MOTHER ANGELICA: TRIBUTES FROM CATHOLICS IN MEDIA

MOTHER ANGELICA: TRIBUTES FROM CATHOLICS IN MEDIA

News of the death on Easter Sunday of Mother Angelica, PCPA, foundress of EWTN and a paradoxically innovative “traditional” nun, brought swift tributes from religious and secular Catholics who work in media and were eager to share their memories and appreciations: (From National Catholic Register)

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB: CEO, Salt and Light Catholic Television Network How fitting that Mother Angelica would be called home on Easter Sunday 2016. This great woman of faith, evangelical boldness and joyful courage was one of the Church’s great instruments of the First Evangelization and the New Evangelization. She did in her lifetime what Church leaders in the USA had attempted for many years and never succeeded: founding a Catholic television network and media outlet that would serve the world. I shall never forget my first meeting with her in 2001 as I prepared to lead World Youth Day 2002 in Canada. Her sage advice, encouragement and promise of prayers at that time, shortly before her debilitating stroke, revealed a woman of great faith and creativity. She remained steadfast and joyful in the midst of her own personal suffering in her early years and her long suffering at the end of her life. Now that the torch is passed to another generation of staff and colleagues, may we all learn from her zeal, loyal witness, ingenuity and deep faith in God and her trust in good people around her. May the Risen Lord and Eternal Word welcome her into the peace of God’s kingdom.

Bishop Christopher Coyne, Bishop of Burlington, VT One cannot help but admire Mother Angelica for her tenacity and her single-mindedness in creating EWTN. To think that this woman religious founded a small broadcast station in a garage of her monastery and was able to grow it into the broadcast and digital giant that EWTN is today is amazing. She certainly was a person of strong personality and opinions and even stronger faith. May the angels lead her into paradise and my the martyrs welcome her into eternal life.

Father Francis Hoffman (“Fr. Rocky”), Executive Director of Relevant Radio I remember the first time I saw Mother Angelica on TV. It was late night on the Joan Rivers Show in the ’80s. I thought she would be eaten alive, but within minutes she had Joan and the entire audience eating right out of her hand. Mother Angelica’s profound charity and faith, common sense and wit, her piety of a child balanced by her doctrine of a theologian — all of that — brought St. John Paul II’s New Evangelization to the airwaves at a moment when the Church in America needed a “W” in the witness column. Like Joan of Arc and Catherine of Siena, Mother Angelica once again showed that women are not second rate in the Church. May she rest in peace!

Janet E. Smith, moral theologian It was fun how quickly Mother Angelica and I hit it off in the few interviews I had with her.  During one interview, we were making jokes to the point that I teased her about there possibly being something stronger in her coffee cup than coffee. Luckily she seemed to enjoy that …

She had no time or inclination to put on airs, or to have any kind of false or formulaic piety. She met life head-on and resolutely moved forward in a complete no-nonsense fashion. Undoubtedly, others will speak of her ability to get an international Catholic TV station going when powerful bishops and their organizations could not do so.  She was a simple nun, with a profound faith, and one courageously dependent upon God’s grace to supply what was needed.  Her life and deeds were miraculous. I have great confidence that some day she will be declared to be a saint.

Father Robert Reed, president/CEO the Catholic TV Network Mother Mary Angelica once served on our board, so I’m proud to say she remains part of the history of both the CatholicTV Network and EWTN. When I was studying Television Management at Boston University I was moved to write on Mother’s savvy and inspired contribution to Catholic Media. Who among us, including Mother, could have predicted the exponential growth of that media so far beyond the TV screen or the the desperate need in these days to catechize and inspire. Thank you for your faithful leadership and strength, Mother Angelica!

Mother Mary Assumpta Long, OP, Prioress General, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist I had the privilege of knowing Mother Angelica over many years and the unique experience of being with her on her live TV programs. She was tremendously generous in offering free time on EWTN to those who wanted to promote the truths of the Catholic Church she so loved.

Father Mitch Pacwa, SJ, EWTN television host One of the most important things about her is that she was not an actress. When you saw her at the show, there was no difference from what she was like off the air. She and I played off one another very well because I could tease her where others couldn’t. I remember there was another priest who would come on and started teasing her, and she said to him — on live TV — “Who do you think you are, Father Mitch Pacwa? Settle down.”

Her love of Christ was the most important component of her life. Nothing else mattered to her, and she didn’t worry about a thing except being faithful to Christ. It was the number one issue for her, hands down. She didn’t care who you were or what you said — if it contradicted the faith, she’d shut you down, even if you were ordained clergy …

She was someone with a high school education and came from a contemplative background, which points out that for her prayer was listening to Jesus. She had something to say because she listened to him.

She was still able to speak a little bit until about 2002 or 2003, and she said, “This is my purgatory.” The sisters had told me that for recreation she liked to watch DVDs of I Love Lucy.  So I brought her some DVDs of The Jack Benny Show. They had to cut it off because she was laughing so hard she was having trouble breathing.

Alice von Hildebrand, philosopher When one meets a person whose one concern is to serve God and his Church, fearing neither difficulty nor suffering, persecution nor ridicule, it marks one for life. I dedicated my recent book, Memoirs of a Happy Failure, to her. She started from nothing. Everything was against her. But she trusted that with his help, she could spread the Gospel to the world through EWTN. It edges on the miraculous.

THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY OF MOTHER ANGELICA – 12 SAYINGS OF MOTHER ANGELICA THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD

Here are two wonderful pieces about Mother Angelic by two very dear friends – Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles and Fr. Jeffery Keyes of Santa Rosa (Pater Jeffrey Keyes on his FB page). Enjoy!  May the Lord continue to bless us in this Easter season!

THE SPIRITUAL LEGACY OF MOTHER ANGELICA

(By Bishop Robert Barron – from The Pilot online):

Mother Angelica, one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar Catholic Church in America, has died after a fourteen-year struggle with the after effects of a stroke. I can attest that, in “fashionable” Catholic circles during the eighties and nineties of the last century, it was almost de rigueur to make fun of Mother Angelica. She was a crude popularizer, an opponent of Vatican II, an arch-conservative, a culture-warrior, etc., etc. And yet while her critics have largely faded away, her impact and influence are uncontestable.

Against all odds and expectations, she created an evangelical vehicle without equal in the history of the Catholic Church. Starting from, quite literally, a garage in Alabama, EWTN now reaches 230 million homes in over 140 countries around the world. With the possible exception of John Paul II himself, she was the most watched and most effective Catholic evangelizer of the last fifty years.

Read Raymond Arroyo’s splendid biography in order to get the full story of how Rita Rizzo, born and raised in a tough neighborhood in Canton, Ohio, came in time to be a nun, a foundress, and a television personality. For the purposes of this brief article, I would like simply to draw attention to three areas of particular spiritual importance in the life of Mother Angelica: her trust in God’s providence, her keen sense of the supernatural quality of religion, and her conviction that suffering is of salvific value.

The accounts of the beginning of EWTN read like the stories of some of the great saintly founders of movements and orders within the Church. Mother had a blithe confidence that if God called her to do something, he would provide what was needed. Her right hand man, Deacon Bill Steltemeier, a lawyer and businessman who would prove indispensable in getting the operation of EWTN off the ground, came to her in the most remarkable way.

While in Chicago for a convention, he saw a flyer advertising a speech at a local parish by a nun whom he did not know. For some reason, he felt compelled to attend. Despite typically horrific Chicago winter weather and though he had no real idea where he was going, he made it to the parish and caught the second half of the nun’s presentation. Just as she was finishing up, he heard a voice saying quietly but insistently, “until the day you die.”

The nun, of course, was Mother Angelica. Deacon Bill interrupted his prosperous legal career, drove to Alabama, and presented himself to Mother, who calmly said, “I’ve been expecting you!” The voice, by the way, proved prophetic, for Deacon Bill died just a few years ago, having indeed served EWTN literally until his last day.

Some years later, Mother ordered a giant satellite dish in order dramatically to increase the reach of her network. When the device arrived, the driver of the truck demanded the money on the spot. Mother asked to be excused for a few minutes and went to her chapel to pray: “Lord, I thought you wanted this satellite thing; now give me the money I need!” As she went out to speak to the driver, one of her sisters ran up announcing, “There is a man on the phone who says he wants to give you a donation.” It was a gentlemen calling from a yacht in the Bahamas who said he suddenly had the inspiration to send Mother Angelica $600,000!

The second theme upon which I’d like to focus is her instinct for the supernatural dimension of Christianity. Now I realize that such an instinct might seem rather obvious, but in the immediately post-conciliar years there was indeed a tendency to naturalize the supernatural, to reduce Christianity to the works of social justice and the cultivation of psychological well-being.

Mother knew that a de-supernaturalized Christianity would in short order lose its soul and, paradoxically, its relevance to the world. Accordingly, she brought to the fore prayer, liturgy, the sacraments, sacramentals, the saints, adoration of the Eucharist, spiritual warfare, etc. And as someone who worked in the seminary world for twenty years, I can testify that this is precisely what made her talks and programs attractive to a younger generation of Catholics, who found much of liberal Catholicism indistinguishable from secular political and self-help programs.

The third and final motif I would stress is Mother Angelica’s penetrating understanding of the value of suffering. As Arroyo’s biography makes eminently clear, Mother endured tremendous suffering, both physical and psychological, most of her life, and she appreciated these trials as opportunities for spiritual growth. Nowhere was this clearer for her than in the last fourteen years of her life, as this once very vocal and active and woman accepted silence and immobility.

She told one of her sisters some years ago that if she got much sicker, she wanted every possible means employed to keep her alive, not because she was clinging to life, but “because I will have suffered one more day for the love of God.”

I often thought of Mother, during the last years of her life, as a kind of Mother Drexel for our time. That great foundress, after suffering a heart attack at 75, spent the last twenty years of her life praying for the order that she had established. Mother Angelica wasn’t perfect–and she would be the first to admit it. Due to her lack of polish and advanced theological education, she sometimes said things that were insufficiently nuanced and balanced. And her hot temper, which gave fire to her evangelization, also at times led her to indulge in ad hominem attacks and unfair characterizations of her opponents’ positions. But these are quibbles. When Church historians write their accounts of the years immediately following Vatican II, Rita Rizzo of Canton, Ohio, Mother Angelica, will find a very honored place.

Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and is an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

12 SAYINGS OF MOTHER ANGELICA THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD

Posted on March 28, 2016 on his FB page by Pater Jeffrey Keyes

As many of you probably know by now, Mother Mary Angelica, the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) passed into eternal life yesterday afternoon around 5:00pm. It is fitting that Mother Angelica entered eternal life on the day Our Jesus Christ rose from the dead – Easter Sunday! I found out about her passing as I was sitting on the couch watching the New York Rangers hockey game and looking at Facebook on my iPhone. I knew she had been sick for many years, and although the news is sad, we can also rejoice knowing that she is in the presence of Jesus Christ.

In the book, Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality, which I will draw from more shortly, Mother Angelica, says about “Your Place in Heaven” –

When we get to heaven, there will be many empty seats and many empty mansions, and they’ll stay that way forever because God has destined each of us for our specific degree of glory. My place in heaven is mine. No one else will ever use it or possess it or live in it. If I don’t get there, it will remain empty.”

Last night, after I arrived home from Easter brunch at my Mom’s with family and some new friends that my sister graciously asked to join us, I started thinking if I had any of Mother’s books in my personal library. After searching for only a minute, I came upon the aforementioned book that I referenced above. As I started to thumb through the pages thinking what I could write about, it came to me as I was laughing out loud (you know, LOL) that I could write on some of her funny, yet very truthful sayings.

Why did they make me laugh out loud? Well being in the position I am in as an evangelist (in a parish), sometimes these type of sayings come to mind, but often the filter in my head and mouth does the job a filter is suppose to do. It’s great to see that Mother Angelica not only thought about them, but also said or wrote them “out loud.”

The “little book” was published in 2007 and was edited and has some additional material in it by Raymond Arroyo. The link above will take you to the EWTN catalogue website where you can purchase the book if you so desire.

As I said above, these 12 sayings that I am about to list for you made me laugh out loud. One of them made me laugh so hard, I had to get up and get a drink of water. Although they might make you laugh, as they did me, there is a truth in these sayings that really should make one think. I hope you enjoy them as I did.

  1. “The apostles were dodos, dummies. But all the smart people in the world at the time wouldn’t take chances. That is the same problem we have today. The world is looking for intellectuals and the Lord is looking for dummies. That’s why I’m here.”
  2. “If you’re not a thorn in somebody’s side, you’re not doing Christianity right.”
  3. “If you’re breathing and you’ve got two legs, you’re called to holiness.”
  4. “Don’t be afraid to get frustrated. Look at me, I take a lot of Maalox. Somebody said to me not long ago, ‘I’m surprised that a woman of such great faith would have to take Maalox.’ I said, ‘My friend, my stomach doesn’t know about my great faith.’”
  5. “I’m not here to win friends and influence people. I’m here to do God’s Will. Now, if the accomplishment of that will bugs a lot of people, well, that’s their problem. I can’t help that.”
  6. “The apostles wouldn’t pass the seminary today. Heck, I doubt if they’d make it past the psychological screening.”
  7. “The sisters say I have the eighth gift of the Holy Spirit: guts!”
  8. “When I was a young novice I used to pray in the early morning, ‘Dear Lord, today I am going to be patient come hell or high water.’ And by nine o’clock came hell and high water! I blew it!”
  9. “St. Jerome had a terrible temper. He would hit himself with a rock every time he lost his temper. I’d be dead as a doornail, with no ribs, if I did that.”
  10. “I went to Confession one time and I told the priest, ‘I lost my temper.’ He said, ‘Keep it, nobody wants it.’ Well, I never said “lost” again because I was afraid I’d get another smart-aleck comment.”
  11. “After Mass one day a woman came to me complaining about a priest’s homily. His preaching ability left something to be desired, but then it’s not the Word you listen to, not the way it’s presented. So this woman was complaining and I asked her, ‘How much did you put in the collection?’ She said, ‘A quarter.’ I said, ‘What do you want for a quarter, Bishop Sheen?’”

Lastly, this is the one that forced me to get a drink of water and made me laugh for 3 minutes straight –

  1. “If you’re experiencing stress or tension give it to Jesus. Tell Him, ‘I feel like crawling the wall, but I love You and I want to give this to You.’ Do you think our Lord wasn’t tense living with those twelve screwball apostles?”

Mother Angelica’s wit and humor led many people to look at Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. I imagine she has her mansion in Heaven and it is suited just for her.

Mother Mary Angelica…Pray For Us.

‘SHE’S IN HEAVEN’ – POPE FRANCIS ON MOTHER ANGELICA

‘SHE’S IN HEAVEN’ – POPE FRANCIS ON MOTHER ANGELICA

(Expanded EWTN news report) – Pope Francis on Wednesday offered a special blessing for Mother Angelica following her death on Easter Sunday, expressing his confidence that she is already in heaven.

“She’s in heaven.” The Pope pointed to the sky as he spoke these words to members of EWTN’s Rome bureau, who brought an image of the late Poor Clare nun to his March 30 general audience as a sign of affection and remembrance.

Francis saw the framed photo in the crowd, and blessed it when asked by EWTN’s Executive TV Producer in Rome, Martha Calderon, for a blessing for Mother Angelica’s soul.

POPE - MOTHER A

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), in 1981, and it has since become the largest religious media network in the world. She passed away March 27 after a lengthy struggle with the aftereffects of a stroke. She was 92 years old.

Pope Francis offered his prayers for Mother Angelica Feb. 12 while on his way to Cuba, and asked for her prayers in return.

But he isn’t the only one who is confident in the nun’s holiness. Several other prelates have voiced their admiration and appreciation for Mother’s contribution to the faith, to the Catholic Church in the U.S., and to the world of Catholic communications, including retired pontiff Benedict XVI and the Vatican’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi.

Although Francis has expressed his belief that Mother Angelica is already in heaven, the formal process for declaring her a saint has yet to begin.

Once a cause for her canonization officially opens, the facts and details of her life, as well as the testimonies from those around her, must be obtained and gathered into a lengthy report called a “positio” or “position” and presented to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

The congregation must then study the records to determine Mother’s heroic virtue, and eventually look into miracles attributed to her intercession. Only when one miracle has been officially approved can she be declared a Blessed. A second is then required for her canonization as a saint.

However, the Pope could decide to take the route of what’s called an “equipollent,” or “equivalent” canonization, in which he waives the requirement for one or both of the miracles and canonizes the person without them.

This was the case with St. Pope John XXIII in 2014, for whom the Pope decided to waive the second miracle required for canonization, and proclaim him a saint with just one.

In his general audience speech, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on mercy as understood in scripture, finishing his segment on the Old Testament.

He focused on Psalm 51, also referred to as “the Miserere” and which is traditionally understood as King David’s prayer asking for forgiveness following his sin of adultery with Bathsheba.

Francis pointed to the psalm’s opening words “Have mercy on me, O God in your kindness,” saying they are “a moving confession of sin, repentance and confident hope in God’s merciful pardon.”

Alongside his “heartfelt plea” to be cleansed and purified of his sin, Kind David also praises God’s infinite justice and holiness, the Pope observed.

Not only does he ask to be forgiven “of his great sin,” but he also prays “for the gift of a pure heart and a steadfast spirit, so that, thus renewed, he may draw other sinners back to the way of righteousness.”

“God’s forgiveness is the greatest sign of his infinite mercy,” Francis said, and in off-the-cuff remarks had the pilgrims present at the audience repeat three times that “God’s forgiveness is greater than our sin!”

He closed his audience by praying that Mary, the “Mother of Mercy,” would intercede so that all would become “ever more convincing witnesses to that divine mercy which forgives our sins, creates in us a new heart, and enables us to proclaim God’s reconciling love to the world.”

SUPREME COURT ASKS FOR ADDITIONAL BRIEFS IN LITTLE SISTERS CASE

SUPREME COURT ASKS FOR ADDITIONAL BRIEFS IN LITTLE SISTERS CASE

Court asks both sides for alternatives to current government scheme

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than a week after it heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, the U.S. Supreme Court took the unusual step of asking for additional information, telling both sides to discuss alternative ways to avoid forcing religious women to provide services against their faith.

“This is an excellent development. Clearly the Supreme Court understood the Sisters’ concern that the government’s current scheme forces them to violate their religion,” said Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “We look forward to offering alternatives that protect the Little Sisters’ religious liberty while allowing the government to meet its stated goals.”

Becket Fund

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a 175-year-old religious order of women who serve the elderly poor, have asked the Supreme Court for protection from a government mandate that already exempts 1 in 3 Americans, large corporations like Chevron, Exxon, and Pepsi, and the U.S. military. The High Court must decide whether the government can force the Little Sisters of the Poor to comply with this mandate and provide services that violate their faith, even though these same services could easily be offered through the government exchanges.

LITTLE SISTERS POOR

The Supreme Court today asked both the government and the Little Sisters of the Poor to file additional briefs by next month.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious ministries. (Transcript available here). A decision is expected in June.

 

MOTHER ANGELICA: FROM THE VATICAN – SHE CHANGED THE WAY WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD – FAREWELL TO MOTHER ANGELICA

MOTHER ANGELICA: FROM THE VATICAN

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI knows that Mother Angelica died. We learned through his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, that he said “it’s a gift” that she passed on Easter Sunday.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office was informed Sunday night by Michael Warsaw and Monday morning by our Rome Bureau. He said to our employees in Rome: “Dear ones, thank you for the information. I also received a letter from M. Warsaw inviting me to come to the funeral (of course I can not), along with the press release. Certainly she was a great witness and a missionary apostle. I hope that she prays for us more than we for her. I had the joy of seeing her briefly when I attended a meeting of various Catholic Radio stations several years ago in Birmingham at EWTN and someone had kindly taken me to the shrine to greet Mother. I do not remember exactly what year it was. I think it was the first meeting of Catholic Radio stations organized by EWTN (or second?). For me it was also the proof that faith and love of God are the true engine that drives our communication … (more so than technique and ‘professionalism’).”

SHE CHANGED THE WAY WE SPEAK ABOUT GOD – FAREWELL TO MOTHER ANGELICA

Michael Warsaw – on the website of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily:

A miracle of evangelization: only in this way could one define the legacy left by Mother Angelica, founder of the international Catholic network EWTN. A network whose success is proven by the numbers: launched in a garage in 1981 without caring about the cost, today the network broadcasts 24 hours a day, reaches over 264 million homes in 144 different nations, and publishes in or contributes to major magazines and agencies of religious information in the United States and around the world, in multiple languages.

Mother Angelica returned to the Father’s house at 5p.m. March 27, the Solemnity of Easter. She was 92. In the morning she participated in Mass inside her room, from the bed to which she has been confined since 2001, when a stroke permanently damaged her mobility.

Mother Angelica’s whole life has been marked by dates that follow the liturgical calendar, as if to signify her unconditional “yes” to God and her unshakeable trust in Providence. The stroke came on Christmas Eve 2001. She entered the Order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration August 15, 1944, a day that was to become the Solemnity of the Assumption. And it was August 15, 1981, that Eternal Word Television first aired. It was the television network God had asked Mother Angelica to found.

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Born April 20, 1923, with the name Rita Rizzo, Mother Angelica experienced poverty and a life of hardship after her parents divorced when she was just six years old. But she didn’t just live with solitude, suffering and distress. She was also tried by physical suffering. When she was a teenager, she had consistent stomach pain. She was cured when Rhonda Wise, a woman from Canton (the town in Ohio where she lived) to whom miraculous cures were attributed to, told her to recite a novena to St. Therese of Lisieux. In 1944, at 21, she entered the Order of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland and took the name Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. Two years later, she was invited again to the city of her birth, Canton, to found a new monastery. She lived there for several years, until the 50s. While cleaning the floors with an electric scrubbing machine, she lost her balance on the slippery floor, covered in soap, and slammed her back against the wall. The injury lasted for two years, and even worse, she needed a surgical operation. It was risky, and she had a 50 percent chance of being paralyzed. So she promised God that if the operation was successful, she would build a monastery in the South.

The operation succeeded, and Mother kept her promise.

The okay from Rome to found the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Irondale, Alabama came February 3, 1961. A charismatic speaker, Sr. Mary Angelica was asked if her speeches could be recorded and distributed. She did it for the first time in 1969. In 1971, she recorded her first radio program, which was a 10 minute transmission for WBRC. Seven years later, Mother began to record her first television programs, which were half-hour transmissions titled “Our Hermitage.” It was the spark that inspired the idea of a media apostolate faithful to Catholicism. The spark then flared up when she realized that the owner of the studio where she recorded her transmission wanted to broadcast a program she considered to be blasphemous. Mother said that she would go elsewhere to record. Upon receiving threats that she would be out of television forever, she confidently responded: “I will found my own.”

And so it happened. The Eternal Word Television Network was born August 15, 1981, and from there began the work of evangelization through media.

It is a company willed by Providence, just as it was Providence which characterized the foundations of Mother Angelica: the Congregation of the Missionary Franciscans of the Eternal Word, a community of men which consists of 15 friars who are very active in evangelization within EWTN; but also the monastery itself in Irondale, because Mother Angelica’s request to found a new monastery came simultaneously with that of another sister, and the Mother Superior decided to that she would give permission to the first of the two sisters that received a response from the local bishop.

Some observers have said that the network founded by Mother Angelica (EWTN) has helped to protect the Church in the United States. If this is true, it is true because Mother Angelica built the network in His own image and likeness: with an unwavering faith in God, the knowledge of the goodness of the teachings of the Church and the desire to share them with people, truly reaching everyone. And if the network has grown so much in recent years, it is also due to the fact that Mother Angelica – who left leadership in 2000 – has ceaselessly watched over it with her prayers, despite being bedridden for almost 15 years.

She ascended to the Father’s house on Easter day, as often happens with the Saints, after receiving countless awards, even from the Pope. In October 2009, Benedict XVI gave her the “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” award, the highest recognition that a Pope can give to a layperson or religious to honor their work. Upon hearing the news of Mother Angelica’s passing, Benedict XVI commented that “it’s a gift” for her to have gone to heaven on Easter Sunday. And on February 12, 2016, while on his way to Cuba, Pope Francis prayed for her.

Mother’s model of evangelization through media is an example for all to follow.

By Michael Warsaw, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer, EWTN Global Catholic Network

 

REMEMBERING MOTHER ANGELICA – TRIBUTES TO AND MEMORIES OF MOTHER ANGELICA

REMEMBERING MOTHER ANGELICA

By now, everyone reading this column knows that EWTN’s foundress, known worldwide as Mother Angelica, died yesterday, Easter Sunday at the age of 92. If you are going to meet your Maker, Easter Sunday seems like a divinely appointed day to do so!

How fitting she would die at the end of the Easter Triduum, a three-day period that includes the Way of the Cross. Mother had her own years of Calvary, her physical sufferings, the many trials with starting the network, criticism when the fledgling EWTN global Catholic television and radio began to take root, and legions of doubters, at least in the early years.

ANGELICA  1

But she was single-minded, if she was nothing else! She wanted to teach the Word of God and a fairly new medium (at the time) like television seemed the perfect fit to her in her early years as a nun, a cloistered nun at that. Overcoming the most unlikely and incredible odds, she build the media family we all know today as EWTN global Catholic television.

Angelica 6

Most of you know that one of my very close friends was Cardinal Francis George, the late archbishop of Chicago. He often graced my home with his presence for dinner. One of the first times was in October 2005 when he was vice-president of the USCCB and he and the other officers came for dinner when they were in Rome for meetings with Pope Benedict.

I had only been with EWTN about two months at that time, and I was telling him of my transition from working for the Vatican at the Vatican Information Service to being EWTN’s Rome Bureau Chief. He looked at me and said, now there was woman to take note of, and he highlighted how she single-handedly, and with singleness of purpose, achieved what the USCCB could not.

Many great and wonderful things have been said and written about Mother over the years and especially in the last 24 hours, since her passing. Tributes have been paid by people who knew her for years, who worked with her side by side, who prayed with her, who cared for her at bedside these last years of suffering and inability to speak, who sat own with her for hours upon end to write an authoritative biography.

Angelica 4

I do not have their knowledge, nor do I have their years of closeness with this world famous nun, Sister to so many, Mother to countless others. I will leave the more profound, touching tributes to them.

However brief, I was blessed to meet Mother Angelica on several occasions. The most important for me was on August 22, 2005. I had just spent several days at EWTN and had signed the contract to be the network’s Rome Bureau Chief! Doug Keck asked me if I had ever been to the shrine on previous visits to the network, I said I hadn’t so he drove me to Hanceville.

ANGELICA  6

As we descended into the lower chapel and crypt area, we spotted her seated in a wheel chair, with two Sisters by her side, all three praying at the tomb of her mother. Doug and I waited until she was getting ready to leave and he then introduced me by name and by title, EWTN Rome Bureau Chief.

Although she could not talk, Mother’s eyes lit up and I saw a smile on her face. You see, her lifelong dream had been to establish this global Catholic network – but to set it up in Rome!

EWTN was to be planted in Irondale, Alabama, not Rome, but it flourished in that wonderful soil. It was only 24 years later that her Rome dream became a reality – an office, if not the whole network! The foundation date is August 15, 1981 – we met 21 years and one week after that!

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I knelt so we could look each other in the eyes. She took my hands in hers and with one hand, she blessed me – my eyes, ears, mouth and my hands. It was very moving for me and I have always kept that image in my mind as I represent the network, be it in radio, TV or in writing in my columns. She was telling me that the Lord’s word, His Truth, should be heard by me, spoken by me and then transmitted to others.

Truth was the key word for Mother and is the key word for me, every waking moment.

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People are asking: what will Mother Angelica’s legacy be? There will be many answers to that question. There will be rich, profound, meaningful commentaries, varied and yet valid, for sure.

People will look back at Mother’s ability to both read and reach people, her humor and humanity, her unwavering adherence to the truth, to the Church’s Magisterium when it would have been politically correct to tell people what they want to hear, not what they must hear, her single-mindedness, even her suffering. This – and SO much more, adds up to greatness.

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For me, We are Mother Angelica’s legacy – the EWTN employees, the global family of listeners and viewers, the Catholics and converts, no matter where they are or what language they speak.

She achieved a great dream that is now on five continents in several languages, and we will keep that dream – that reality – alive!

From Rome, with love…..

TRIBUTES TO AND MEMORIES OF MOTHER ANGELICA

Scores of tributes have poured to the network and appeared in emails and social media but I don’t want to overwhelm you. Here are just two. After these tributes are some wonderful links to her life, her sayings, etc. The first one from a 1984 60 Minutes show about Mother – riveting!

The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia:   “Mother Angelica succeeded at a task the nation’s bishops themselves couldn’t achieve.  She founded and grew a network that appealed to everyday Catholics, understood their needs and fed their spirits. Mother Angelica inspired other gifted people to join her in the work without compromising her own leadership and vision. I admired her very much, not just as a talented leader and communicator, but as a friend and great woman religious of generosity, intellect and Catholic faith.”

 The Most Reverend Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama:  “Mother Angelica brought the truth and the love and the life of the Gospel of Jesus to so many people, not only to our Catholic household of faith, but to many thousands of people who are not Catholic, in that beautiful way she had of touching lives, bringing so many people into the Catholic Faith.”

60 MINUTES and Mother Angelica: http://aleteia.org/blogs/deacon-greg-kandra/classic-morley-safer-interviews-mother-angelica-on-60-minutes-in-1984/

In case you did not know Mother Angelica: http://aleteia.org/2016/03/27/mother-angelica-dead-tributes-from-catholics-in-media-pour-in/

Her now-I’ve-got-you-hooked-quotes: https://churchpop.com/2015/07/28/18-mother-angelica-quotes-that-hit-it-right-on-the-nose/

Some of the little known facts about Mother Angelica: https://churchpop.com/2016/03/27/things-you-didnt-know-about-the-life-of-mother-angelica/

 

ANOTHER EASTER GIFT FOR YOU – “GETHSEMANE, JESUS LOVES ME!”

ANOTHER EASTER GIFT FOR YOU – “GETHSEMANE, JESUS LOVES ME!”

We saw Easter in art with Swiss artist Eugène Burnand’s “Peter and John run to the Tomb at Dawn” and now I give you another gift, Easter in song. Several unforgettable minutes with an angelic 3-year old who gets it – Gethsemane, the Passion, the Resurrection, Jesus’ love for ME! http://youtu.be/ZWIx24J00Wc

 

Claire Ryann