Angels Among Us

March 16, 2010 09:00 AM

We frequently forget about the impact that young people can have on the world, on the Church and on those deeply involved in defending the most vulnerable in our midst. Among them was a very dedicated, prayerful college student named Angela Baird. Known as the “Princess of the Unborn,” Angela died after a hiking accident in November 1997.

I knew about her through a staff member of American Life League, Kate Fitzgerald. Kate was engaged to Angela’s brother, Bryan. I never had the good fortune of meeting Angela, but her inspiration was immense. It was difficult to ignore the impact she had made on her peers, not to mention the rest of the pro-life community. Over the past 13 years, I didn’t think of her as frequently as I did in the days following her untimely death. This fact saddens me now, for I should have. Individuals like Angela don’t come along that often, and we should never forget them.

Recently, a good friend in Wisconsin sent a poem my way that rekindled my thoughts of Angela, not to mention my prayers for her family. As the family web site dedicated to Angela tells us:

As she lie waiting and dying, Angela prayed for two intentions specifically; aborted babies and her dad. She did not complain of the pain, she merely prayed the rosary and to her guardian angel. The students, rescue workers, and medical staff who were with Angela in her last hours all were amazed at her courage and peaceful demeanor, despite the pain from a broken back, pelvis, arm, two legs and massive internal injuries and bleeding. As rumors came down from the mountain that a student had fallen, students quickly filled up the school chapel in prayer. John Finley and Mark Kretschmer, upon hearing of the accident, climbed up the trail to Angela, bringing what medical supplies that were on hand at the campus.
The paramedics carried her out of the ravine to a place where she could be lifted to the helicopter and flown to nearby Ventura County Hospital. Angela was still alert, with Jon's rosary still in her hand. At the hospital, Father Bartholomew de la Torre, a TAC chaplain, administered the Last Sacraments, and she was wheeled into surgery. Her heart stopped on the operating table and could not be revived. It was 1:00 a.m. on November 6th.

LifeSiteNews recalled Angela’s inspiring pro-life spirit on the sixth anniversary of her death, November 6, 2003, reporting,

Apart from her studies and a ministry to female prison inmates with whom she shared the Good News, Angela was a pro-life leader at the college. She went weekly to the local abortion clinic, Family Planning Associates, to offer sidewalk counselling to women seeking abortions. Angela loved the unborn greatly and always asked other students to go with her. On the Thursday that she died, over 100 students went to her usual spot outside of the abortion clinic and prayed.

So, today I want to share this poem with you as a unique way of reminding each and every one of us that there could well be an angel in our midst at any moment. Sometimes, we don’t take the time to look around and marvel at the good works of one of our coworkers, our neighbors or perhaps a sibling in our own family. And, after all, it occurs to me that with all the doom and gloom engulfing this world today, it sure wouldn’t hurt to consider a bit of sunshine and blessedness once in a while.

It is never out of season to remind the world of a single human being’s life that inspired so many and continues to do so amidst all the anger, suffering and pain that occurs daily. So, I present to you a beautiful tribute to a remarkable young woman whose legacy lives on and whose life should be an inspiration to us all. It was written by William Dunn. He knew Angela when she attended Aquinas College. I would never be so bold as to suggest that there is another as strong, as dedicated or as fervent in her love for the preborn child as Angela. But I would suggest that in our midst are many angels. It is my hope that each of us will not be in such a hurry or so busy that we overlook someone as special, as loving, as Christ-like as Angela Baird.

With sincere gratitude, it is my privilege to present this poem of love, admiration and praise:

Angela Baird, Defender of the Unborn
The name that God had given her
Foretold she was His messenger;
She left us when her life began—
Too soon can end time’s running sand.

Her college life had just begun
When autumn days more quickly run,
When students wander by the sea
At night when waves break tenderly.

One night we formed upon the shore,
And gathering wood far waters bore,
We built a fire upon the sand
And weighed with words the worth of man.
 
Her voice beside the flickering light
Began to speak within the night;
It blended with the ocean’s sound
Which filled the darkness all around:

Onetime there was eternal night
With nothing, till God’s lovely Light
First formed the seas and stars above
Forever destined through His love.

Before the world its birth received
Within God’s mind we were conceived;
We walk an hour beside the shore,
Our place here sees us nevermore.

For when our earthly moorings fail
To distant shores our souls shall sail—
For even those whom prison scars
Were made for Light beyond the stars.

Life’s grief may dim life’s mystery—
Will we still hold its sanctity?
The Ocean listens by the shore
And holds our answers evermore.

She then was silent, as were we
Upon these sands beside the sea;
She soon would leave our thoughtful band—
Too soon can end time’s running sand.

When wandering far one fated night
To camp upon the mountain’s height
She slipped upon a rocky ledge
All covered by a leafy hedge.

Then far below she sadly fell
Upon the rocks where sorrows dwell.
Her friends nearby soon ran to her
To help her as her end drew near.

Though many went to comfort her
She was to be their comforter;
In greatest pain she ne’er complained
But on her face compassion reigned.

For those unborn, not for herself
She prayed in perfect death of self.
She prayed then for her father dear
Whose courage all men now revere.

She prayed to Her whose prayer saves—
The Starlight of the ocean waves—
The gentle Mother meek and mild
Who prays for every wounded child.

She prayed that all young mother’s wombs
Might ne’er become untimely tombs;
That children here might savor time,
That all be spared King Herod’s crime.

Though rocks could then her body break
Her soul was kept for God to take;
Life’s greatest trial her heart withstood—
She bravely bore her Cross of wood.

In life she had stood up for life
Enduring opposition’s strife;
In death for life she still had stood—
Her death declared all life is good.

And now she waits beyond the grave
The children whom her prayers will save:
True handmaid of that Mother mild
Who bore for us God’s saving Child.

Now with her voice may earth unite,
For children’s lives may all men fight,
And Mary’s prayers each day employ
Till Rachel’s tears are turned to joy.

We knew she was God’s messenger—
An Angel all remember her;
She left us when her life began—
Too soon can end time’s running sand.

Poem reprinted with permission of Saint Austin Review.

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