Sources returnpage

Snell, Joy

Category: Ordinary person

Joy Snell was a registered nurse, whose life was devoted to nursing the terminally ill.  She is best known for one book The Ministry of Angels, first published in April 1918, which is an account of her experiences as she ministered to the dying over twenty years. 

The Ministry of Angels

The recognition, while the mind is still clear, of the near approach of death causes men and women, I believe, more than does anything else, to disclose their real characters. Then, it seems to me, the soul throws aside all that has served to conceal its true nature, and shows itself as it really is, beautiful or hideous. And to the nurse, more clearly even than to the doctor or the minister, does the soul, under these circumstances, reveal itself. For the visits of the doctor or minister the patient is, in a measure, generally prepared. Then the habits of a lifetime often reassert themselves and the soul hides itself from scrutiny.  But this mask cannot be maintained throughout the long hours that the nurse is in attendance on the patient, especially in the night watches, when the one who has heard the dread summons cannot sleep and wrestles with the question, What comes after death?

Joy was a gifted "sensitive" and had been since she was a child, able to see spirits and the aura of people.  As such she was able to describe quite graphically the visions she had of the spirits of the deceased who came to assist their relatives or friends ‘at the supreme hour’, as well as the things she ‘saw’ of what happened to the dying person’s spirit.

The Ministry of Angels

After I became a professional nurse, a vocation which I followed for some twenty years, I witnessed scores of deaths. And always, immediately afterwards, I saw the spirit form, in appearance an etherealized duplicate of the human form, take shape above the body in which life had become extinct, and then vanish from my sight.

Development of Psychic gifts

The Ministry of Angels

The first of my many strange experiences, from which I long ago learned that at times I see things which to most people are invisible, and hear sounds which to them are inaudible, occurred when I was twelve years old. With a brother two years older than myself, I was then living with an aunt in the north of Ireland. My father, a captain in the British army, was stationed in India. I awoke one night to find the room filled with light, as though flooded with sunlight, and pervaded by a delicious odour such as emanates from the most exquisitely fragrant flowers, but the fragrance was imbued with an exhilarating quality that is not possessed by any perfume with which I am acquainted. I heard a rushing sound, like that which might be made by the beating of many wings, and suddenly there appeared, standing in the middle of the room, two forms.  One was that of a man, the other that of a woman. They were clad in shining white robes. Around the head of each was a bright halo.

The vision unfortunately convinced her she was going to die and for three or four days this fear of impending death haunted her.  Luckily, a very dear friend, a sweet old Scotch lady ‘whom everybody loved and in whom everybody confided’, noticed that she was looking troubled and asked her what ailed her. She told her of the vision she had seen and that she was afraid it portended her death.

The lady came back with reassurance

“Have no fear, lassie.  It was not to warn you of your death that vision was given you. You have what is called the psychic gift, and many things will be shown you which others cannot see….They are well guided whom God guides and you have nothing to fear. But I would advise you to keep these things to yourself. Treasure them up as sacred in your own heart, for there are few who would understand them”.

And indeed she would have been right.  As the Rev. Arthur Chambers says in his Foreword To The Ministry Of Angels :

The Rev. Arthur Chambers

" the professed belief in Angelic Ministration is viewed as having little or no practical value as far as the experiences of mankind living in the twentieth century are concerned.
"The average church-going, or chapel-going, Christian who sings:
'Angels of Jesus, Angels of Light, Singing to welcome the pilgrims of the night!'
looks very incredulously at anyone who testifies that he has seen a messenger from the World of Spirit.

Why did these gifts surface?


 Loneliness and grief.

The Ministry of Angels

When I was twenty years old my father returned from India, bought a beautiful little place in Ireland and there settled down. As a child of three I had parted from him in India, after my mother’s death there. But though seventeen years had elapsed since I had seen him, it was not as strangers that we met. He had long been the hero of my girlish dreams, and in him these dreams were more than realized. Dearly I loved him and that love he returned in full measure. We were constantly together and we were the best of friends and companions. My brother, too, was all that a brother could be. For two years my cup of happiness seemed filled to the brim

So her mother had died when she was three and she had been packed off by her father and sent to live with an aunt in the north of Ireland. And she hadn’t seen her father since.  She makes light of it, but I would have been heart broken to know I had a father who in all my years on earth had not visited me and my brother.

There will of course be those that say that she made up these psychic friends because of this, but the combination of grief and loneliness is extremely powerful at opening any psychic door.

The Ministry of Angels

After this it seemed to me that I was seldom alone. I became conscious that there was with me a loving presence, seeking ever, it appeared to me, to guide me aright…………….. Until I was nearly eighteen no other vision came to me. … except for hearing the glad music of unseen voices and instruments, and the sense of a protecting presence ever near me, my life was that of most healthy, high-spirited girls in comfortable circumstances. Very happy I was in those days. My friends bestowed upon me the nickname of “Cheery”.

Tragedy and a crisis of faith

We know that when she was twenty years old Joy’s father had returned from India, bought a house in Ireland and there settled down, with her and her brother.  But what neither child knew was that he had heart disease. It was not until after his death that the two children learned that for two years previously he had known of his ailment, and knew that at any moment he might be ‘stricken dead’.  But things were to become even worse

The Ministry of Angels

After the loss of my father, black despair settled on my soul. My feelings seemed to be petrified. Even the relief of tears was denied me. I hardened my heart against God. I said: “God would never have been so cruel as to take my father from me; therefore there is no God”. I ceased going to church and abandoned myself to the gloomiest thoughts. Their hold upon me was strengthened by other sorrows and troubles which followed fast.
 After my father’s death it was found that the supposed friend to whom he had entrusted the investment of his money had misappropriated it and there was nothing left for his children. My brother, resolved to make a living for both of us, went to a British colony and was there drowned. My favourite aunt died. I had a nervous breakdown, followed by a long illness. Convinced that life held nothing for me that could make it worth living; I rejected all efforts to give me solace and comfort.

But thankfully, about two years after her father’s death, an uncle with whom she was then living, persuaded her to accompany him on a visit to a relative who was the matron of a large hospital. He hoped that it might lead to her taking up nursing as a profession,  He had come to the conclusion that unless his niece could be persuaded to take an interest in something that would turn her thoughts from herself, he was convinced that she would never regain her health.

The Ministry of Angels

The matron gave me permission to spend part of each day in the wards: Then I began to observe the work of the nurses; to note with what skill, tenderness and patience they ministered to those placed under their care, and how often they succeeded in relieving their sufferings.

Initially she convinced herself she was completely incapable of doing the work  “I felt utterly unfitted for it, unworthy of it and incapable of ridding myself of the gloomy thoughts, centred in self, that had become habitual with me”.  She even contemplated suicide.

But another vision [see observations] helped her change her mind and renewed by the feeling of comfort she gained by this revelation, she started work at the hospital as a probationer. “With zest I applied myself to the duties assigned to me, and in striving to assuage the sufferings of others found the boon of self-forgetfulness”.   And all the time she was buoyed by the feeling that she was being helped and guided.

And it was thus she became ‘one of God’s workers’.

Foreword To The Ministry Of Angels Given By The Rev. Arthur Chambers

"I think no careful and open-minded reader will peruse this simple and impressively written narrative of personal experiences without obtaining a fuller idea of the love and concernfulness of the All-Father God for His creatures here on earth; an extended view of the possibilities of existence; and a comfort and inspiration, which arises from the knowledge - inborne upon us from so many sources - that as we pass through the educative and restrictive life of the Physical to the higher and fuller life of the Spiritual, we are not left unattended and unaided; that whether seen, or unseen, by us now, there are with us those Spiritual Ministers of God who 'do His pleasure".

 

References

 

Professor Haraldur Nielsson - My Personal Experiences in Experimental Spiritualism

One of the most beautiful books I have ever read was written by an English lady, clairvoyant, and is entitled: Ministry of Angels.

This lady is called Mrs. Joy Snell, has been clairvoyant since childhood, without having made a profession of being psychic....

I didn't just read her book, I found it in 1919 in London, and I had great joy and comfort in getting to know her and her husband.

If I had to name two of the people today who I would consider worthy of being called Jesus' apostles, I would name them together with Pastor G. Vale Owen.

I have never met in my life more true followers of Christ, I have never been in contact with a life so simple and so capable of loving all things.

Their friendship is the most beautiful thing life has given me.

 

Observations

For iPad/iPhone users: tap letter twice to get list of items.