Mother Angelica: EWTN Founder Dies Aged 92

Mother Angelica: EWTN Founder Dies Aged 92

Mother Mary Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), died Sunday at the age of 92.

EWTN's chairman Michael Warsaw said Mother Angelica would always personify the network. We are grateful for your prayers for this courageous daughter of the Church and your support of EWTN, the media network that she founded for the salvation of souls.

With her blunt talk and often caustic sense of humor, Mother Angelica was a familiar presence on EWTN through her Mother Angelica Live program throughout the 1980s and '90s. Two years later, she was invited again to the city of her birth, Canton, to found a new monastery.

A more significant clash occurred in 1997, when Angelica criticized Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles for proposing changes in the sacrament of Holy Communion that she viewed as a breach of core church doctrine.

Mother Angelica, an Ohio-born Poor Clare nun, founded EWTN Global Catholic Network in Alabama in 1981.

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Bedridden for months, Mother Angelica was placed on a feeding tube this fall as her health slowly declined, fellow nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery said in an announcement released in November.

Wearing a black-and-white habit and a sweet but steely smile, Mother Angelica would not hesitate to scold church leaders who she felt were too lax in their teachings or practices. By 1980, the Nuns had converted the garage of their monastery into a television studio. When famously liberal Cardinal Roger Mahoney issued a letter she thought "watered down the Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharistic bread, she rebutted his letter point by point on TV and refused to back down when he threatened her with losing her religious community and her cable network. EWTN also has a popular website and since 2011 has operated the National Catholic Register newspaper.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley was among those to pay tribute.

Although she had been out of the public eye for years and was no longer appearing on her trademark Mother Angelica Live show, old episodes of her show have remained a programming staple on Eternal Word.

At 21, she said she was cured of a painful stomach ailment by a Catholic faith healer, although her doctors were skeptical. On Christmas Eve of 2001, Mother Angelica suffered a debilitating stroke and cerebral hemorrhage which took away her capacity to speak.

The plump nun in the ankle-length brown robe and hair-concealing white scapular, with her high-pitched voice and frequent piercing cackle, drew audiences of millions worldwide with rambling discourses on faith and the Bible, cheery fundraising pitches and humorous maxims.

Father Joel Martin, president of St. Bernard Preparatory School, remembers Mother Angelica's challenge to students in 1999 during the annual commencement speech. Over the years, that relationship grew, and today the Knights of Columbus and EWTN partner regularly on important projects.

On a visit to a Christian network in Chicago in 1978, she saw her future.

"She heeded the call of the Second Vatican Council to bring the Gospel message into contemporary society".

Mother Angelica is pictured in July 1981. We have all lost a friend, a mentor, a spiritual mother, a voice of conscience, and a source of laughter and encouragement.

"I have a joy and peace more so than mourning", he said.