Mother Angelica

Two angel statues pointing at the blue sky

The story of Mother Angelica is a testament to her strength and wisdom. She went through a lot. Her life was full of ups and downs, and yet, she managed to stay true to her path and calling. She served as an inspiration for countless people across the world, and she managed to touch the hearts of many.

This is the beautiful story of one of the most influential people of our time. Mother Angelica, who managed to change the world.

The Beginning

When Rita Antoinette Rizzo was born in 1923 in Canton, Ohio, no one could have dreamt of the impact she would have on the entire country. This incredible woman managed to live through the Great Depression, poverty, hunger, divorce of her parents, mother’s illness, and to remain pure of spirit.

Panoramic of sunrays shining through sunset

Her faith eventually led her to a church in 1944, where she finally understood what she was meant to be. A local parish encouraged her decision to continue visiting convents, which is how she discovered Saint Paul’s Shrine of Perpetual Adoration. This facility was run by an order of contemplative nuns, and it was at this point she finally felt at home.

In 1945, she was vested as a member of the Order of Saint Clare, where her mother chose a new name and title for her - Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation! After spending three years at the monastery, Mother Angelica made her solemn profession of vows at the monastery Sancta Clara.

Our Lady of the Angels

Having discovered her path, Mother Angelica decided to build a religious community that would be appealing for African Americans in the southern part of the United States. She started looking for support and ways that would help her achieve this, and she, with the help of nuns from Poor Clare (Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration), started working to gain necessary funds.

The primary focus was selling and making fishing lures, and this small business allowed them to buy land in Irondale, Alabama. This was the beginning of an incredible community Mother Angelica managed to create. The name was Our Lady of the Angels Monastery or OLAM.

A couple of decades later, it was moved to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which she built in 1999. What is remarkable here is that Mother Angelica made a smaller model of the monastery. She showed that she is an excellent contractor, and her charisma and spirit made everything possible. Within a year, she and the Sisters managed to pay off the entire debt of the monastery by selling peanuts.

Interior of cathedral and its detailed stained glass windows

Moving to Radio Shows And TV Shows

It was in 1962 when Mother Angelica started a long series of community meetings. The topic of these meetings was catholicism, and she decided to start selling the recordings. At that time, Bishop Joseph Vath spotted her gift and how talented she was, and he encouraged her every step of the way.

These audio recordings evolved into a book, which was published in 1972. In the late seventies, videotaping replaced recordings, and they became a part of the Christian Broadcasting Network. In the early eighties, her visit to a television studio in Chicago changed everything.

She was impressed by the capabilities the studio had, which gave her an idea of starting her own show. Mother Angelica formed the EWTN corporation, which was a non-profit television network. The first couple of shows were recorded in the monastery, and she quickly became the voice of many Christians in the U.S.

Her focus on tradition was the basis of many feuds at the time with other members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. But that didn’t stop her. EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) became the biggest Catholic network ever.

Mother Angelica Live Classics started in 1983, and the series ran until 2001. She remained a beacon of hope and inspiration for so many people. Her live show was loved by many, and it was a unique opportunity to learn. Millions of homes watched the show across the country.

Mother Angelica Remains With Us

Portrait of Mother Angelica

After the show ended, Mother Angelica’s health started declining. It was one of the main reasons she decided to step down from the show. Many people across the world showed their respect. Pope Francis recorded a heartwarming message for Angelica.

And even though she left us on March 27, 2016, she will always remain with us. Mother Angelica was buried in a crypt in the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The gift and kindness she shared. Every little thing she wanted to teach us. Her legacy will live forever. And her dream became ours.

Many people realized the power she had and the brilliance of her idea. She managed to show to the world that the Church truly belongs in the popular media. There is a need to talk about it, to learn from it, and each day, we should be thankful for all that Mother Angelica did for us.

Today, we can take a look at all that she managed to accomplish and be grateful for everything. Mother Angelica was featured in Time magazine, she was named “the most influential Roman Catholic woman in America,” she received the papal medal, and her network is available in more than 140 countries.

But what is most important is the message she tried to convey. The story of love, tradition, and the Word of God. She will be forever missed.