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Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network…

by Raymond Arroyo

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451442,781 (4.41)None
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The extraordinary saga of Mother Angelica--who passed away on Easter, 2016--founder of the multimillion-dollar Eternal Word Television Network and "the most influential Catholic woman in America" according to Time magazine In 1981, the year after Ted Turner founded CNN, a simple nun, using merely her entrepreneurial instincts and $200, launched what would become the world' s largest religious media empire in the garage of a Birmingham, Alabama, monastery. Under her guidance, the Eternal Word Television Network grew at a staggering pace, both in viewership and in influence, to where it now reaches over a hundred million viewers in hundreds of countries around the globe. Born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, in 1923, Mother Angelica was abandoned by her father and raised in poverty by a mother who suffered from suicidal depressions. As a young woman, Rita developed severe abdominal pain that doctors dismissed as a "nervous condition," but when she sought the prayers of a local mystic, her symptoms disappeared. Awakened to the power of prayer, she vowed to dedicate her life to God and became a cloistered nun, expecting to spend her life hidden from the world. But Rita's faith soon compelled her to unlikely endeavors, from establishing a monastery in Alabama to starting the world's first Catholic cable network. Relying solely on "God's providence," Mother Angelica built an empire without concern for budgets or fund-raising campaigns, achieving what even the highest levels of the Catholic Church had been unable to do. Raymond Arroyo combines his journalist' s objectivity and eye for detail with more than five years of exclusive interviews with Mother Angelica. He traces Mother Angelica's tortured rise to success and exposes for the first time the fierce opposition she faced, both inside and outside of her church. It is an inspiring story of survival and proof that one woman's faith can move more than mountains.… (more)
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  StFrancisofAssisi | May 17, 2019 |
A very well-written and entertaining biography. ( )
  adeleb88 | Aug 8, 2016 |
This story talks about Mother Angelica and her unlikely beginnings of becoming a sister. Through her many difficulties and strife, she allowed God to lead her to what her purpose in life would be. She began the Eternal Word Television Network, and stayed the course of Catholicism, when even bishops (in CA especially) wanted her to change her ideas on what the Eucharist really is. She stood strong and worked for her bridegroom, Jesus. A woman of incredible vision and strength.
  7mary7 | Sep 2, 2015 |
Raymond Arroyo weaves a fascinating tale of the sickly, unwanted child who rises to become arguably the most powerful woman in the world, controlling a broadcasting empire reaching into 100 million homes around the globe.

Arroyo, anchor of the EWTN news program "The World Over," does not sugar-coat his portrayal of Mother's life, as someone so close to her might well be suspected of doing. Nor is this simply a digest of Mother's reminisces. Arroyo has done plenty of his own research and interviews to present the fact surrounding Mother, her network and her monastic foundations.

The tale of her early life, with it's suffering and lonliness, makes for good reading. Who can not relate on some level to the physical, emotional and spiritual trials she suffered? The tales of life in the cloister are interesting and surprising. Arroyo includes all of the phases Mother and her nuns went through, from the charismatic renewal, short veils and a swimming pool and back again to strict enclosure, chapter faults and silence. As the tale unfolds we see plainly how a Lenten retreat for lay women at the monastery evolved through the years into EWTN.

But the most intriguing part of the story, for me, begins with World Youth Day 1993. Mother was incensed when the Stations of the Cross were presented, from Denver, live on EWTN for all the world to see, with a female Jesus. From that time until Mother's resignation as Chairman of the Board of EWTN in 2000 there is a trail of political wrangling between Mother, EWTN, the Bishops' Conference and the Vatican. Here Arroyo deftly chronicles it all month by month, year by year.

Arroyo's writing style is engaging, although he does tend to change the way he refers to himself throughout the book. Sometimes in the first person, "I" or "me," sometimes as "the author" or "this author." One style carried through would have been easier on the reader. Otherwise, aside from some errors on the dates in the photo section, the book is wonderfully written. Arroyo has a sense of timing and suspense which makes the book, especially the post-World Youth Day years, a page-turner. ( )
1 vote maryanntherese | Oct 20, 2006 |
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The extraordinary saga of Mother Angelica--who passed away on Easter, 2016--founder of the multimillion-dollar Eternal Word Television Network and "the most influential Catholic woman in America" according to Time magazine In 1981, the year after Ted Turner founded CNN, a simple nun, using merely her entrepreneurial instincts and $200, launched what would become the world' s largest religious media empire in the garage of a Birmingham, Alabama, monastery. Under her guidance, the Eternal Word Television Network grew at a staggering pace, both in viewership and in influence, to where it now reaches over a hundred million viewers in hundreds of countries around the globe. Born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, in 1923, Mother Angelica was abandoned by her father and raised in poverty by a mother who suffered from suicidal depressions. As a young woman, Rita developed severe abdominal pain that doctors dismissed as a "nervous condition," but when she sought the prayers of a local mystic, her symptoms disappeared. Awakened to the power of prayer, she vowed to dedicate her life to God and became a cloistered nun, expecting to spend her life hidden from the world. But Rita's faith soon compelled her to unlikely endeavors, from establishing a monastery in Alabama to starting the world's first Catholic cable network. Relying solely on "God's providence," Mother Angelica built an empire without concern for budgets or fund-raising campaigns, achieving what even the highest levels of the Catholic Church had been unable to do. Raymond Arroyo combines his journalist' s objectivity and eye for detail with more than five years of exclusive interviews with Mother Angelica. He traces Mother Angelica's tortured rise to success and exposes for the first time the fierce opposition she faced, both inside and outside of her church. It is an inspiring story of survival and proof that one woman's faith can move more than mountains.

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