Tuesday, April 20, 2010

“Speak, Lord, thy servant is listening.”

Today is the eighty-seventh birthday of Rita Antoinette Rizzo, known better to the world as Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation.

Or maybe just Mother Angelica.

Hers is a remarkable story. Most people who endured what she did would have ended up hating the Church. But not Miss Rizzo. She knew what really mattered, despite everything.

The American bishops started the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America in the early 1980s. They spent a gazillion dollars in YOUR collection plate money to keep it going. At about the same time, Mother Angelica started the Eternal Word Television Network working with a single video camera out of a converted garage. Guess which one eventually tanked.

It was not easy for the bishops to watch their own creation flounder while EWTN won the admiration of Pope John Paul II. Adding to their chagrin was their inability to get Mother Angelica to switch to a new interfaith satellite network. As to her own operations, Mother Angelica did not take kindly to those clerics who questioned her authority to showcase some bishops, but not others. "I happen to own the network," she instructed. When told that this would not be forever, she let loose: "I'll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it."

That's my girl.

Read more about her in the book by Raymond Arroyo, entitled Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve and a Network Of Miracles. An excerpt from the book can be found here.

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