Gereon leapt up, wondering where the voice had come from. It was the second time he’d heard it that night, the first time occurring at 2 a.m. The other soldiers laughed at him, saying he’d been dreaming.
But the voice was persistent. Gereon suddenly understood that he had to dig. He immediately went to work for hours digging a foxhole for himself, while the other soldiers wondered if he’d lost his mind.
Later that morning, enemy bombers dropped their payload. Everyone was killed—except for Gereon and another soldier who listened when he’d told him to dig a hole.
Gereon found out later that a friend of his—a nun who prayed for him frequently—had woken up at 2 a.m. that same night, fearing terribly for his safety. She had gone to the chapel and prayed till morning for the guardian angels to protect him.
This is only one amazing episode in the wartime experience of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM.
His story is so incredible it’s better than the movies.
Gereon Goldmann was a German Franciscan seminarian who was drafted into the Wehrmacht, the German regular army, at the outset of World War II. He was soon sent into the Schutzstaffel—better known as the dreaded SS—but reassigned when he refused to renounce his Catholic faith.
Throughout the course of the war, Gereon not only kept his faith in the face of vicious persecution—he also refused to participate in the evil done by Germany’s armies, finished his studies, was ordained to the priesthood, and ministered to German Catholic soldiers and innocent civilians caught up in the horrors of war.
How he did it is an astounding testament to God’s Providence, the power of prayer and faith, and God’s singular ability to draw immense good out of the most dreadful circumstances. Fr. Goldmann’s story is proof that God’s care never fails and that nothing is impossible for Him.