The Angel of Hope was inspired by Richard Paul Evan’s national bestseller, The Christmas Box. It is the story of a woman who mourns the loss of her child at the base of an angel monument. The original monument that the partly fictional tale speaks of, was destroyed by floods in 1984. Richard Paul Evans commissioned a new angel in response to reports of parents seeking out the Angel as a place to grieve and heal. That monument now lies in the Salt Lake City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was dedicated on December 6, 1994-corresponding to the date of the child’s death in The Christmas Box. To date, there are over 100 Angel statues nationwide, one of which is right here in Cenla.
Central Louisiana’s Angel of Hope was placed in 2007, and on December 6th of that same year, we gathered around for our first annual Angel of Hope ceremony. We join together each year on December 6th at 7:00pm to remember and honor our children as the brilliant gifts that they were. However they were taken from us, we share a pain so great, it is hard for others to imagine and understand our grief. To forget our children or pretend that life can go on as usual is impossible. This Angel of Hope brings families and friends together where they can gather around an abundance of love and comfort by others sharing the same loss. We have a beautiful short service performed by Father Fred from St. James Episcopal Church, and Rev. Lee Weems of the Bereaved Parents Support Group, and then everyone is given the opportunity to speak the name of the ones whom they hold in their hearts, as they lay a white rose at the base of the Angel, and then light a candle. The harp plays in the background as we remember our children. Many parents have told me that this service gives them a peace. They feel as if their child has not been forgotten and as difficult as the holidays can be, are able to move forward feeling hope.
If you look closely, you can find in the Angel’s right wing the word ‘Hope’. It took me a while to find when I finally saw the Angel in person. But now, my eyes are drawn to that spot each time I see her. I am sure there is a symbolic explanation. Perhaps it was designed this way to show us in our deepest grief, although it is hard to find…Hope is there.
Central Louisiana’s Angel of Hope Statue is located in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery. At the base of the Angel is a brick patio where you may purchase a brick with your beloved child’s name. The Angel is a nondenominational monument meant for not only parents who have lost a child but anyone affected by that loss. All welcome to attend the candlelight service December 6th at 7:00pm. White roses and candles will be provided. For more information, please call (318) 308-6878.