Tuesday, April 5, 2016

So Long to a Feisty Nun

It is impressive the number of woman who have gained prominence in this so-called world of men. Women complain they are not paid as much as men for doing similar work, but, truth be known, it is women who have most of the jobs anymore.
Look around. There are more women in politics, more women in education, more women in television (it’s seldom to see a male news commentator anymore), more women in movies (and in roles where, in my opinion, they don’t belong – their presence weakens the plot), more women in medicine, and on and on.
The should-be jailbird Hillary Clinton is the darling of the Democrat Party. There are many women who have been elected to lead their countries around the world, i.e., Angela Merkel of Germany. There is no more famous television personality than Oprah. Dolly Parton is still one of Country’s leading stars. JK Rowling is one of the most successful authors in the history of publishing. Meg Whitman is still one of the most powerful business women on the globe. And there are currently three women on the U.S. Supreme Court. Then there are those who were dragged along on their husband’s shirttails to some degree of fame – Michelle Obama, Melinda Gates and, of course, the ubiquitous Hillary Clinton. There are, of course, many more prominent women.
You may recognize the names of most of the achievers; there are some you may not, but there is one very accomplished woman I would wager most of you never hear of. I say this because she (very fittingly) died on Easter Sunday and, as often as she has been the subject of conversation since, I have not met a non-Catholic who knew who she was. Mother Mary Angelica.
Mother Angelica of the Annunciation was a Franciscan nun who founded the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and a Catholic radio network (WEWN) with the goal of transmitting the words of the church the world over. She accomplished her goal in spades.
Mother Angelica was a tough cookie, as many who opposed her efforts found. Along the way she was intercepted by a gang of American Catholic bishops and cardinals who were pressuring her for time on EWTN in order to spread their “gospel” of liberalism to her watchers. She would have none of it. When they asked what she could do stop them from usurping her control of the network, she said, “I own the network.” When the bishops replied that she would not be around forever, she replied, “Then I’ll blow the whole damned place up before turning it over to you.” Mother wanted her listeners to hear the truth; she would stand for nothing less.
An accident when in her twenties caused a serious injury to her back, which left her in pain and wearing braces on her legs until she died at age 92. But she was too strong and willful to succumb to her suffering – she had things to do and nothing would stop her from doing the Lord’s work. From making and selling fishing lures to earn traveling money from Cleveland, OH, to Irondale, AL, to overseeing the construction of a monastery in Irondale and later the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, AL, she never lost sight of her dream. From the early 1980s until giving over her CEO’s responsibilities to trustworthy lay personnel in 2000 Mother Angelica was one of the most influential women in the Catholic Church, not an easy task for a nun, who usually are not counted among the hierarchy of the church. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI awarded Mother Angelica the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest award available to someone other than a priest.

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