The extraordinary saga of Mother Angelica, 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Mother Angelica|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group|
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One Miserable Life
Mother Angelica came into the world overlooked and certainly unwanted, at least by her father. She was born Rita Antoinette Rizzo in the unassuming town of Canton, Ohio, on April 20, 1923.
Aside from being the birthplace of President William McKinley, Canton was a forgotten industrial hamlet an hour or so outside of Cleveland. Great scattering streaks of brown smoke billowed from her chimney-dotted skyline, an emblem of the productivity issuing from the little town. Steel was the backbone of Canton: the building block of the new century and the lure for thousands of immigrants. From Canton's mills and production lines spilled the ball bearings, streetcars, bricks, telephones, and pipe fittings that would propel the nation into its greatest period.
Apart from the industry, Canton was, as it is today, a pleasant green pasture of rolling hills in the middle of the country, a place to raise a family and avoid the chaos and congestion of city life. That is, unless you lived in the southeast part of town, where Rita Rizzo was born.
In 1923, southeast Canton was known as the red-light district, or "the slums," according to some. For the blacks and hordes of Italian immigrants who worked in the Canton mills, the southeast was home. Italians were confined to the district by a combination of illiteracy and the constant tribute demanded by their wayward countrymen. It was a ghetto ruled by the Black Hand, a criminal organization with roots in Sicily. And though the mobsters carried black-handled revolvers as they conducted business in the neighborhood, the name Black Hand originated in the old country. Mob activity flourished d