October 2: The Wounded Guardian Angels of Las Vegas

Like many of you, I woke up this morning having Guardian Angels on my mind, whose memorial the church sets before us today. Like most of you, I woke up this morning to news of the carnage in Las Vegas. It seems almost impossible to hold the two together – until, that is, I remembered the startling painting by Hugo Simberg, “The Wounded Angel” (1903), which I saw in the Finnish National Gallery a couple of years ago. The painting shows an angel on a stretcher carried by two boys. The angel’s wing is torn, the eyes are covered by a bandage, and the figure leans heavily on the stretcher.

This morning, I see many Guardian Angels like that, being carried away, wounded and exhausted, in Las Vegas.


  1. Teresa, Thank you for your reflection and for this powerful painting. I had the same thoughts you did as I preached my brief homily for this morning’s Mass. Ironically, the name of the cathedral of the Diocese of Las Vegas is “Guardian Angel Cathedral.”

    1. I am stunned by the name of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Las Vegas (this is an unusual — fairly recent — patronage for a cathedral, no?). Thank you for letting people like me — relatively far away — know. Now I imagine all the wounded Guardian Angels being brought into this Cathedral, dazed, and exhausted, and oh so deeply pained.

  2. Let us keep in mind and be comforted by the final verse of today’s Gospel, as we pray for those who have died, those who are injured, and all who mourn:

    “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
    – Matthew 18:10

  3. Absolutely one of my favorite feast days since my childhood. I am so happy that this coincidence(?) is out there for people to read as they deal with the tragedy of these events today!

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