EWTN founder Sister Angelica turns 90

Sister Angelica, the contemplative nun who founded the Eternal Word Television Network and made it one of the world’s biggest religious broadcasting operations, has celebrated her 90th birthday.

“That a cloistered nun with no experience was able to build a worldwide Catholic media network based in Irondale, Alabama, reaffirms my faith every day,” said Michael Warsaw, president and chief executive officer of EWTN, in a birthday message. “It is nothing short of miraculous.”

Mother Angelica was born in 1923 to an Italian-American family in Ohio and had a difficult childhood in a broken home during the Great Depression. As a child she suffered a severe stomach ailment, from which she believed she was miraculously cured.

She then decided to devote her life to God, joining the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, a contemplative Franciscan community. In 1962 she founded a monastery for the order in Irondale, Alabama.

In the 1970s Mother Angelica began making videotaped programmes for television, including a CBS affiliate station. When the CBS station scheduled a controversial movie, she refused to produce any more shows for that station and converted a garage behind the monastery into a television studio.

Her programmes aired on various Christian stations while she planned to buy satellite space to launch her own Catholic cable channel.

EWTN began in 1981, broadcasting for five hours a day and featuring a weekly televised Mass, re-runs of Bishop Fulton Sheen programmes, Lutheran dramas, some 1950s westerns, and a talk show called Mother Angelica Live.

EWTN is now available in over 150 million television households in more than 140 countries. It uses direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM and FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio, an internet website and a publishing arm.

As a voice for American conservative and traditional Catholics, Mother Angelica has had disagreements with some Catholic bishops, one of them over a pastoral letter by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles on the Eucharist and liturgy. After this dispute, EWTN set up its own theology department.

Mother Angelica turned control of EWTN over to a board in 2000, and in 2001 suffered a stroke and ceased live TV appearances.


Catholic News Agency

Mother Angelica (Wikipedia)

Image: Insite

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,