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Mother Mary Angelica

  • Birthplace: Canton, Ohio
  • Birthday: April 20
Date of passing: 
March 27, 2016

Obituary

Obituary: 

Mother Mary Angelica was a Franciscan nun who achieved media renown as the founder of the Eternal World Television Network, the largest Roman Catholic television network in the United States.

Established in 1981 with an initial investment of just $200, EWTN, which began broadcasting in a monastery garage in Irondale, Alabama eventually grew to include radio, print and internet channels. Its 11 television networks reach an estimated 250 million homes in more than 145 countries and territories worldwide.

Mother Mary Angelica was a Franciscan nun who achieved media renown as the founder of the Eternal World Television Network, the largest Roman Catholic television network in the United States.

Established in 1981 with an initial investment of just $200, EWTN, which began broadcasting in a monastery garage in Irondale, Alabama eventually grew to include radio, print and internet channels. Its 11 television networks reach an estimated 250 million homes in more than 145 countries and territories worldwide.

Born Rita Antoinette Rizzo, Mother Angelica reportedly traced her devotion to God to a period in her teens and twenties when she experienced chronic debilitating abdominal illness. She prayed for relief from the condition and, in January of 1943, awoke after an excruciating night to discover that the pain had vanished, which she regarded as a miracle.

She devoted her life to her faith in 1944, when she entered the religious order Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration monastery in Cleveland, Ohio.

In the 1960s she helped to establish a new monastery in Alabama. There, in the 1970s, she began making Catholic-themed videos for local television, as well as a teaching series for the area's CBS affiliate station. Her productions drew the attention of Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson and others, who began airing them in other markets.

Mother Angelica branched out on her own in the aftermath of an incident when her local station declined to preempt a made-for-television movie that she did not agree with. After converting her monastery's garage into a small studio, EWTN was born. It eventually aired an array of Catholic-focused series, including the talk show Mother Angelica Live.

Known for her conservative views of Catholic doctrine and other issues, Mother Angelica sometimes clashed with Church leaders who, in her view, did not adhere to traditional Catholicism as espoused by the Vatican.

Mother Angelica died on March 27, 2016 — Easter Sunday — in Hanceville, Alabama. She was 92.

According to the network's announcement of her passing, she was the only woman in television history to found and lead a cable television network for 20 years.

 

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