IRONDALE, Ala. (AP) — The chaplain of the Eternal World Television Network remembered its founder, Mother Mary Angelica, during a memorial sermon at the station's headquarters Tuesday and recalled the days leading up to the Easter Sunday death of the Roman Catholic nun.
Before her death, Mother Angelica, 92, told nuns to do whatever they could to keep her alive because she considered her suffering an act of devotion to God, Al.com quoted EWTN Chaplain Joseph Wolfe as saying (http://bit.ly/1UAoCh8).
"This is the greatest power on Earth, the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus our lord," Wolfe said. "This was something that Mother understood. She wanted to love Him in return. That was her whole life."
Mother Angelica, born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, in 1923, entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration monastery in Cleveland at age 21 and moved south with other nuns to open a new monastery in Alabama in 1962. Mother Angelica launched a religious talk show in 1981 in the garage of a monastery in rural Alabama that eventually grew into the Eternal World Television Network. The network has been blessed by the Vatican, and EWTN officials say it broadcasts 24 hours a day in 144 countries and territories.
Mother Angelica had been in declining health since a cerebral hemorrhage on Christmas Eve in 2001. Last fall, fellow nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery released a statement saying that she had been placed on a feeding tube.
Wolfe said Mother Angelica had a bone fracture that developed because she had been bedridden for months and began crying out in pain Friday. Nuns and priests were at her side praying when she died Sunday afternoon, Wolfe said.
"We had just finished praying the divine mercy chaplet. We all continued to pray silently around her bed. Then it was shortly before 5 p.m. that she went to the father's house. She breathed her last," Wolfe said.
Public visitation is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. Mother Angelica's funeral Mass is set for 11 a.m. Friday and EWTN officials have said the network plans to televise the events.