posted on 05/14/2007 7:25:38 AM PDT by nanetteclaret ("Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there's always laughter and good red wine." Hilaire Belloc)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: nanetteclaret

What is your point? I am confused as to what you are saying. Are you trying to equate thankfulness with worship?

19 posted on 05/14/2007 9:19:36 AM PDT by CANBFORGIVEN (! Corinthians 2:14)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]


No, but evidently you are. Otherwise, why did you say what you did? What was your point?

20 posted on 05/14/2007 3:52:45 PM PDT by nanetteclaret ("Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, there's always laughter and good red wine." Hilaire Belloc)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson