Divine Intervention? Nun Praying In Woods Finds, Rescues Man Trapped Under Tree

Shelley Hazen

If your guardian angel is on vacation, don't worry -- a nun may be nearby and ready to help should you get into trouble. Douglas Goodman was graced with that good luck Saturday when he got stuck under a tree.

News reports vary as to how Goodman was rescued by a passing nun, but at least this is clear: she was amid her prayers when she heard his cries.

Goodman, 74, was 200 yards, or a quarter mile, into the woods near his home when the incident happened, the Boston Globe recounted. He was cutting down a tree with a chainsaw when somehow it fell and landed on his leg, Fox News added.

The fire department captain in nearby Wrentham, Robert Harrison, told WBZ/CNN that the tree was up to 12 inches in diameter.

Two hours later, he was still trapped under the tree. Luckily, he was far enough into the woods that he was pretty close to Mount Saint Mary's Abbey. There, the Cistercian Sisters were prepping for their afternoon prayers.

Luckily, one nun wasn't just listening to God that afternoon.

CBS News reported that she was out praying when she heard someone yell. And according to CNN, she was walking in the woods praying when she heard the man crying, "Help me. I'm hurt." It's not clear if she was alone.

Anyone would've sufficed at that moment, but luckily for Douglas, his cries for help lured more than just a Good Samaritan to his side.

The concerned nun seemed to have spent a little time trying to figure out what she could do for the man herself but realized that she could rescue him on her own. So she ran back to the abbey and promptly called 911. The call came in about 4 p.m., reporting that a man was yelling for help in the woods near the abbey.

"How lucky was he to have somebody like that looking over him?" Capt. Harrison said.

Police and fireman arrived to rescue Douglas, cutting away the tree and setting the trapped man free. They sent him to Boston Medical Center to be treated for an injured leg and a case of hypothermia.

By Sunday, the man whose lucky rescue may have been blessed with a bit of divine intervention was doing well. According to Harrison, the nun arrived just in time.

"They would have been life-threatening if we wasn't found when he was but we got him time, I think."

Although the man was identified, the nun involved in his rescue was kept anonymous by police. All that can be said about the sister is that her order is known for Trappistine Quality Candy, which is made by the nuns "with love and prayers." (They actually make a bunch of delicious-sounding treats, from chocolate fudge to chocolate hearts. After looking for something to make instead of bread, they started making the chocolate in 1955, which was "more conformable to the monastic life style," with the help of a Greek candy maker). The abbey is near the border with Rhode Island.

As for the man whose life was saved by a nun, a neighbor named Rev. Doug Pettit, who preaches at the nearby Sheldonville Baptist Church, said he was "very surprised, very surprised" his neighbor found himself in need of rescue. Goldman is usually very safety conscious.

He clarified that the man heats his home with wood, which explains why he was out in the woods Saturday with a chainsaw. Petit said that despite his age, Douglas is "very robust, very active. I was talking to some people; he splits wood all the time."

As for his interesting rescue? For Pettit, it's proof that someone is always looking out for us.

"I think God looks out for people in general. I think he loves us, and so I don't think it's necessarily coincidental."

[Image via Di Studio/Shutterstock]