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Catholic Voice
  April 11, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Bishop's Column
Quotes from Mother Angelica:

"It is because Jesus suffered and we unite our pain to His, that suffering changes and transforms us. Only in eternity shall we see the beauty of the soul, and only then shall we realize what great things were accomplished by interior suffering."

"Never lose sight of the fact that you are beloved of God."

"Everything depends on the Lord: our salvation, our hope, our love. Everything."

"God has our entire lives in the palm of His Loving Hand. We can rest secure about our past, present and future — for He loves us."


Mother Angelica's secret: Trust in His love

Most Rev.
Michael C. Barber, SJ

Mother Angelica, the nun who founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), passed away on March 27 at the age of 92. She is arguably the most influential Catholic woman and religious in the USA in the past 50 years. When she started her network in the garage of her convent in Alabama, she had no money, and, as she says in her autobiography "Among us fourteen Sisters, none of us could figure out how to adjust the color on the TV."

Yet from that garage in that monastery grew a Catholic network that now reaches 230 million homes in 140 countries around the world. She accomplished what all the bishops in the USA together could not do (even with mandatory collections): build a TV network that people actually watch, and support financially.

What was her secret?

I never met her — but I did speak with her on the phone once. In 1995 I was stationed at the US Navy base in Bahrain in the Middle East. One of our fighter jets had crashed in the sea. We were searching desperately for survivors.

The pilot's fiancée came to see me in tears — begging for prayers. She asked me to contact the nuns in Alabama whom she had seen on TV. So, all the way from Bahrain, the young woman and I together phoned the monastery.

Mother Angelica herself answered the phone. I explained that we really needed prayers. She said she would take this intention directly to Jesus, and place it at his feet, before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on their altar, and beg for his mercy. Her words and her faith were an enormous comfort to us, thousands of miles away.

Related News

Mother Angelica,
founder of EWTN, dies
People think Mother Angelica was successful because she was a good fund-raiser, or because of her sassy character or witty answers to questions posed on her call-in show. Not so. This woman had faith! She loved and trusted Jesus. We forget that she did not enter the convent in order to found a TV network. She was a "Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration" — and spent most of her religious life in prayer, with her Beloved, interceding for people who wrote in asking for help and prayer.

Through so many hours spent listening to the Lord, she discerned that He was asking her to start broadcasting. Prior to that she and her Sisters had supported themselves making fishing lures and roasting peanuts for sale at the local ballpark.

They also published booklets and pamphlets on religious topics to spread the Good News. She started the network with no money — depending totally on Divine Providence. She figured that if God asked her to do something, He would supply the means. And so He did. And so He has.

I admire her because, coming from a working class family in Ohio, and growing up poor (her father abandoned her and her mother when she was young) she could connect with working class people. Through broadcasting Mass, the rosary and programs on faith and devotion, she helped connect people with Jesus.

No matter what controversial topic was being discussed (and there were many), she always led her listeners to know they were loved deeply by Our Lord.

People are hungry for the supernatural. They are hungry to participate in devotions to connect them with the mercy and love of God.

In the end, it was not about her, but about Jesus. I say this with certainty, because for the last 15 years of her life, Mother Angelica suffered from the effects of a debilitating stroke. She couldn't speak, could barely move, and had a feeding tube. All she could do was pray. Through her last 15 years, she taught us the salvific value of suffering.

Mother Angelica's secret was to live with God in the present moment, trust in His love and spend herself entirely in His service. May she enjoy her eternal reward!

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