Photo © Rosemary Lewis, 2012. All rights reserved.

Copyright © Rosemary Lewis, 2012. All rights reserved.

While on holiday in England last month my husband snapped a picture of me standing in front of a tree. When we looked at the picture we could see a large white orb floating over my head. The orb could have been a malfunction of the camera or perhaps a bit of dust magnified by the moisture in the air. Or is the orb something else? I was reminded of the story my mother had told me when I was young. She had seen an angel when she was only eight years old. Somehow, looking at the picture of me, the tree, and the orb, made me think of my mother’s angel.

My mother’s story begins in Brazil, in the coastal town of Recife where she lived with her mother and father, two brothers, and five sisters. They lived on a small farm, in a house built by my grandfather. My mother’s family was not rich, but they had the basics. They were a very close-knit family and they loved each other.

One summer afternoon my mother, along with her older brother and a younger sister, took the family dog and walked a few miles away through some open meadowland, to visit an uncle. Once there, they played and visited for a few hours, until their uncle told them it was getting late and they should be on their way home. They began walking, but noticed the sun was setting very fast. Their mother had warned them not to wait until dark because there were many poisonous snakes in the fields that separated the two family homesteads. Being young, and thinking they could make it, the three began walking faster.

Determined to make it home, my mother’s brother decided they should take a shortcut through some railroad tracks. He convinced the two girls and they changed their course. It was now almost dark. My mother was scared, but she trusted her brother.

Suddenly something caught their eyes. It was a small ball of light-about the size of a basketball. It was directly in their path, and they were walking towards it. They stopped about ten feet away from the glowing object and stood there watching it, glued to the path. The dog began barking at the ball of light.

Within seconds the ball of light started to grow. It sprung up vertically-taller and taller until it was the size of a telephone pole. The children were terrified but couldn’t run due to fright. It was probably only a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity to my mother. She remembers looking at the tall column of light and seeing two hands folded together in the center, as if the column of light were praying.

A mere second more and all three children turned around and ran, screaming, back to their uncle’s house. In the safety of his home they told him what had happened. He saw how frightened they were and thought perhaps a stranger had somehow startled them. He decided to get his shotgun for protection and walk the children back to their house. They made it without incident. Once there they told their mother what had happened. After listening to all three children go on and on about the strange light that mysteriously grew into a huge tower, my grandmother told them they shouldn’t be afraid. She explained to the children that the column of light was an angel sent from the Lord to protect them and stop them going through the snake path. The angel saved their lives.

The first time my mother told me this story I was mystified. I thought she must be a very special person to have seen an angel. When I was small I was torn between wanting to see an angel, but also being too afraid to go through what my mom did. I was always a little jealous of mom and her angel. And every time I see the picture with me and the orb, I’ll think about her.

—Rosemary Lewis, October 1, 2006

About the Author

Rosemary and her husband Liam make their home in Williamstown, County Galway, Ireland, where they host guests at EdMar B&B.