L’Osservatore Chicago: ‘Hello, this is the Little Angel’
Think of the glorious art with a Christian theme. Music inspired by the Church. All the story themes that never dry up for lack of meaning. Architectural feats like Chartres Cathedral that command their space. Tales of saints and martyrs.
And all these come, in Wordsworth’s words, “trailing clouds of glory.” They all convey more than their presence. They have half-lives and quarter-lives and secret effects. Every piece is rich in allusion.
Take angels, as The New York Times did recently. The brain reels at the possibilities. The Times’ story told how once you bring the notion of angel into play, there follow their “clouds of glory,” the knowledge that is already in our heads about these messengers from God.
This angel in the story, though, is not Fra Angelico’s austerely dignified angel giving Mary the news of her impending pregnancy. Nor is it an archangel fighting off Beelzebub. A Dutch sculptor asked to replace 14 angels on a cathedral in the Netherlands took a fanciful flight and represented one of the angels in jeans with a laptop bag over one shoulder and clutching a cellphone.
Now the angel gets about 30 calls a day. Once they saw the angel on their cathedral, people brought into play the notions they already had of angels as helpmeets and began to plead their cases to the unlikely-dressed angelic visitor.
Of course it takes some human help in the person of a couple willing to answer the angel’s phone and succor those who plead for help with their grandmother’s health or surcease of loneliness or assistance to fund sink repairs.
The woman who provides the angel’s voice always answers, “Hello, this is the Little Angel.” Then various things can happen, she says. The caller spells out his or her problem. “My answer is always the same: I will blow some angel magic to you,” she said.
“The angel is a celebrity,” according to the Times story. “Church attendance may be flagging and the Catholic Church’s image tarnished by past child-abuse scandals, but the cathedral had become the buzz of the town.”
Margery Frisbie, a graduate of Mundelein College, has raised lots of kids and written lots of columns. She is the author of several local histories, two graphic histories published in Europe, and An Alley in Chicago, the Life and Legacy of Monsignor John Egan.
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