A modern-day prophet died this Easter. Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN and “the Bishop Fulton Sheen of her generation,” died yesterday at the age of 92.
I highly recommend her official biography, Mother Angelica: the remarkable story of a nun, her nerve, and a network of miracles, by Raymond Arroyo. It will acquaint you with an extraordinary woman of faith who married brilliant business acumen with heroic supernatural outlook.
Like all prophets, she unsettled the Establishment and raised the ire of the powerful. On several occasions, bishops and cardinals in America waged aggressive campaigns to silence her, seeking to take over or close down EWTN. Throughout it all, Mother Angelica tenaciously navigated a difficult course which was faithful to natural justice and holy obedience. (It’s easy to imagine her in Heaven swapping notes with St Mary MacKillop. They have a lot in common; I think they’d get along famously.)
Perhaps the defining moment in Mother Angelica’s apostolate was in 1993, in the midst of Denver’s triumphant World Youth Day festival. She broadcast an editorial which infuriated many bishops and cardinals. Archbishop Rembert Weakland described it this way:
For a half hour she ranted and raved about all the abuses since Vatican II, according to her own personal judgment which, of course, she equates with that of the Holy Father. It was one of the most disgraceful, un-Christian, offensive, and divisive diatribes I have ever heard.
I wouldn’t put it that way. I think it is an honest, courageous, and entirely faithful rallying cry, which is still pertinent 20 years later. Watch it and judge for yourself:
Mother Angelica, it seems to me, was a good and faithful servant. May God now complete the good work He began in her. Requiescat in pace.