The Princess Ileana was born, Baptized, and Christmated in 1909 in Bucharest, Romania, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie. She lived through WWI, and soon followed the example of her mother in works of charity. At the age of 22, she married Archduke Anton of Austria, with whom she had six children. In March 1944, she moved her family back to Castle Bran in Romania to escape Nazi oppression during WWII. There she built a hospital in honor of her mother before moving her family to Argentina, then the United States. When her children were grown, through college, and married, Princess Ileana devoted her life to God by becoming a nun. Mother Alexandra served as abbess of the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA, until her repose in the Lord in 1991.
Mother Alexandra was blessed to actually see her guardian angel as a child - the angel who would protect and guide her throughout her difficult but faithful life…
It was early morning, when I was seven years old, that I saw the angels. I am as sure of it now as I was then. I was not dreaming, nor "seeing things" - I just know they were there, plainly, clearly, distinctly. I was neither astonished nor afraid. I was not even awed - I was only terribly pleased. I wanted to talk to them and touch them.
Our night nursery was lit by the dawn and I saw a group of angels standing, as if chatting, around my brother's bed. I was aware of this, although I could not hear their voices. They wore long flowing gowns of various soft-shaded colors. Their hair came to their shoulders, and different in color from fair and reddish to dark brown. They had no wings. At the foot of my brother Mircea's bed stood one heavenly being, a little aside from the others - taller he was, and extraordinarily beautiful, with great white wings. In his right hand he carried a lighted taper; he did not seem to belong to the group of angels gathered around the bed. He clearly stood apart and on watch. I knew him to be the guardian angel. I then became aware that at the foot of my own bed stood a similar celestial creature. He was tall, his robe was dark blue with wide, loose sleeves. His hair was auburn, his face oval, and his beauty such as I cannot describe because it was comparable to nothing human. His wings swept high and out behind him. One hand was lifted to his breast, while in the other he carried a lighted taper. His smile can only be described as angelic; love, kindness, understanding, and assurance flowed from him. Delighted, I crawled from under the bedcovers and, kneeling up against the end of the bed, I stretched out my hand with the ardent wish to touch my smiling guardian, but he took a step back, put out a warning hand, and gently shook his head. I was so close to him I could have reached him easily. "Oh, please don't go," I cried; at which words all the other angels looked toward me, and it seemed I heard a silvery laugh, but of this sound I am not so certain, though I know they laughed. Then they vanished.
I was but a child when I saw my guardian angel. As time passed I still sporadically remembered and acknowledged his presence, but mostly, I ignored him… .
Excerpted from Mother Alexandra, The Holy Angels, Still River, Mass.: St. Bede's Publications, 1981, p. 193 (epilogue).
© 1999 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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