The Angels And Mother Angelica
By Anne Van Tilburg
Published on 09/24/2010
The Angels And Mother Angelica

The Angels And Mother Angelica
Millions of people have watched cable television's Eternal Word Television Network.  Mother Mary Angelica with a handful of sisters, two hundred dollars, and absolutely no knowledge of television has become the only woman in religious television who owns a network. Visitors to the EWTN complex outside Burmingham, Alabama, cannot help but be impressed with what God and his little nun have accomplished. A Monastery, network facilities and satellite dish, a print shop and chapel stand oddly in the midst of the Protestant Bible Belt. When Mother Angelica believed in 1981 that God was calling her to begin a media ministry, she simply did so, and everything else has fallen into place.

Fewer viewers know, perhaps, that Mother Angelica, who was born Rita Rizzo, had a rough childhood. After a bitter marriage her parents divorced when she was six. Little Rita was poverty-stricken, vulnerable, and, because of her mother's divorce, was excluded from her Canton, Ohio church community. Nor was she particularly impressed with the nuns.

"I remember sitting in church watching them pray, and vowing I would never be among their ranks," Mother Angelica said. "Their facial expressions were sour, their headpieces too large. I was convinced they were the most unhappy people I'd ever seen."

Then one day she experienced a moment of Grace. Mother Angelica has told the story often. About eleven years-old, and feeling especially lonely and sad, she was walking downtown one evening, oblivious to everything around her.

"I started to cross a busy street, then heard a woman's shrill scream behind me," she recalls. Rita looked back expecting to see someone in trouble, and instead realized that a car was speeding toward her, the headlights shining in her eyes. There was no time to get to a safety island. Rita froze, closed her eyes, and waited for the fatal impact. Instead, she felt two strong arms lift her high in the air. A moment later she blinked and looked around in disbelief. She was standing on the sidewalk!

Onlookers had expected to see the child's crumpled body. Instead they found an uninjured but very frightened girl. To them, she had definitely been hit and hurled by the force of the collision. They were all mystified at her lack of injuries. Rita and her mother gave thanks to God. They understood that despite their hardships, they were being cared for. That was the beginning of Rita's confidence in angels.

When she entered the Poor Clares convent, she chose a new name that would honor them. Later she founded and named Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.

Mount Gargano near the east coast of Italy has been famous since 404 AD, for the appearance of St. Michael the Archangel. A cave there serves as a basilica, and the sensations of heavenly power are extraordinary. Heading for this site some years ago, on the way from Asisi, Mother Angelica experienced one of the most dramatic angelic experiences on record. She was in the company of three other nuns and a Deacon named Bill Steltermeier. It wasn't just one angel they happened across, it was a carload!

They were about 20 miles from the cave when the five travelers found themselves at a crossroad and could not decide which way to turn. There was a road to the left and a road to the right. But there were no signs, and it was something of a dead end. All that was around were the stony hills and occasional livestock.

"I slowed down as I came to the intersection", said Deacon Bill, who is President of EWTN. "All of a sudden we saw a car coming very fast from the left. I rolled down my window. I wanted to ask him directions. He slowed down to probably 30 miles an hour. There were a whole bunch of handsome men in the car, three in the front and three in the back. I'm trying to wave at them. They were looking at us, smiling. All of a sudden a young man just jumps out of the back seat on the other side of the car while it's going 30 miles an hour and heads straight for us. The car never stopped! It just kept going. All of a sudden he had come out of the back. I was just flabbergasted! As he walks to me, I see he is just so handsome and as I'm wondering about how he got out, Mother Angelica is saying: "It's an angel! It's an angel!"

"I'm just totally surprised. I knew Mother Angelica was saying it was an angel, but I had never seen one. I'm ready to ask him the way to the top of the Gargano when he points to the mountain to the right and says: 'That way to Gargano', in perfect English. But he was as Italian as anyone I ever saw! He was extremely handsome, maybe 22 years old and very dynamic, yet extraordinarily young. I knew there was something about him that was different - just so handsome in a way I had never seen. I asked him if he wanted a ride. He said he would go back to the intersection where there were no houses and no people for 25 miles. It was desolate."

Bill recalled that the sisters were all excited. Mother Angelica kept repeating: "It's an angel! They started driving up the hill, the nuns looking back at the strange young man. As they watched, the stranger walked in a pattern that formed a cross! He did that six or seven times. All of a sudden the nuns cried out in union: "He's gone! He's gone! The young man had vanished before their eyes.

Source:  Ave Maria Magazine