Earlier this month, we celebrated the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels. This feast often passes by with little notice, but that is especially true as it fell on a Sunday (October 2) and was thus superseded by the celebration of Sunday Mass and the Eucharist. However, the saints often felt gratitude to their guardian angels throughout their lives.
The special relationship that many saints had with their guardian angel speaks to a greater truth: we are not alone in this. Our Lord did not create us only to leave us be. As St. Padre Pio proclaimed, “Nobody is alone! There is a guardian angel for every person.”
Saint Padre Pio & His Guardian Angel
St. Pio of Pietrelcina had a special relationship with all of God’s creation, and that included angelic beings. A priest asked if they were the only ones who stood around the altar at Mass. Padre Pio answered, “The whole celestial court.”
St. Pio certainly was grateful for the prayers of his guardian angel. As he wrote in one letter, “It is very consoling to know that this angel prays unceasingly for us, and offers God all of our good actions, our thoughts, and our desires, if they are pure.”
Padre Pio could also hear the prayers of his spiritual children through their guardian angels. Often he’d tell them, “Send me your angel!” Throughout the day, the saint heard their intentions through their guardian angels and would immediately offer prayers for them. In one fantastic tale, Padre Pio even interceded for some pilgrims whose bus got caught in the storm after angels woke him to pray.
Saint Gemma Galgani’s Friendship With Her Guardian Angel
As a man who suffers frequent back pain, I’ve often turned to St. Gemma Galgani, who is a patron saint of those suffering back injury or pain. Her own suffering was not limited to aches. Much like St. Padre Pio, St. Gemma would experience the very pain of Our Lord in the stigmata.
Although she experienced suffering from an early age, she found friendship and comfort in her guardian angel.
St. Gemma Galgani first saw her guardian angel at seventeen. As her sickness and suffering increased, she found comfort in the guidance of this angel. As she says in her Diary, “From the moment when I got up from my sickbed, my Guardian Angel began to be my master and guide.” St. Gemma’s angel offered guidance and instruction but also a great comfort. Once, her guardian angel even brought her a cup of coffee.
We probably won’t have the mystical revelations that St. Gemma had. However, we can take comfort that we also have a guardian angel who is as watchful with us on our way to sainthood.
Saint John Marie Vianney
“Good evening, my guardian angel, I thank you for having looked after me on this day. Offer all my heartbeats to God while I sleep. Amen.”
—St. John Marie Vianney’s evening prayer to his angel
The Curé d’Ars believed that each person was especially watched over by their guardian angel when going to receive Holy Communion. St. John Vianney would also seek his guardian angel’s protection and preach that others should do the same. “If our guardian angels were not near us to defend us,” St. John said in a homily, “we would succumb to all the attacks that the devil gives us.”
As a part of his daily prayers, the saintly Curé thanked his guardian angel each night. He also reminded the faithful that our guardian angels are our “most faithful friends.” They remain with us day and night and such thoughts move us to the same gratitude St. John Vianney expressed.
Saint John Henry Newman’s Prayer to His Guardian Angel
My oldest friend, mine from the hour
When first I drew my breath;
My faithful friend that shall be mine,
Unfailing, till my death.
Thou has been ever at my side.
My Maker to thy trust
Consigned my soul what time He framed
The infant child of dust.
And mine, O Brother of my soul,
When my release shall come;
Thy gentle arms shall lift me then,
Thy wings shall waft me home.
You can read a fuller account of the above stories in Odile Haumonté’s book, Encounters with Angels: The Invisible Companions of Our Spiritual Life. The book will also introduce you to many more stories of saints and angels.
As well, I can recommend these articles from Catholic Exchange: