Last week, Raymond Arroyo’s daughter was born.
This week, Arroyo’s New Orleans home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Next week, Arroyo’s biography of Mother Angelica, the cloistered nun who founded a media empire with cable television network EWTN, will be published.
"The past few weeks have been crazy, happy and sad, but that’s the way life is," said Arroyo, news director and lead anchor for EWTN news. "My house is a goner, my daughter (Mariella) is wonderful, and it took me five years to finish this book, but now it’s coming out. For me, this is time of beginnings and endings."
Arroyo will speak at 11 a.m. next Saturday in the International Agri-Center on the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg as part of WLOF-FM 101.7’s two-day Catholic conference which starts on Friday. The other featured speaker is the Rev. John Corapi, a former drug addict who became a priest. About 2,000 people are expected to attend, and Arroyo will do a book-signing after his speech.
One of the lessons Arroyo learned from Mother Angelica, 82, is that suffering is part of the human experience and can build spiritual strength.
"We all endure seemingly inexplicable suffering and pain at one time or another," Arroyo said. "The heart of Mother Angelica’s story is that she accepted that suffering and pain, and it led to her success."
Arroyo began interviewing Mother Angelica for the book in 1999.
About three years later, she suffered a massive stroke and can now barely speak. "Without knowing it, I captured the final testament of Mother Angelica," Arroyo said. "But I didn’t want it to be a cold history. I wanted to put the reader in the middle of her life."
He has done just that in a book that Lee Iacocca has called, "inspired" and "one of the great untold business stories of our time. Raymond Arroyo has captured the life and lessons of Mother Angelica, a woman who may well be the patron saint of CEOs." Time magazine called Mother Angelica "the most influential Catholic woman in America."
Today, EWTN reaches more than 110 million households worldwide. It all began 25 years ago when when Mother Angelica started broadcasting out of a garage near her Birmingham, Ala., monastery.
Somehow, an ethnic, earthy and elderly nun in a habit became a television star. She also weathered health and financial battles in addition to very public spats with Catholic bishops. Arroyo details those differences in "Mother Angelica" (Doubleday, 400 pages, $23.95).
One reason for tension, Arroyo said, was that she was the first to sign on with a Catholic network, one year ahead of the church hierarchy, which signed on with their own in 1982.
That network had "no personality and lousy programming," Arroyo added. Also, some bishops gave Mother Angelica, "the back of their hands" and made her life "miserable."
The biggest surprise Arroyo found out about Mother Angelica was her own crisis of faith, a profound and long-lasting "dark night" when she felt abandoned and had doubts about serving God.
Another emotional chapter comes near the end of the book. Two years ago, after her stroke, Mother Angelica went to Lourdes in search of a healing. Arroyo made that journey with her.
"At that point I considered myself a journalist, but we do have a close relationship," Arroyo said. "This book is an unauthorized biography. Mother told me, "Don’t sugarcoat my life, or you’ll spend 40 years in purgatory.’" [Source]
I was going to buy this book yesterday when I was at a Catholic book store, but the book was still under embargo till the 6th and they couldn’t sell it to me yet.
When our Lord Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate and was mostly silent, he gave all his followers, especially those in religious orders, an example of complete humility. Mother Angelica, a virtuous woman in many ways, paid a great price for her “publicly” taking to task one of our Lord’s Churchmen. I am by no means a defender of the Church Prince in question and his flirtations with heresy. However, had the good Mother Angelica privately met with the Cardinal and registered her complaint (as suggested by our Lord Himself), then the public apology she was forced to make would not be a stain on her otherwise sterling service to our Lord’s Church.
The “Poem of Jesus-The Man-God” is viewed by many Bishops, priest and devout faithful throughout the world as manna from Heaven especially during these most tumulutous times of humanity. Many would be wise to apply the Gamiliel principle to the Poem: “If it is of human origin, pay not attention to it for it will soon pass away; if it is from the Hand of God Himself, get out of the way, for there is nothing you can do to stop it.” I would have preferred Mother Angelica to have subscribed to this time tested rule.
Already ordered it from Amazon but they can’t ship it until next week.
I wish every Catholic would buy a copy and send it to the bestseller list. EWTN can be an oasis in a parched land. Thank you God and thank you Mother Angelica!
Hmmm… Arroyo and Fr. Corapi are going to be in Hamburg, NY next weekend? That’s only a 3.5 drive from me. I might have to trek up there.
A must buy book. I’ve been an EWTN fan fora while up here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I thank our mercisful and loving God for the great people He places with us to help us find Him.
Gotta book for Mass, but…
The Barnes and Noble in the new development near Little Five Points in Atlanta already has the book out for sale. Bought a copy yesterday, and as soon as I finish catching up with Harry Potter, I’ll be diving right in.
I learned of Mother Angelica when my six and seven year-old children were watching television and laughing. I came into the room to find out what they were watching and it was Mother Angelica talking about confession and how we needed to “dust off” the table of our souls through the sacrament and how some folks have a “dead cat” laying on the table they’ve so neglected the sacrament.
I started to watch just Mother Angelica Live, figuring that was probably the only good show, and even kidding with my family that if my grandmother were around she’d think it a holy obligation to keep the channel locked on EWTN and running 24 hours. THIS wouldn’t be me though. Well, lo and behold, I started tuning it more and more to EWTN for all the dreck that was on the other stations. So here I am, locked into EWTN.
LOL Teresa! I remember over the years every once and a while someone would ask me have you ever watched Mother Angelica? And I would say no and think to myself ‘ya right, like who watches a nun on tv?’ and then promptly forget about her until the next mention or maybe even a blurb in the newspaper about ewtn or Mother A. which I would hardly read. So she and EWTN were in a little locked box in my head for years and years, door closed, not visited much.
BUT THEN!!! I had this reconversion experience about 5 years ago and I started to go to Mass… and something was missing that niggled at me… I missed something… and one day while chanel surfing I actually stopped on EWTN while Mother A was on (she was still on tv back then) and I listened… what she was saying and a lot of what EWTN offers is exactly what I was missing all those years… reverence and beauty (the Masses and Adoration) and education and resources.
Say what you will, but Mother Angelica has accomplished, with God’s help, what no other Catholic has accomplished with the exception of maybe Bishop Fulton Sheen or Fr. Patrick Peyton.
From a couple of years ago:
“EWTN is available in 104 million television households in 110 countries. And with its worldwide short-wave radio station, direct broadcast satellite service, satellite delivered AM & FM radio networks, Internet website (www.ewtn.com) and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.”
All with $200 bucks and sacrifice and prayer!
Finished it!!! Mr. Arroyo does a great job, but then, he really had a great story to tell before he got there.
I remember when I first start reading about Catholicism, giving it serious consideration as something other than a bunch of superstitious nonsense, I’d read a little, put it out of my mind for a few weeks, come back a little… on and on.
Then one night, flipping through the channels, I found The Rosary with Mother and her nuns on EWTN. I made a lot of jokes about “brown penguins” and “silly beads”. And the next night, I turned back intentionally, but was still joking. By the third night, it just wasn’t funny anymore, but I didn’t pray, just watched. Entranced, almost.
Then I started making rosaries, mostly because I like tying knots I guess. Then I was on my knees a few days after, begging the Blessed Mother, if she were real, to ask her Son to give me some sort of faith, since I had none. And a week later, I was accosting a priest after Friday Benediction to start my catechesis.
Other people played a roll (Mel Gibson, Fr. John Hardon, VADEMECUM [identity still unknown to me]) but if it weren’t for Mother Angelica, I’d still be stuck where I was. Or in Hell already. She’s certainly done her part for all of us.
Franklin, thank you for your very touching testimony. May Mother Angelica continue to serve our Lord.
I have enjoyed Mother Angelica’s EWTN for many years, most notably the saintly Fr. Rutler. His demeanor is very humble, his logic erudite, yet, very simple to understand, and his devotion to our Lord Jesus & Blessed Mother Mary very contagious.
Shortly after Mother Angelica’s negative review of the Heavenly works “The Poem of Jesus, The Man-God,” along with her upbraiding certain Cardinals in the US, she sufferd the debilitating stroke that, as you all know, forced her into retirement. It could very well be that these items are unrelated. I hope so.
Still, I have often wondered about the timing of her physical demise in this regard. Regardless of these matters, her love for our Lord and her suffering with dignity is testimony to her resignation to the Lord’s mercy and love. Her eternal reward only awaits her when our Beloved Jesus beckons her with “well done faithful servant. . . ”
“Don’t sugarcoat my life or you’ll spend 40 years in purgatory.”
Classic Mother Angelica. I owe her and EWTN so much. They were a friend during my reversion in my 20s. There were no other serious Catholics I knew including the clergy in my own parish so it was EWTN and MA that sheparded me through it.
I can’t wait to buy the book and hope there is a book signing in the DC area.
I’ve thought, (a bit selfishly perhaps) that it is a shame Mother Angelica had a stroke and we don’t have her wit and wisdom directly addressing our everyday issues anymore (except in reruns).
BUT! What I’ve learned from her is… she may well be doing her most important work RIGHT NOW.
Never underestimate the prayers of our infirmed and handicapped. They pray, I believe, with a particular purity for you and I because they are enjoined with Christ in His suffering.
“Shortly after Mother Angelica’s negative review of the Heavenly works “The Poem of Jesus, The Man-God,” along with her upbraiding certain Cardinals in the US, she sufferd the debilitating stroke that, as you all know, forced her into retirement. It could very well be that these items are unrelated. I hope so.”
Read the book. You’ll come away with a feeling that she doesn’t consider them unrelated at all. Rather, she seems to view them as yet another blessing from Our Lord, along the lines of her MANY MANY other physical sufferings throughout her life, for her comments.
He has allowed her to suffer, to take part in His Suffering, in a way Cardinal M. has been denied.
And it shows.
Ok, now I am upset and might regret this posting…
Anyone who worships a god that might even consider visiting a stroke on an elderly nun as divine punishment for a negative critique of a book, or for pointing out that a Prince of the Church flirts publically with heresy, should be ashamed for bowing one knee to such a deity.
Regarding the Gamiliel principle quoted by ohevin, while the second sentance is perfectly wise, the first is sheer nonsense!
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were acts of men. Should we have paid them no mind?
Oh Heaven, ohevin!
Mother Angelica was never forced to make an apology.
She made a single throwaway comment, a comment she SHOULD NOT have made because it violates canon law, about not being obedient to a “Cardinal in California”.
Mahoney then demanded an apology and clarification, which she offered forthwith if her own accord, immediately followed by a full reading and critique of his recent publication on the Eucharist.
Mahoney then spent years, years, trying to get the apology he wanted rather than the apology she gave.
And during all those years of letter writing and trying to wrangle as many US Bishops into his corner as he could, what did Mother do?
She stayed silent, not only on the airwaves, but in private as well. The Cardinal was making a fool of himself without her help, that much was plain.
But the Cardinal’s stink did lead to an Apostolic Visitation, which completely vindicated her, but also laid a seed of doubt within her about the trust she could place in US Bishops. And so, just before the Visitation announced its results, she resigned, in as good a health as she had enjoyed most of her life, completely from EWTN leaving it totally in lay hands and outside the control of any bishop.
Then she had her stroke a few years later. If you going to question Mother’s blessings (the stroke), or her actions, why not get your facts straight before you do?
Further, you now compare God’s messenger announcing John the Baptist’s conception with a modern tome? I almost can’t believe I am wasting this bandwidth responding to such lunacy.
Interesting comments these.
FJ: thanks for the beautiful story!
Mother A. served until God wanted another to take her place… now she devotes her life to prayer. My son loves Fr. Pakwa and it is a wonderful thing, plus God’s providence that he is the ‘main face’ on EWTN at this time. Catholics need manly and holy priests — think of how many more pause before they click past EWTN when Fr. Pakwa is on the screen.
I wish the various dioceses could do what EWTN does.
Forgot to say I got the book from Amazon today.. I also ordered and received Mother Angelica’s book “Answers, not promises” and Rabbi Dalin’s “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope” —- boy am I a happy camper!!!
Someone has to speak out when they see something that goes against church teaching. We are so worried about being politically correct that we are compromising our principles. Last week in church we sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth” and instead of singing the original lyric, “let me walk with my brother”, we sang the alternative lyric, some silliness about “let me walk with my family”. Everyone knows that brother means men and women. This inclusive language we have to use is ridiculous. We are catering to a few feminists who are mad because they can’t be priests. As a matter of fact, in tribute to Mother Angelica, I sang the original lyric. What good have the feminists done for us? No good. They wanted abortion legalized, why, so women who wanted to terminate a pregnancy could do so safely? No, so that women could be just as sleazy as men who sleep around, with no type of commitment. They have sold us a lie and we bought into it. They are still lying to us. We can thank the feminists partly for the state our country is in, a country with no morals. I am glad that NARAL and NOW are shaking in their stiletto heeled boots over the fact that Judge Roberts is a practicing Catholic who might overturn their precious Roe v.Wade. Maybe they will now have to think twice about hopping into bed with any man they find attractive. Oh sure they started out with good intentions, equal pay, equal jobs, but then they just started going off the deep end. No matter how much they may wish it, men and women are not the same. Just because a few people might be offended shouldn’t mean we have to change everything we do to suit them. A good example is Michael Newdow, an atheist who doesn’t want the Pledge of Allegiance said in school because it contains the words “under God.” He brought his frivolous complaint to court and even more ridiculous, the judge ruled in his favor!! Maybe Mr Newdow needs to stop and think about how our country has gone downhill in the last 40 years. I started asking myself why this is happening and it finally dawned on me, it is because we are paying less and less attention to God. The secularists are working to get God removed from everything. We can’t say Merry Christmas, we can’t have a nativity scene in a public area, now this joker Newdow wants to remove God from the Pledge and also from money. We as believers have to stand up to these people and say we want God in our lives and we want God involved in the decisions judges and politicians make. We shouldn’t let a few speak for the majority. This country is 85% Christian. Lets have some backbone like dear Mother Angelica and make some noise.
What a story, how God picks the small to do the big. Quite a story and Raymond, tells the story in a wonderful way. Mother Angelica, has a strong trust in Our Lord, may all share in this trust.
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