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Angela Wimmer in Quito, Ecuador.

April 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Texas family has continued to cling to its Catholic faith following the loss of a beloved daughter to a suspected drunk driver last fall.

Holy Week and Easter will have special meaning this year for the Wimmer family of Muenster as they continue to grieve the loss of Angela Wimmer and embrace their faith in God as their strength.

“This Easter will be very sad,” Linda Wimmer said. “But we trust that the Lord is in control and we offer our daughter to Him without hesitation, because He is God and knows what’s best for her.”

“This is our Cross,” she said. “We carry it all throughout Lent, and especially Holy Week, and offer to him our beloved daughter for the Church and its purification and for the outrages against the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Everyone has his cross, Linda Wimmer told LifeSiteNews, “and if this cross we bear with Angela can get us to Heaven, then we give the Lord whatever He wants.” 

Twenty-five-year-old Angela Wimmer was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver in Denver, Colorado, on September 30 of last year. She was returning home from Mass near her house.

She died just after 3:00 P.M.

“Words cannot express how completely heartbroken and full of grief we are at her death,” Linda Wimmer told LifeSiteNews in the weeks following her death. “We pray for the repose of her soul, to recognize this painful reality of her death and to remember her sweet and joyful spirit in the 25 years of her life.”

The family lost so much in losing her, she said — a daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, and grandchild — that the gap will always be felt.

The accident

On her way home from Mass that day, Angela was stopped at a red light a block away from her house, when the driver rear-ended her at high speed. She was taken to the hospital, where she died of internal injuries. The family would learn that Angela received Extreme Unction and an apostolic blessing by a priest in the hospital while her body was still warm. 

The man accused in the crash had a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit 90 minutes after the crash, according to a local news report, and had six prior DUI convictions.

As a result of the crash, Todd Grudznske faces charges of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, vehicular homicide-DUI, vehicular homicide-reckless driving, three counts of attempted first-degree assault, felony DUI, violation of a protection order, and reckless driving, along with two counts of committing a crime of violence, a sentencing-enhancer.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held without bail. Grudznske is scheduled to go on trial June 3.

Embracing God’s plan, even without understanding

Regarding the trial, Linda Wimmer told LifeSiteNews, “We ask for your prayers for God’s will to be done.”

She said she reconciled the manner of Angela’s death very soon after she was gone, and even though she has prayed the rosary for the family’s spiritual and physical protection every day for years without fail, she does know that we are not in charge of life, which comes from the Creator.

“I have forgiven the driver from the beginning,” Linda Wimmer said. “I was upset of course on how he could have had so many DUIs and had not learned from them. But there is a bigger picture we must see. Perhaps God is working on his soul through Angela.”

“It’s not all about the driver,” she continued. “It’s a bigger picture that God has not revealed to us. God allowed this evil action for some reason beyond our understanding. Perhaps this was the best time to take her.”

Linda Wimmer said that in the future, she would talk to Grudznske when the time is right to help him if he is open to it.

“I do believe that Justice must be obtained for the driver on this earth for the wrong he has done and to keep dangerous people off the road to save lives,” she added. “But I pray for his soul and his conversion and so that he might not despair. I know Angela would want that, too.” 

Prayer and Catholic devotion

The Wimmer family is very devoted to Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Linda Wimmer is also devoted to St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

She’d just finished a nine-hour novena to St. Therese on Friday, September 28, and a novena to St. Michael the Archangel for her family, leading up to the September 29 feast of the Archangels. She’d completed a novena to St. Padre Pio as well three weeks before Angela died.

“I did a nine-hour novena two days prior to Angela’s death and she died the same day that St Thérèse died, September 30,” Linda Wimmer said. “I believe these all to be signs that her soul was saved. Not that she entered heaven directly, but that she was gifted to purgatory by the favors of these three persons, St. Padre Pio, St. Michael, and St. Thérèse, at her death. Of course the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary with St. Joseph as well, and so many more.”

Her smile and warm personality captured the heart and soul of all

Angela loved her family very much, her mother recalled. She was a great planner and never forgot a family member’s birthday. She loved time at Christmas and Easter with her family. Her smile and warm personality captured the heart and soul of all who interacted with her, and she was not afraid to laugh and be funny.

When she was born, her father Randy cried tears of joy at seeing his baby girl, Linda Wimmer said, and he doesn’t cry often.

It was one of her greatest joys to homeschool Angela.

“Later I loved to see her grow into a beautiful young woman,” Linda Wimmer said, “confident in everything she did and vibrantly devoted to her Catholic faith and teachings.”

Living the faith in each day

She remarked how the Holy Eucharist followed Angela closely at birth and at death.

“When I delivered Angela, the priest had just given me Holy Communion at the time of delivery,” she said. “And when she died, she had just received Holy Communion.”

One day when Angela was a small child and ventured into the field in the family’s backyard, she did not realize there were cows in the field, her mother said, and when they walked toward her, she became frightened.

“Running back to the house, she told me, ‘The cows were gonna get me. I didn’t know what to do so I started praying to Mary and she helped me get back to the house,’” Linda Wimmer recalled. “My daughter had this live faith from an early age.”

The Wimmer home has always been full of Catholic sacramentals. There is frequent use of holy water, holy oil, and holy salt; priestly blessings of the home; prayer before meals; Marian processions; and so much more, Linda Wimmer said.

“We told them not to be afraid to show the faith,” she said. “We raised Angela and all the children with traditional Catholic values. Nothing heroic, just practicing the basics of the faith as all families might do.” 

The family has always been spiritually uplifted by direction from holy priests as well, she said, and has a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and the messages Our Lady taught of prayer and penance.

Angela was confirmed in the Latin Rite and chose for her Confirmation saint Saint Margaret Mary, whom the Sacred Heart appeared to. She grasped the love for sacramentals and continued to keep and display them after leaving home.

“She was close to the Blessed Mother,” said Linda Wimmer. “She knew to say her rosary and was devoted to it.”

After homeschooling, Angela entered Christendom College for two years, studying liberal arts with theology, philosophy, and Latin. While there, she took the opportunity to deepen her faith by frequenting the sacraments available daily at the college and met Catholic friends.

The family taught her that it’s not the number of friends you have, but the quality of friend and taught her to find friends who would help her get to Heaven.

Angela Wimmer graduated from Christendom in 2015 and was a certified ophthalmic technician in Colorado. She’d moved out there a year before her death to live with Catholic college roommates. She loved nature, climbing mountains, and hiking.

Angela had met a young man a few months before her death who was a baptized Catholic but not fully grounded in his faith and knowledge of it, and she was trying to help him grow in it. “She was discerning some changes in her life after meeting her boyfriend, so I began praying that the changes would be within God’s will,” her mother said.

Springtime of faith

Angela’s 26th birthday was Monday, April 15, the first day of Holy Week. The family planted two snowball bushes for her and will watch them bloom in the spring.

“We miss her deeply,” Linda Wimmer told LifeSiteNews. “We pray for our daughter every day.”

Linda Wimmer has been having continuous Masses said for her daughter, nine or 10 a month. Among the family and their many friends and loved ones across the country, hundreds of Masses have been offered.

“I realize that the Holy Mass is the highest form of prayer,” she told LifeSiteNews. “Every day I attend holy Mass if able, and offer a plenary indulgence with usual conditions. I try to attend weekly Confession to receive the indulgence for her. It’s like a mission to help her get to heaven.”

Linda Wimmer told LifeSiteNews that she believes in God’s holy will and that God allows evil to happen for a greater cause.

“She was meant to live just 25 years old,” she said of Angela. “I do not know why He took her so suddenly but He knows what is best for her. I don’t ever question His mighty ways because He is all knowing, all loving and all judging.”

“We hope she is in Heaven but if she’s in purgatory, we pray for her release soon,” said Linda Wimmer. “I get comfort due to Masses said for her. We will never stop the Masses and will never forget her.”

The family has organized a local Divine Mercy Sunday service in their community for many years. Angela would help her mother with part of the preparation when she was at home for the holy hour.

“I was joyful to know the Lord took her at 3:05 pm,” Angela Wimmer told LifeSiteNews. “The hour of Mercy.”

“This Divine Mercy will be very meaningful to us this year,” she said.

“We are hopeful that through the mercy of God she may be there in heaven,” she said. “But as Catholics we must continue to pray for a lifetime.”

The family was looking into Angela’s room at a notebook that she was writing and found this letter from her:

Why does God let bad things happen to good people? We could turn the question around and ask why good things happen to bad people. I believe that we are created as humans in the first place to be given the chance to spend eternity in pure happiness with God. He does not force us to do anything though—we are given free will to choose between good and evil. We were created to know, love, and serve God. He gave us a great gift by allowing us to be born and given a chance. However, we experience grief, loss, and devastating suffering: Holocaust, wars, cancer, death. God is all knowing, all powerful, and all good. All of our problems and our suffering are a result of man's rebellion against God. But God provided a relief in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem us by dying on the cross for us, the greatest act of Love. It is a mystery why God allows people to suffer. I believe that we are in this life for a purpose. I can't think that we are living in this world just to be born, suffer and die. We are humans with feelings, hearts, and souls. We feel things deeply because we were given this by God that created us. —by Angela Wimmer in 2018


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