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Angel Preserves Family Connection

A nun’s faith is rewarded when her bond with her departed mother is confirmed.

An artist's rendering of the photo of Sr. Joesphine's mother fluttering down

“Now, try to relax.”

Relax? How could I relax with the dentist standing over me with the biggest needle I’d ever seen? I stiffened and pulled back, gripping the arms of my chair.

The dentist lowered her needle. “Did you take the prescription I gave you?” I nodded. “That should have helped with your anxiety.”

But it hadn’t. “My sister Lori is in the waiting room. Can she come in while you work on me?” “There’s just no room,” the dentist said.

The dentist leaned in with the needle. I closed my eyes. God, get me through this.

I felt the pressure of the needle. Lori! I thought. I wish you were holding my hand!

I opened my eyes. There, near the ceiling, was a shape. A vague figure with wings—like an angel. My breathing slowed just a little. Perhaps the anxiety medication was doing some good. Then I felt something even more reassuring: the touch of Lori’s hand holding mine.

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Thank goodness the dentist let her come in after all, I thought as my eyes closed again. I didn’t open them again until the surgery was over. I looked around for my sister and opened my mouth to speak.

“Don’t try to talk yet,” the dentist said.

On the way home I scribbled Lori a note: “Thanks for holding my hand in there.”

“I didn’t,” she said. “No one else could squeeze into that room.”

But there was someone else in the room with me. I had felt her touch. And now I realized I had seen her hovering above me. My guardian angel was by my side when no one else could be.

Everything in my life seemed better when Mom was around to share it. She loved to hear the details of my day, whether I had a funny story about one of the other nuns in my order, or good news about one of my students at the school where I taught.

“When beautiful things happen to you, it’s like they happen to me too,” she always said.

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Ever since her death I kept her picture nearby, taped to the wall above the headboard on my bed. One night I stayed up late grading papers. I leaned back against the headboard and straightened the pile.

Tucked among the tests was a note from a teenaged student. “Dear Sister Josephine,” it said. “Thank you for all you’ve done to help me be a better person.”

I held the note over my head, level with the photo of Mother. As if she can actually read it, I thought. How silly! I had to laugh at myself.

A breeze blew in the window. I heard a faint crinkling above my head. Like a mosquito walking through cellophane. Something fluttered down through the air and landed on the pillow next to my head.

Mom! With a little help from an angel, she still shared everything with me.

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Angels All Around Us

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