GREENVILLE — Angie Smiley, a mother of four, is not just drawn to her own motherhood. “I tend to be a spiritual mother to everyone I meet,” said the Louisiana native. “It seems like no matter what spiritual ministry I’m doing, by the time I’ve finished meeting someone or getting to know them, I’m praying for them, giving them a linebacker hug or listening to whatever it is that they need me to listen to.”
Through a friend, Smiley said she came to realize she has the charism of intercessory prayer. “Some people just love to pray. It’s sort of a conduit between heaven and earth,” said Smiley. “I find myself in a setting where I’m with strangers and, in my mind, I just go into praying for whatever is going on. It runs in families — my mother, me and my sisters, we are ‘prayers,’ people come to us and ask us to pray for them.”
Through an initiative called the Seven Sisters Apostolate, Smiley is now fond of prayer for her pastor, Fr. Michael Warden. “There’s seven of us ‘sisters,’ and we pray a holy hour each week for our priest, for his needs,” she said. “If there would be a priest and an associate pastor, you’d do it separately for each of them. Everybody has a different day.”
Smiley prays for her pastor on Tuesdays. “It doesn’t matter which church you do it at, as long as you’re in front of the tabernacle,” she said. “You can pray anytime during the day. The prayers are uniquely yours.” In addition to praying the rosary, she recites the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. “The rest of the time I sometimes read Scripture and sometimes I sit quietly because I need that in my life,” she added.
Smiley is also involved in another prayer ministry for priests called Vianney Cenacle. “We pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament from 5 to 6 the first Thursday of the month for the sanctification of all priests and for an increase in vocations to the priesthood,” she said.
A registered nurse by profession, Smiley’s job now is taking care of her family — which includes husband Gary and children, Maegan, 29, Gary Jr., 25, Marice, 21, and Nina, 16 — and doing volunteer work. She uses her nursing skills as a volunteer in a local free clinic.
She prepares the church sanctuary on Fridays for weekend Masses and, along with several other women, dusts the church on the first Saturday of the month. Other parish services include teaching kindergarten faith formation, coordinating altar servers, delivering Communion to two homebound parishioners every week, and directing summer vacation Bible school with her two youngest daughters.
In addition to Smiley’s weekly holy hour for her priest, she has a personal holy hour on Wednesday mornings. “I’m happiest when I’m in adoration. My happy place is at (Christ’s) feet,” she said.
After dropping off her youngest daughter at Xavier High School in Appleton, she attends Mass at St. Bernard Parish and makes a point to attend first Friday and first Saturday Masses each month.
Smiley said she keeps a prayer journal. “One of the goals on my bucket list was to have a thousand prayer intentions,” she said. “I am about to hit 2,000. For those intentions I pray the Novena to the Sacred Heart and I pray a rosary and a chaplet and offer my Communion.”
Keeping up with a vigorous prayer routine can be a challenge, she said. “The days when I feel like I shouldn’t be praying are the days the devil is trying to keep me from it,” said Smiley. “I always offer my day to God and I always ask him to replace my will with his will and let me do what he wants me to do that day so I become the saint that he created me to be. I’ve made enough mistakes in my life. I let him do the driving now.”
A life of prayer suits Smiley just fine, she said. “I feel like I was restless, always searching for what my identity was and what it was I was supposed to do with my life until I figured it out,” she added. “It is to serve God and whatever he wants you to do at that time.”