Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation
Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation was born in Canton, Ohio in 1923. Her father abandoned the family when she was 5 years old. Her mother had some mental health challenges and Mother Angelica had to take on adult roles at a young age.
Mother Angelica suffered from stomach issues and her mother took her to a mystic and stigmatic who claimed she was a visionary of St. Therese of Lisieux. The mystic directed Mother Angelica to pray a novena to St. Therese and made her promise that she would spread devotion to the Little Flower if she was cured and she was. A few years later she gave her life to the Lord.
Mother Angelica started her religious journey in 1944 and met many challenges along the way. She made her profession of vows at Sancta Clara Monastery in Ohio in 1953. She had the inspiration to create a religious community that would appeal to African Americans in the South and began to seek support. An archbishop suggested Birmingham. She and a few Poor Clare nuns worked to raise funds, partially from a small business venture making and selling fishing lures. They bought a building and land, and in 1962, officially established the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale. Today Irondale is the location of the television station.
Mother Angelica also began to host a series of community meetings on relevant Catholic matters and record her talks for sale in 1962. A bishop recognized her charism for communication with the lay public and encouraged her to continue. She began taping radio shows for Sunday morning broadcast and published her first book in 1972. By the late 1970’s she began videotaping her talks for television, to be broadcast on CBN. She also was traveling countrywide speaking and calling people to holiness. During a trip to Chicago, Mother Angelica visited a Baptist-run television station and was impressed by the possibilities. She realized how many more people she could reach. She formed EWTN, recording her shows in a converted garage at the monastery. By December 1992, she launched a radio network.
Mother Angelica claimed in 1999 she had a vision in which she was told to build a shrine in honor of the Child Jesus. Through private donations, she was able to open the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama in late 1999. Our Lady of Angels Monastery was moved to this site. The shrine is currently a pilgrimage site with an Our Lady of Lourdes grotto and a Eucharistic garden.
Mother Angelica is a Catholic pioneer woman who started broadcasting religious programs from a converted garage. Today EWTN is a worldwide media network that includes radio, TV, internet channels and printed media.
Mother Angelica died, at age 92, on March 27, 2016