Dear friends in Christ,
It is with great joy on this day of Christ’s Resurrection that I announce that Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation (April 20, 1923 – March 27, 2016), foundress and builder of EWTN (1981), Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament (1999) and Our Lady of the Angels monastery in Hanceville, Alabama (1962). has passed on in imitation of the Lord she served so faithfully.
Every once in awhile I see books or programs produced with titles like “Meetings with Remarkable People”. If I ever write a memoir of that sort, Mother would be, without a doubt, in that first tier of remarkable people I’ve been blessed and honored to know. Even on this day of her passing, I am filled with joy knowing that her travail on this earth is past. Since her stroke in 2001 she has prayerfully receded into the background in preparation for this very day not knowing when it would come. How fitting that it should be on Easter, the day that all who are Christ’s are assured of Eternal Fellowship with Him.
Even in her death Mother bears witness to Christ’s individual concern for our lives. Mother would be the first to stress that He cares for each of us in our individual callings, our individual conversions and our individual destinies. She would order each of us to be the person Christ created and redeemed us to be.
Each of us are called to be different.
Never envy the gifts and callings of others. To try and be someone other than who God created denies His intention that each of us makes our own unique contribution to this universe. She was not brilliant and eloquent like Archbishop Fulton Sheen. She was not the profound mystic that was St. John of the Cross. She was not the sophisticated and subtle dramatist that was St. John Paul II. She was just Rita Antoinette Rizzo of Canton, Ohio and, as she loved to point out, “not to the manor born.” Her family was some pretty tough raw material for the Potter to work with. She had as much nerve as she had devotion. But in God’s hands she was molded over many years to do what no one else in this universe was called to do. And this is true of each one of us. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without His awareness; He counts and numbers every hair of our head. He orders our steps and the days of our lives.
None of us live merely routine lives. No one called to image God is routine. We all occupy a unique place and point of view in this universe. She wants everyone to know that, as unlikely as it may seem, we are all called to do what no one else can accomplish. It may look impossible to others but to those who are called by God all things work together for good. She taught, in her words and by striking example, that we are called to transform this world as we let Christ transform ourselves and, through us, our neighbors. Read Raymond Arroyo’s winsomely written story of her life and ministry, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and Network of Miracles. Better yet, listen to it on cd or audiobook. Raymond is a gifted voice impersonator. At times he sounds more like Mother than Mother.
Our debt to Mother Angelica.
We, at Ave Maria Communications, owe our apostolate to the call she issued back in the mid 1990s. It was time for Catholic laity, she urged, to buy or lease radio stations and start broadcasting Catholic teaching to an American Catholic family that was woefully under catechized. Her faith was unshakeable; her impact undeniable. As I wrote in Dangers to the Faith: “When the history of 20th-century American Catholicism is written, the influence of Mother Angelica and Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) will finally be laid out for all to see. Without her commitment to the work of “remedial catechesis,” far fewer Catholics would be interested in books of this sort.” The amazing growth in Catholic lay apologetics, evangelization and discipleship owes an immeasurable debt to Mother’s work.
There is much more to say so I wanted to inform you that this week Catholic Connection, Dr. Is In, More2Life, Kresta in the Afternoon and our other programs will be exploring Mother’s life and ministry. Daily, we will be partnering with EWTN to produce a week of joyful mourning and prayer for her. Let’s not let our admiration of her, deprive her of our prayers for perfect conformity to Christ. Celebrate Christ’s life radiating through her with the world.
If you feel a special bond with Mother, if you have “Mother stories” let us know through Facebook, email or even phone us during our live programs to share those stories on radio or our website. Now is a great opportunity to bear witness to Jesus’ Resurrection by recalling Mother’s and EWTN’s impact on your life and that of your friends and families.
In the peace and power of His Resurrection,
President and CEO of Ave Maria Communications
Host, Kresta in the Afternoon