Easter Sunday, late afternoon, God called Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation home. We lost a truly amazing woman on this side of eternity, but her work will live on for a very long time.
Mother Angelica was, of course, the foundress of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) and a whole lot more. Her calling was evangelization of the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith… simply the truth of Christ. When modernism reared its ugly head to reinterpret that truth, she refused to remain silent. This got her in serious trouble with powerful bishops. Suffice to say, she was right and they were wrong. The Body of Christ has been strengthened through Mother’s steadfast faith and determination.
Mother Angelica was unique, but her life and work bring to mind several other people.
First, for the impact of God’s work through her in modern times, I would not hesitate to compare Mother Angelica to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Their charisms were very different, but their holiness, struggles, faith and impact are immeasurable.
Second, her work in television and her own Mother Angelica Live show draw obvious comparisons to the extraordinary work of Venerable Fulton Sheen. Both were incredible evangelists, creating powerful ministries from nothing, true servants of the Lord. Bishop Sheen too suffered through famous conflicts with powerful hierarchy, particularly Cardinal Francis Spellman. Similarly, (now disgraced and removed from all public duties) Cardinal Roger Mahoney viciously fought Mother Angelica.
Third, moving back in history a little (14th century) there is St. Catherine of Siena who effectively chided 2 popes (Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI) when necessary. It takes bravery to step outside your comfort zone, challenge rightful authority when they err, at the risk of serious consequences. The Holy Spirit worked abundantly through St. Catherine and worked similarly through Mother Angelica.
Much has been written about Mother and her life. I recommend Raymond Arroyo’s Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. For some quick, online pieces see:
- EWTN’s memorial website
- Bill Donohue’s (2005) The Odyssey of Mother Angelica
- Rocco Palmo’s tribute
- Bishop Robert Barron’s piece for Catholic World Report
- Beverly Stevens’ (Regina Magazine) tribute
- Wikipedia’s page
In your charity, please remember to pray for her soul.
Finally, my wife and I were fortunate to visit both EWTN and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception last month. Below are some of my pictures.