If there is not a Guardian Angel of the Week award in Heaven, maybe the Lord should start that now!

My heavenly guardian angel took home the gold yesterday, a day in which I was also assisted by two earthly guardian angels!

It’s a day I’m calling “roller coaster Sunday,” as in the ups and downs of a roller coaster ride!

After the 10:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s, the Rome church for Catholic Americans and other English-speaking Catholics, I went, as I do every Sunday, to Homebaked for Sunday brunch. I’ve written about Homebaked and posted numerous photos in the three years they’ve been open near St. Peter’s Square.

As always on a Sunday, it was jam-packed and people were also waiting outside but I always have a seat at the counter on Sundays so I just went in. Seconds after I sat down, a good friend who often comes in on Sundays sat down next to me and we started chatting. After perhaps 20 minutes, I said I had a photo to show him and went to get my phone in my purse and my purse was gone! Phone, house keys, small cosmetic holder with medicine, wallet with some money, 2 credit cards, Italian ID cards, my bus pass, health insurance card, etc. I had also put in a small umbrella that morning!

I have a small purse holder that I always use in restaurants, etc. The top, about the size of a half dollar, sits on the table and the metal part hangs down and holds the purse. I had not yet placed this on the counter and my purse was on the chair and I was about to move it when…..

In fact, Jesse’s first question was: was the purse on your little holder?

I don’t get hysterical or anything like that in such moments but I did have the breath knocked out of me!  Well, Jesse and Caroline of Homebaked and my friend Geoffrey started to get the ball rolling. Soon customers are looking under their chairs, especially a couple next to us at the counter – everyone checking the floor, etc. Jesse went to the restroom to see if someone had taken it and left it there. Carolina was visibly upset!

I knew that I could not even get into my apartment building to get on my laptop to cancel credit cards, phone people, etc. because our building’s main front door was brand new and each tenant was given only one key. However, I knew that if I
could at least get into the building and find our doorman, Carlo, he had keys to my apartment. But I had no keys and his number was in my now gone cell phone!

I live only two blocks from Homebaked. Geoffrey walked me to my place and, thank the Lord, a family was walking in the building and we followed. I rang Carlo’s apartment but no answer – I didn’t expect one on a Sunday. We then checked my apartment to see if whoever took my purse and keys and an address but could see no evidence of anyone being there.

We ran into another man who lives in the building, Claudio, whom I did not know and he could not have been nicer. We went to his house and his wife had Carlo’s phone number so we called Carlo who said he be there as soon as possible with keys. I truly felt terrible disturbing him on his only day off!

Just as Claudio was speaking to Carlo and then handing me the phone, Geoffrey’s phone rang and it was Carolina from Homebaked who said – absolutely unbelievably! – that the police had my purse and I was to go to the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square!  I handed the phone back to Claudio and asked him to tell Carlo they had found my purse (even though we did not know if the keys were there). I said, given that we had to meet the police, Carlo could leave the keys at Capitano Cono, a coffee bar-gelateria-restaurant next to our apartment building and perhaps continue his Sunday afternoon.

Geoffrey and I went back to Homebaked, Jesse told us what do and we went to the square and sure enough, a real miracle, two totally delightful policeman had my bag!  The only thing missing were two credit cards, my Italian bancomat (ATM) card and 110€!

Here’s the kicker!

This is where the guardian angels came into play (though Geoffrey had been with me all along)!

Jesse, my earthly guardian angel, had been so upset when he heard my purse was gone that he did two amazing things!  He went to all the dumpsters he knew of within blocks of Homebaked because often thieves throw a purse in a dumpster after they’ve taken what they want.

Secondly: In between and while searching dumpsters, Jesse kept calling my cell phone!  A total of 14 times! And that is what one of the policemen heard as he walked around the square! He heard my phone ringing under the left hand colonnade, spotted the purse, and answered the phone!

I am not making this up!

Two miracles associated with the phone: 1. Thankfully, I had charged it that morning. 2. I always switch the phone from ringer to vibrate when I am in church and 90% of the time or more, I forget, for a day or two, to turn the ringer back on. Yesterday, who knows why (a nudge from a guardian angel?), I actually remembered to turn the ringer on!

So the highs and lows, the ups and downs (actually the downs and then ups!) of my roller coaster Sunday!

And Carlo brought keys to Capitano Cono, the last piece to fall into place.

Jesse and Carolina might have been more distressed than I was when this happened but, thank the Lord, the purse was found, no one was hurt and it ended as Shakespeare said: “All’s well that ends well!”

I did, however, get a fraud alert from Chase bank asking me if a transaction at Footlocker was mine or not. I said it was fraud and they immediately cancelled that card and charge.

Part of Sunday afternoon and this morning I was busy taking care of the other credit card and my Italian ATM card. I had alerted the bank yesterday and a new card was already waiting for me this morning when I arrived at the bank to sign papers.

By late afternoon, half of me was quite wound up and the other half was extremely
tired.  I said a rosary of thanksgiving – especially for Guardian Angels! – and had a quiet evening at home.

I thanked the Lord for his several miracles of the day, for the positive outcome of what had been a very distressing moment and for making me more aware than ever of the many people in my life who care so much for me and who jumped in to help immediately, no questions asked. People who bring a big smile to my face as I end this saga!

I asked God to bless my earthly guardian angels and perhaps tell my heavenly one, “job well done!”