ASK FATHER: Can babies see angels?

guardian angelFrom a reader…


Some other Catholic moms and I were discussing how babies often gaze off into space and smile. Some of the mom’s said they had been told that babies can see angels. This is certainly a lovely idea, but I was curious to hear your thoughts on it. I know angels are spiritual and non-corporeal beings, but that they have appeared in human form (such as in today’s reading from Tobit in the Ordinary Form of the Mass!). Curious to hear your thoughts on the topic.

I am inclined to say yes.  Here is why.

Friends of mine told me that when their grandson was very little, he would have infantile but seemingly real conversations with someone unseen.  When he visited his grandparent’s house, he immediately latched onto a small statue of an angel, which he would carry about while he was there, though he was always content to leave it at their home and not desire to take it with him.  One day, when he was about two, over the baby monitor in his room his parents heard him talking to someone about where his “binky” (dummy) was.  When they went to the room to investigate, there he was sitting on his bed.  He said, dejected, that he couldn’t see his angel anymore.

Also, one of my favorite saints, St Frances of Rome (d 1440) is famous for having been able to see and communicate with her Guardian Angel.

Possible?  Sure.  I don’t know if all babies can do this, but I suspect that some can… for a while.

Why not?

Do not forget to ask the help of your Angel Guardian and to thank him for his good care.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Mary Jane says:

    I heard (can’t remember where) that when pregnant the mother has both her own and her child’s guardian angel near her, protecting them. Such a cool thing! I believe babies can see angels.

  2. Dan says:

    I would say a definite yes after observing my own children.
    Also I have noted that during Holy Mass it seems that small children become particularly agitated at the moment of the consecration. I have always suspected because they see a lot more of what is going on at that moment than we do, a multitude of Heavenly Host descending perhaps could be a little frightening for a baby although I am sure they deal with it braver than I would if I were blessed to see.

  3. Julia_Augusta says:

    But then why do people stop seeing angels?

  4. pelerin says:

    I have never heard this before. A nice thought but from my limited experience as a mum and grandmother when babies stare into space and smile it is usually wind!

  5. Christ-Bearer says:


    `Of the angels he says:
    “He makes his angels winds” ‘

    Hebrews 1:7

  6. LDP says:

    Interestingly, this relates to something else that I was told about children. I very much doubt that the Church has anything official to say on the subject, falling rather into the sphere of speculation, but our priest – solidly conservative – once told me quite openly that much so-called ‘poltergeist activity’ could be attributed to the latent psychic force strangely present in some adolescents. The idea being, I suppose, that the temporal and spiritual realms come into close contact around the particular child, thus leading to objects rattling etc. Poltergeists are, in this line of thought, not actually ‘ghosts’ as such, but rather a manifestation of ‘psychic force’. Though harmless, this activity could seem terrifying to those unaware of the reasons behind it. Exorcism then would not have an effect on such activity either as there is no spirit or evil to combat. Why children would be affected in particular though, I could only conjecture.

    I would, however, like to make clear that this is only what I have been told – no, informally mooted as a possibility – by one individual priest and I do not in general dwell unhealthily on matters of the supernatural. I just thought it relevant to the discussion.

  7. Herman Joseph says:

    Hi LDP

    I’ve studied this area in depth, having grown up non-Catholic and having encountered these kinds of things. Very creepy, frightening. After my conversion, in 1993 brought into the Church, I then studied Theology at Franciscan University, and I studied this topic in depth, and have done so since then since these things are becoming so common and I needed answers for people when I worked at our diocese and now when I teach. I’ve looked at many, many cases of “poltergeist” activity. In every case I have seen and experienced first hand (not on purpose–dangerous to go looking for that stuff–ghost hunting, etc, so, so, so dangerous), most of them not first hand (thankfully) there seems an intelligence that is beyond the mind of the young person around whom the activity happens. Could some instances involve some ability of which we know not? Sure. But all I’ve seen so far myself is a high intelligence that, in my opinion, could not possibly come from the mind of a tween or teen, even a very smart one. Destruction is another element that is often involved, and the happenings appear deliberately calculated to cause fear; these two elements, destruction and fear, also speak to an intelligent origin that is demonic. As for prayers being ineffective, they would be if the source is simply the mind of a crazed tween or teen (wait…they are all crazed though, I see this daily in my house). But cases of demonic infestation can take a good while to deal with, and initially prayers can make things seemingly worse at first; demons fight back, and they actually fight more vigorously the closer they are to being cast out. Well, that’s my two cents for an unpleasant topic. Your priest could sure be right about some cases. How many they would be in the grand scheme I don’t know. Anyway, all I have studied seem to have a demonic origin. Mostly I study Mariology, happily. But let me end on a few bright notes: Our Lady crushes the head of the devil and also heals people–including crazed tweens and teens. Either way, going to her is the thing to do. It’s also a fact that St. Philomena oil is very, very helpful for kids experiencing night terrors…a mysterious happening in its own right. I would think it would help if any of these disturbances are merely a weird form of teen angst. And our latest little one, now two, but at about 1.5 she would happily follow something high up in rooms of our house, something clearly moving about. She wasn’t scared, but was very happy. She was focused on something, and this happened many times.

  8. Tamara T. says:

    I believe this to be true. My youngest daughter, who is 20 yrs. old now, and I were eating lunch together when she was around two and a half. She was facing our living room and spontaneously started giggling at something in the living room. I kept looking over my shoulder wondering what caught her attention but saw nothing and the TV was not on. When I helped her down from her seat she went into that room, looked around and then turned to me with her palms up and said “Where did he go?” I immediately called my best friend and had her stay on the phone with me while I checked all the rooms. It totally freaked me out.
    Since then, I have observed this with several children over the years and in hindsight I have often wondered if this is their guardian angel.

  9. mwa says:

    Before my last daughter was very verbal, there was a period when she very often wanted to hear this story Angel in the Waters
    even though it always made her cry. I wondered if she was missing seeing her angel.

  10. guans says:

    “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,

    and what has not entered the human heart,

    what God has prepared for those who love him,”
    1 Corinthians 2:9

  11. Liz says:

    I’ve suspected this as well. When my babies would look at blank walls in the back of church and then smile and smile it seems so unusual. I finally figured out that I thought they were seeing angels.

    Neat story about your friend’s grandson, Father!

  12. ChgoCatholic says:

    It makes sense. I had an experience while pregnant with my first that confirmed it for me. I was sleeping and was coming out of a nightmare of some sort, in that stage of light sleep but partly awake. My husband wasn’t in the room at the time. Before opening my eyes, I prayed to my guardian angel and that of my unborn child for protection. I next witnessed the presence of two enormous, imposing, white, glowing figures with wings, as tall as the ceiling and wide as the door. One stood by the bed and the other by the door, like centurions. I wouldn’t say I was afraid of them, but they were awe striking, to the point where it startled me. But I also immediately felt safe, and was able to drift back to sleep.


  14. caesare86 says:

    A priest friend of mine related a story from a married couple with whom he was having dinner. They mentioned that they had a 4(ish) year old sleeping in the same room as their 18(ish) month old. A video/audio monitor was in the room of course. The two would converse often, the younger one giggling and baby talking, the older one speaking clearly. One time the 4 year old approached the 18 month and said, “Tell me how to see God again, I’m forgetting what He looks like.” The 18 month old started doing the normal baby talk, happy babbling and then the 4 year old laughed and, reassured, went back to bed.

    Makes you wonder!

  15. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    I think I’ve recounted this episode once before here, but it has been some time, I think. Back when it was safer for churches to remain unlocked, my mother went to say the Stations of the Cross in our parish church one afternoon, and brought my 5-year-old brother and sister (fraternal twins) with her. No one seemed to be in the church when she entered and began the Stations. After some time, the twins asked if they could go up near the altar, and sing. “We want to sing _Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam_!” they told her. She replied yes, and looked carefully about, to confirm that no other visitors were there. The twins went up near the altar, and sang the song a few times while Mom continued her Stations, glancing in their direction from time to time. Then home they went, and that was that.

    After supper that evening, Mom overheard the twins discussing “the man up on the altar” they had seen that afternoon, who had smiled at them. Thinking that they were referring to one of the statues or crucifixes, Mom replied that statues don’t smile. “No, Mom, this was the real man who was up on the altar. He smiled at Frank and me while we were singing.” “But there was no man,” Mom replied, “I didn’t see anyone.” “Yes, there was, Mom,” Frank insisted, “we both saw him.” They described “the man” as dressed in white, and seemed surprised that Mom hadn’t noticed him, too.

    For the rest of her life, my mother was mystified by the episode.

  16. Swedenhorse says:

    My children have strayed from the church, my son had a daughter and I pray everyday to her guardian angel, as well as my expectant grandchild still in the womb. To their guardian angels, that people in the children’s lives will bring them to God and the angels protect them. My children live far from me so I am not able to come in direct contact to be that person.

  17. aegsemje says:

    Yes! Several of my children have done similar things. Daughter #3 would smile and coo at a crucifix as an infant. Daughter#4 talks about seeing an angel in the bathroom when she was little. My son would point at the ceiling and laugh and babble as a toddler.

  18. Mary Jane says:

    Once during homeschool, one of our sons (age 4) suddenly said, “Mom do you remember when God smiled at me?” I was surprised, but I have sometimes suspected that very small children see things we adults do not. Of course wanting to know more I said, “God? God smiled at you? Where did this happen?”

    He said, “At mass.”

    I said, “Wow, He smiled at you?!” Son replied, “Yes, He smiled at me then He walked away.”

    Hmm…I thought. I asked, “Do you mean Father ___ (our Pastor)?”

    He said. “Yup.” :)

    So not a Guardian Angel sighting, but still a cute story. FWIW, Father was wearing the cassock.

  19. scholastica says:

    We’ve had many such instances. The of my five children had very real invisible friends who had names, a place at the table, were buckled up in the car, etc. I’m convinced now that these were their guardian angels. Also, I would lay my oldest son on my bed when he was an infant and not yet rolling. There was an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe over my bed. He would lay there gazing at the image and “coo” for a long time. I believe that she was speaking with him. Then my youngest son seemed to see Jesus at Mass in the person of the priest when he was two. Our family made a two week pilgrimage with my spiritual director, so we were with him all day and at every meal. However, as we would wait for the priest before Mass, my son would look all around and say, ” where is Jesus?”. When the priest would enter the sanctuary vested, he would exclaim, “There He is! There is Jesus!” This only happened at Holy Mass, also it continued for a while at our parish church when we returned. Of course we know that, “blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God ” .

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