Monday, March 28, 2016

A Couple of Thoughts On Mother Angelica - before she's canonized.

I loved Mother Angelica because she was so normal - down to earth, and ordinary.  No doubt she did extraordinary things.

While she is being piously eulogized, I've been searching online for some of her more off-beat quotes, and can't find them.  As we go forward, I suspect many things she said or did will be sanitized of anything that could be considered unedifying.  I might be wrong - but I think she was a lot like Pope Francis with her off the cuff remarks and snap 'judgments'.

Her locking horns with Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Foley is legendary and well known, and I'm sure it will be discussed online.  I think it was the encounter with Foley that incited M. Angelica to say on the air, if I remember correctly, that she'd rather "blow up the studio than let it get into the hands of the bishops!"  I love her for that.

I also remember one night after reading questions from the audience, she responded to a person who said someone they knew didn't believe in hell, she replied, "he will when he gets there!"

Another time, deeply disturbed by the Scorsese film, "The Last Temptation of Christ", she said she hoped God would punish Hollywood for the blasphemy, even maybe with a great quake and letting it be swallowed up by the sea.

As Arroyo always says - she was feisty.

I like that.

She had a rough and tough childhood. Some of the stories she told sounded a lot like my experiences.  The school sisters weren't that nice to her, she moved a lot, hung out in her uncle's? bar.  She was without guile.  She often cracked me up with her quips and straightforward opinions.

I'm convinced she was the perfect foundress-prioress for an enclosed community - perhaps like Teresa of Avila to some degree.  I also admire her for taking care of her mother in the monastery - I think her mom may have had a difficult personality.

Early on, Mother's Apostolate was an important influence among Charismatic Catholics.  I'm convinced it was she who evangelized them with devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the rosary, and the Eucharist.  Her pamphlets were widely distributed among Charismatics, providing solid catechesis on Catholic doctrine, which otherwise could be watered down and 'protestantized' within the very fluid Charismatic movement. 

This morning I'm thinking of her in heaven, completely dumbstruck and in awe, caught up in the beatific vision.

Padre Steve posted a great tribute from Bishop Barron here.


  1. Terry you are right about your recollections about Mother. She went through several phases, as we all do, as we grow. I have read that she was very involved with Charasmatic Catholics in the 1970's. Raymond Arroyo has written about those years as have others. She introduced Charasmatic practices at her monastery. It was not soon before Sisters were speaking in tongues. Eventually Mother disavowed this movement and in later years felt it had a diabolical element. Also she experimented with the communities habit. She wore a traditional 1950's, modified 1960-80's then a return to traditional in 1990's. She never claimed to be perfect but thought a persons salvation was worth being blunt. I appreciate that she described the nuns of her childhood as ",the meanest people on earth". I think this helped those with a bad experience with religious to identify with her. I visited Santa Clara Monastery in Canto Ohio in October. This was a monastery she was an original member of before going to Biringham. It was a peaceful place remarkably free of any mention of her or her work. I hope to visit Hanceville one day. I am certain her presence will be very strong there.

    1. She really helped me. I love her. I'm convinced she went straight to heaven.

  2. I think she was great! She wasn't a stereotypical saccharine sweet Virgin Mary 2.0 and she wasn't a ruler wielding bitter old crone. She was real. And it doesn't hurt my perception of her that she gave Mahoney a ticking off...

    1. Everything she did or said - controversial or not, endeared her to me. If she hadn't been a nun she would have been Dusty Towne - LOL! Sorry about that - but she was a character.

  3. My favorite was when she reached out to "the boys" (read: mafia) to help her get something constructed. I seem to recall it was her church. She was not above that. I can just see those stone killers falling down before her: 'Yes, Mother". Those Catholic schoolboy habits are hard to break! LOL

    1. Hi Cath! Meant to say happy Easter before but I haven't been keeping up on responses and emails.

      I loved her ways with ordinary people - she had a big heart.

  4. So true about partner's dad was a great guy who did donated a great deal of his time pro bono for people who couldn't pay..(he was a doctor) and delivered half of the people we know walking around today and a lot of it was free (that was back in the day) he loved his family, etc. but boy he was a character, with a mouth on him and opinions and brown drinks, and at his funeral I thought I was in the wrong Church...he was a sweet quiet generic person and all his personality muted.

    The only thing I know of Mother A is from being at my brother's house and she was on...(the least said about him sitting at home alone watching Mother A the better in my book but..who am I to judge..) and reading about her...but I can say this like her or leave her (she seemed to come off a little upidity to her guests, but thats a nun for you) she was a tough old broad..which I think is a great compliment. Who else but someone like that could build a network and take the boys on....( I could actually see her doing the board scene from Mommy Dearest..without dropping he F Bombs of course...)

    I hope they don't make her into a boring generic sweet saint...she was one tough old lady!


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