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May 06, 2022 1637 Carissa Douglas, Canada

Real Angels at Work

Do Angels really exist? Here’s a story that’s going to enthrall you

When I was in high school, I was fascinated by tales of encounters with angels. I even dared to share the stories I read with friends and fellow students, who couldn’t help but be amused and intrigued. One unlikely boy showed special interest. When the bus we rode together was full of school kids he would be tough, with unfiltered behaviors and cussing. But as soon as the other students were gone and it was just the two of us, he’d turn to me and say, “Can you tell me an angel story?” I saw it as my gentle way of giving him some hope and a little push toward heaven, perhaps right when he needed it.

Around this time, I had a wonderful teacher who shared an unforgettable story with me. A friend of his was nervously walking down a dark alley praying for God’s protection. She suddenly noticed a man staring intently at her from the shadows. As she prayed more fervently, he stepped toward her, but then stopped short and suddenly backed away, turning his face to the wall.

She later heard that a young woman was attacked in that same alley only an hour after she had been there. She went to the police and told them she had seen someone in the alley a short while before the attack on the other woman. The police informed her they had someone in custody and wondered if she would view a line-up of suspects. She readily consented and sure enough among the suspects was the man she’d seen in the alley.

She asked to speak to him and was escorted to the room where he was being held. As she entered, the man stood and gazed at her with a look of recognition.

“Do you remember me?” she asked. He nodded. “Yes. I saw you there, in the alley.”

She pressed on. “Why didn’t you attack me instead of the other woman?” He looked at her in confusion. “Are you kidding me?” he said, “with those two big guys walking on either side of you?!”

Perhaps that story is apocryphal, but I loved it. It reminded me that guardian angels are not just a comforting thought or pleasant imaginings from our childhood. They are real. They are powerful and faithful. And they have been appointed to watch over us and protect us with God’s presence. But do we take our hidden friends for granted? And do we trust them to come to our need when we truly need them?

From one of my favorite saints, St. Padre Pio, I learned to think more often of my guardian angel and to speak to him openly. I had no doubt that my angel was already working hard and fighting spiritual battles on my behalf, but one day I experienced his presence powerfully.

I was seventeen, had missed my bus, and despite frigid weather, I decided to drive my big, cold-sensitive car to school. While driving up a steep, country hill, the car began to slow. I pushed the gas pedal to the floor but only crept along. There were no houses close by and I didn’t have a cell phone. If the car died, it would be a long walk in freezing weather before I could get help. I remembered there was a mom-and-pop restaurant a mile or so down the road and held onto the hope that, if I made it up the hill, I might have enough down-hill momentum to reach the restaurant.

But the car slowed and I knew it was unlikely I would make it up the hill.  “Okay, angel!” I said out loud. “I need you to push this car. Please, push me up the hill.” The car sped up.  I felt a difference in its movement, so I encouraged my angel, “Almost there! Come on! Please keep pushing.” The car crept to the top and somehow lurched over the peak. I began the descent down the other side moving fast at first but soon lost momentum. I saw the restaurant in the distance and begged my angel to keep pushing the car, though I didn’t think I’d make it.

But the car found new momentum, just enough to make it into the restaurant parking lot and into a spot facing a plate-glass window. Then, as if on cue, the car died.  “Was that a fluke,” I wondered. “I’m grateful that this worked out perfectly,” I thought, “but was it actually my angel’s intervention?” Then I looked up and through the restaurant window I saw a huge painting of a guardian angel on the back wall. It was the painting I had loved since childhood that depicts two children crossing a dangerous bridge under the watchful protection of their guardian angel. I was overwhelmed. I learned later that my fuel line had completely frozen, and it was a wonder that I reached a safe place.

My story may not have been as dramatic as my teacher’s incredible tale, but it confirmed my belief that our guardian angels watch over us and that we should never hesitate to ask for help—even if it’s just a little push when we need it.

I believe sharing stories like these, like sharing stories of saints, is a powerful way to evangelize. They provide assurance that we are not alone, that we have a Father who loves us enough to assign dear allies to care for us in our times of need.


Carissa Douglas

Carissa Douglas is the author and illustrator of the Catholic children’s book series “Little Douglings,” which promotes the sacraments and the culture of life. She is the mother of 14 children. Be sure to check out her site at where she blogs about her adventurous life with her big Catholic family and shares the humor and joy in her comic series: Holy HappyMess.

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