"...awaken and sharpen your realization of the invisible world about you,... foster a certain familiar acquaintance with the Angels, who are so constant in their solicitude for your salvation and holiness." Pope Pius XII
The word retreat literally means "withdrawal". When we participate in a silent retreat, we withdraw from our activities, from our environments, from our dealings with the world for a couple of days to be alone with God in prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI defines in an address a retreat as "a strong experience of God, awakened by listening to his Word, understood and welcomed in one's personal life, under the action of the Holy Spirit, which, in a climate of silence, prayer and by means of a spiritual guide, offer the capacity of discernment in order to purify the heart, convert one's life, follow Christ and fulfill one's own mission in the Church and in the world".
The Holy Father emphasized in a special way that a retreat should be "characterized by that climate of complete and profound silence which favors the personal and communitarian encounter with God and the contemplation of the Face of Christ. My Predecessors and I myself have returned to this point several times, and it can never be insisted upon enough."
All of us need time to be alone with God, in order to widen our souls for the streams of God's grace, so that we can live out our lives more perfectly according to God's will. God must become more and more the source and the goal of our daily lives. In fact, our entire Christian life must spring from an intimate union with Christ, and be ordered to this union. All we do should be by the strength of God and for the love of God. At silent retreats, God wishes to give us these special graces.
O glorious Guardian Angel of the United States, to whom God has entrusted the care of our beloved country, we honor you and thank you for the care and protection you have given to this great nation from the first moment of its inception.
O powerful Angel Guardian, whose watchful glance encompasses this vast land from shore to shore, we know that our sins have grieved our Lord and God and marred the beauty of our heritage. Lead us to a deep conversion, so that we may return to the embrace of His merciful love!
O Holy Angel, obtain for us through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven before the throne of God the graces we need to overcome the forces of evil so rampant in our beloved land. Help us, our God-given protector and friend, to respond wholeheartedly to the urgent pleas of the Mother of God at Fatima. Assist us to offer the prayers and sacrifices necessary to bring peace and goodness to our nation.
We want to make you known and loved throughout our land, so that docile to your inspirations we may know, love and serve our Lord more faithfully and so become once more "one Nation under God"! Amen.
Pray Card available at our online store.
News from the Monastery
Dear Friends and Benefactors!
There are great and exciting news about our building project. On the Feast day of the Presentation of our Lady the State Architect of Ohio granted us a partial building permit. With that we can go ahead with the building of the Sister's convent. In the pictures you see the convent of the Sisters, which comprises stage one of the proposed monastery complex. The plan was completed by the SASI architectural firm located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The building itself is divided into several sections. The public area with the chapel is at the entrance, the rooms for community functions are grouped together in another section, the cloistered bedrooms are tucked away towards the back of the building on the northern side and all the work rooms are in the walk out basement, which gives us also needed storage space. Partitioning the convent in this way will guard the atmosphere of prayer for the Sisters, with less traffic through their work areas and more silence in the cloistered area. It is a modest beginning, limited to the space we really need at present, but allows for the possibility of expanding as vocations increase.
As we have already the building permit for the foundations, we can start right away to prepare the ground for the poring of the foundations and the erection of the walls. The excavator is ready to go by end of November. You can see the progress of the building through a webcam which streams live what's going on at the building site.
With this new plan, we also will be able to install the septic systems right away, not only for the Sisters' convent, but also for the Brothers' monastery! Everyone who has been involved in a construction project knows how difficult and essential this element is for the whole building project. God-willing, if all goes well we expect to be able to complete the convent by early 2018.
Two water wells on the property were also drilled so that they can now supply drinking water. One of the wells will provide water for the Sisters' convent, the other for the Brothers' monastery.
Our original budget for the convent was $2,000,000. Thanks be to God, we have be able to maintain this project cap with good cooperation from the architects and the construction manager. Hopefully no great surprises will arise, as work goes forward. Although the funds are sufficient for a good beginning of the convent, we ask your continued support to carry it through to the end. Currently, we have slightly more than two-thirds of what we need, that is, $1,250,000 USD, which means we still need some $750,000 USD. We are still praying for generous donors like yourself who want to be a part of this great work for the glory of God and the building up of His Church, with and through the Holy Angels. May God bless and reward you for all your support, and please be assured that you, your family and your intentions are prayed for daily in our (interim) Adoration chapel!
May God bless you for your generosity, and bestow upon you the grace of a peaceful, joyful Christmas Season.
Fr. Ludwig Maria Oppl, ORC
Superior Delegatus and Rector
Global Opus Angelorum
The short answer to this most asked of all questions about the angels is simply "no." For the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Sacraments of the Vatican stated in the document The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy of 2001, that "the practice of assigning names to the holy angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and St. Michael, whose names are contained in Holy Scripture" (217).
We do well to reflect, then, that the term "Holy Guardian Angel" expresses very deeply our bond to the angel assigned to us by God for life. For just as there is only one woman and one man in this whole world who can respond to us when we say, "Mom" or "Dad", so too in all the choirs of angels, there is only one angel who can respond to us when we cry out, "Holy Guardian Angel, help me!"
That every baptized person has a Guardian Angel is clear from what St. Basil taught and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterated, "Every one of the faithful has an angel standing at his side as educator and guide, directing his life" (cf. CCC 336). This passage does not state specifically that every human being, without exception, has a Guardian Angel. Nevertheless, in another passage, the Catechism stresses in no uncertain terms that "From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their [that is, the angels'] watchful care and intercession" (CCC 336).
In accord with this, the general teaching of theologians holds that not only every baptized person, but every human being has their own personal Guardian Angel which also teaches the recently published YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church), approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2010, "Every person receives from God a Guardian Angel" (n. 55). This view is biblically based and founded on the words of Our Lord in the Gospels, where He states emphatically to His disciples, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven" (Mt 18:10). Moreover, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the protection of the angels is a gift not only of grace, but also a gift to mankind in the order of nature. Finally, since each individual, based on their own free will, has a unique destiny, it is fitting that there be a one-on-one relationship with an angel. This same position was also taught by St. Gregory the Wonder Worker and St. Jerome, who held that every person has from birth their own special Guardian Angel.
St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that everyone receives a Guardian Angel at birth. Moreover, he states that the Guardian Angel of the mother guards her child while it is still in the womb. Other Fathers and Doctors of the Church, however, for example, St. Jerome and St. Basil the Great, believe that our Guardian Angel is assigned at baptism. St. Anselm, on the other hand, goes a step farther by stating that "every soul is committed to an angel when it is united with a body." In other words, he believes, along with some other saints and theologians, that everyone receives a Guardian Angel at conception. To sum up, then, there are three opinions about when our Guardian Angel may be assigned to us, namely, 1.) at conception, 2.) at birth, or 3.) or at baptism.
The fact, that every human person has a Guardian Angel excludes implicitly that we receive the Guardian Angel at baptism. It remains, then, a question open to speculation whether a human being receives the Guardian Angel at conception or birth. But since a person's life begins at the moment of conception, there is no reason for the angel to have to wait until the person is born. Considering the importance of prenatal care, it is reasonable to believe that the Guardian Angel would be want to be involved. It may also be true, that all benefit from the angelic assistance from the beginning of life according to the natural providence of God, and that in baptism a deeper supernatural bond with the holy angels arises.
“Out of sight is out of mind” goes the saying. How often this is true with respect to our relationship with our Guardian Angel; we forget him because we do not see him. Guardian Angel stories serve as a tonic helping us cultivate a personal relationship with our Guardian Angel and bolster our confidence in him. Such stories do illustrate well how the Angels take interest in our personal lives and not infrequently do intervene tangibly in behalf of their wards.
If you have an inspiring Angel story, you would be willing to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1982 my husband was offered a job in southern Idaho. For work related reasons he went ahead of me, by a couple of weeks. He took our 11 year old son with him. I was left alone with our 10 and 7 year old sons and our newborn baby daughter, whom I was nursing at that time. I had chosen to nurse ‘only’, with no other type of supplemental feeding. I was attending a support group, and my feedings were very successful, so I didn’t feel the need of any substitutes, since my mother’s milk was fully sufficient for her at that young of an age. Since she was still an infant, I fed her regularly during the night as well.
Once, during my husband’s absence, I woke from a very intense nightmare in the middle of the night. I was one of those people afraid of being left alone at night time. So, it took all the grace God could give me to strengthen me through the time that my husband and I were apart. This particular night I was going to need even more grace since I was in no condition to nurse our sweet baby, because I was still under the influence of the frightening dream. So, I began to earnestly implore God to help me and protect me so that I would be able to nurse our precious daughter. The baby began waking up and I knew I couldn’t wait for the intensity of the effects of the dream to wear off. Trusting God for what I needed in order to care for her, I lifted her from the bassinet beside our bed and held her in my arms. As I sat propped up in bed and drew her closer to me, I was amazed to see (not literally physically, but with what I call “my spiritual eyes”) a large Angel wing coming from the right, as if the Angel was positioned behind me and wrapping us up with its protective wings. Then another wing proceeded to do the same thing as it came from my left side. Both our precious baby and I were enveloped in God’s amazing protection by his Holy Angel, given to us as an answer to my outcry for help. I felt peace and was then able to successfully nurse our baby with confidence and calm. ~Judy R.
I grew up praying to my Guardian Angel every night and I never “outgrew” this important practice. For my own family, I faithfully beseech my children’s and my husband’s Guardian Angels every day by praying the Guardian Angel prayer one time for each of them, “Angel of God, [family member’s name] guardian dear…”, inserting the family member’s name where it fits. A recent family experience confirmed for me the importance of this practice.
My son celebrated a major college milestone by going skydiving for the first time with some friends. Despite the company having 20 years of safely helping people experience this sport, my motherly concerns were in high gear. We spoke to him while on the way to Mass – and just before he boarded the plane – and everyone prayed to his Guardian Angel at Mass for his safety. Independently of this, his brother was also praying at Mass almost 300 miles from our location. The priest gave an excellent homily about us not having any idea when God will call us home…and yes, our son called us after Mass and began with, “Mom, I’m calling before you see this on the news.”
All of his friends made their jump, with my son being the last one to leave the plane (in fact, he was the last jump of the day). He came safely to earth and then turned to see the plane suddenly point straight downward and nose dive straight into the earth. The young pilot tragically died on impact and we grieve for him and his family. An investigation determined that the engine failed right after my son jumped from the plane. At that point, the pilot lost control and crashed.
We believe God and our son’s Guardian Angel intervened in saving our son and his friends. Interestingly enough, our other son was in a motorcycle accident one week prior to this event and walked away with only minor injuries. I asked both of my sons to please let their guardian angels have some rest! ~Donna J.
I am middle-aged, and believe I have experienced the protection of angels twice in my life.
The first time was approximately 10 years ago, when I was taking a walk through my neighborhood. I approached a creek at the edge of the neighborhood when three large stray dogs came up from the creek banks and began to head straight for me. They seemed menacing and began approaching me faster. I knew they would be close to me very soon, and I had no time to do anything but start saying a prayer to my guardian angel. As soon as I finished the prayer, all three dogs froze immediately, and all three dogs looked at the same point in the air about 5 feet above my right shoulder. Then, as if on cue, they all turned around at the same time, away from me, and went back to the creek area. The way they froze in unison, and the fact that they were all staring at something above me which I couldn't see leads me to believe my Guardian Angel showed himself to the dogs to protect me.
Another time involved the protection of someone else. I was driving slowly through the parking lot of the local pharmacy, and became distracted when I was changing the radio station. When I looked up from the dial, I saw that two women were about to step in front of my car, and I realized I wouldn't have time to stop without hitting one of them! (Although I was driving very slowly, my skin crawled because in an instant I realized I could still harm them as they were about to step in front of my car.) Just as I began braking (and praying to my Guardian Angel!), a gust of wind came. One of the women was wearing a straw hat, and the gust blew the straw hat off of her head. Both women spun around, turning away from my oncoming car. They were laughing and trying to catch the hat. The thing is.... it was a very still, stifling hot day in the middle of the summer, with no breeze to speak of (there hadn't been one for days), much less a gust of wind. I believe, our angels were working together to prevent the women from being hurt (and maybe one of them inspired the woman to wear a hat that day). ~Deanna D.
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