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.