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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Born in Canton, Ohio, USA
Died in Hanceville, Alabama, USA
Birth NameRita Antoinette Rizzo

Mini Bio (2)

Mother Angelica was born Rita Antionette Rizzo in Canton, Ohio, in 1923 as the only child of John and Mae Rizzo. Her childhood was marred by poverty and unhappiness. Her father abondoned the family when she was very young, and her mother struggled with chronic depression and poverty. They struggled to run a dry-cleaning business, living in a rat-infested apartment and barely making ends meet. Also, they suffered ostrocism for the divorce, and young Rita had very few friends. Rita learned responsibility at a young age, helping her mother run the business, and the hard work took a toll on her school grades. Later, she would remark "I worked hard for those Fs." She and her mother were not regular church goers, yet they were fervent in their Catholic faith and belief in God's providence. One day, Rita was making a delivery when she narrowly missed being run down by a truck. She said it was as though two strong hands had lifted her to safety. She immediately told her mother, and both took it as a sign. A few years later, at age 15, Rita developed a severe intestinal ailment and couldn't get medical care. She started praying the stations of the cross at her local church, and was miraculously healed. During one of her sojourns to St. Anthony's, kneeling before Our Lady of Sorrows, the impossible happened. "When I knelt I just knew it, I just knew it. I was to be a nun," Mother Angelica says. Directed by a local monsignor, Rita joined the Poor Clares, a contemplative order dedicated to adoration of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in 1944.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

Mother Angelica, was born Rita Rizzo in Canton, Ohio on the 20th of April, 1923. The inter-war years were difficult and Rita forged her way through a rough childhood before she entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (PCPA) monastery in Cleveland. Early in her youth, Rita was left with her mother to piece together a living with odd-jobs, which resulted in the two often hungry, poor, and in need. Physical suffering would accompany Rita throughout her life. In her teenage years, she was plagued with a severe stomach ailment, which was only relieved after fervent recourse to the intercession of St. Therese at the recommendation of the mystic, Rhoda Wise. Realizing God's immense love for her through this incredible recovery, Rita resolved to give herself totally to God.

After a covert visit to the Poor Clare Monastery at the St. Paul Shrine in Cleveland, and knowing that it would prove to be a near impossible parting with her mother, Mae, Rita left home at the age of 21, sending her mother a letter informing her of her decision and desire to follow Christ in religious life.

Rita Rizzo entered the PCPA monastery in Cleveland on August 15, 1944 and a year later received the holy habit and the name her mother chose for her - Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. Soon after this transition into the novitiate, the Cleveland Monastery established a new foundation in Canton, and Sr. Angelica was chosen to be a member of the new community there. On January 2, 1947 she made her first profession of vows and the same date in 1953, gave herself irrevocably to her Spouse through solemn vows.

During a typical day of work at Sancta Clara Monastery, Sr. Angelica had yet another life changing experience. Thrown by an electric floor-scrubbing machine while cleaning, Sister suffered a terrible back injury and faced an operation that threatened to leave her paralyzed. Not to be deterred in her desire to serve God, this tenacious nun promised God that if she could walk after the surgery, she would build Him a monastery in the South. True to her word and God's goodness, the surgery was a success and Sister Angelica began the arduous process of obtaining the permissions and raising the funds to build a monastery.

Mother Angelica's inspiration to build a monastery in the South took shape when Archbishop Toolen of Mobile extended his invitation, "ya'll come!" The Sisters collaborated on an unusual fund-raising project, "St. Peter's Fishing Lures," to raise money for the new monastery. On May 8, 1962, Mother Angelica, Sister Raphael, Sister Joseph, Sister Michael and Sister Assumpta, the founding Sisters of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, left Sancta Clara Monastery in Canton OH for the new foundation in Alabama.

On May 20, 1962, Our Lady of the Angels Monastery was dedicated by Archbishop Toolen. Mother Angelica and the founding Sisters took up residence in the monastery, inaugurating our life of prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament here in the South. Mother Angelica's mother, Mae Francis, entered as an extern postulate on the same day. A few months later, Sister Veronica, formerly the abbess of Sancta Clara Monastery transferred to the fledgling community.

Mother and the Nuns were received by the people of Birmingham with great love and tremendous support. Visitors began to come to OLAM, evidently drawn to the quiet Presence in the chapel. After the Nuns had made their new home in Irondale and funds were still desperately needed, the creation of the "Lil 'Ol Peanut Co." helped to keep the monastery running.

In 1972, almost a decade after the founding of the monastery, Mother Angelica's charisma and gift of teaching unfolded even more when she began to write "Mini Books." The first of many books was Journey into Prayer. The Sisters printed, packaged and shipped these inspired works by the thousands. After many leaps of faith, on August 15, 1981, Mother Angelica launched Eternal Word Television Network at 6:00 PM. It was a day of great rejoicing for all the community. It was hardly foreseeable that this new missionary endeavor that had begun in the OLAM garage with only $200.00, would become the great media apostate that it is today. The Nuns supported the Network from the beginning, taking calls at the telethons, giving tours to visitors, opening mail, printing programs, and most of all praying for the work God had surprisingly entrusted to these cloistered nuns!

A rather visible change in the Sister's life occurred in August 1993. Mother Angelica made a decisive public stand for orthodoxy at the Denver WYD, and announced that the Sisters at OLAM would return to wearing the full traditional habit. Mother's zeal to make the God she loved, known and loved by others, continued to grow throughout her life unabated. MA presents Nino - just arrived - with rose. Year after year and opportunity after opportunity gave rise to Mother's spiritual talks, writing and printing of Mini- Books, studio productions and the beginning of EWTN - what would become a Catholic Multimedia Enterprise - all which ran astride and flowed from her dedication to Jesus, the Eternal Word made Flesh. Mother Angelica's LIVE show endeared her to people from every walk of life. Her uncanny wit, down to earth humor and ability to relate to the struggles of every-day existence proved to disarm the wary and enabled her to befriend the lonely. Her unswerving commitment and fidelity to the will of God, manifested in the present moment, served to point others to the path of holiness.

As the Poor Clare Nuns at the monastery in Irondale grew in numbers, and as EWTN continued to expand and thrive, Mother decided to move the community to a more rural place, conducive to the contemplative way of life. The inspiration for the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament adjacent to OLAM, received its beginning from the request of the Divine Child while Mother was traveling in Bogota Columbia for an EWTN promotion. His promise to "help those who help you" in building a Temple in His honor, has been kept these many years. Dedicated in 1999,

The monastery and Shrine where Mother Angelica continues to live, is a testimony and instrument of God's Love. On Christmas Eve, 2001, Mother Angelica suffered a severe cerebral hemorrhage. She made a remarkable recovery but since that day has never regained full ability to speak. Although her life now does not fully resemble the days past where she was CEO and beloved Mother to millions through her programs, undoubtedly her work is all the more significant in the heart of the Church as she continues to live in silent communion with Our Lord. She was named Abbess Emeritus and she received the papal medal of honor, the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontificate, in 2009, a beautiful tribute to a woman of great faith.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: An employee

Trivia (16)

Recovering from 2 strokes suffered since late 2001.
Her parents, John Rizzo and Mae Helen Gianfransisco, divorced in 1929.
Before becoming a nun herself, she had disliked all the nuns she had met, describing them as "the meanest people I've ever known."
Young Rita Rizzo's mother was opposed to her desire to become a nun. So she ran away from home to enter a convent under the name Sister Angelica, which nearly ended their relationship entirely. Several years later, her mother not only reconciled with her daughter, but became a nun herself. She was admitted into the same convent as her daughter, just as Sister Angelica was promoted to Mother Angelica. Reflecting on this turn of events, Mother Angelica recalls "I called my mother Sister and she called me Mother."
Is Mother Superior at Our Lady of the Angels Monastary in Irondale, Alabama. [2004]
Entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration monastery in Cleveland at age 21, and eventually helped open the Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama in 1962.
Mother Angelica passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday March 27, 2016 at the age of 92 at the monastery from complications due to the stroke she had 14 years prior.
Mother Angelica is the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and hosted a show on it "Mother Angelica Live" from 1983 to 2001.
Following what some considered a scandalous World Youth Day '93 in Denver, Colorado (Catholic Church's world-wide event), Mother Angelica and her nuns return to wearing their traditional habits on Christmas Eve, 24 Dec 1993. In the following year Mother also institutes previously abandoned cloister practices such as the stating of faults, strict silence, prostration during the Consecration at Mass, and more. Mother herself begins to spend three hours a day in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
In May 2004 Alabama Broadcaster's Association names Mother Angelica as "Citizen of the Year.".
On 29 Jan 1998 following praying the rosary the previous day with Paola Albertini, an Italian mystic, Mother Angelica begins to walk without her braces. Three physicians independently examine her and find the healing is real.
Following her second stroke in Dec 2001 and deteriorated health Mother stops hosting her shows. But in Oct 2002 she tapes new rosary video with her nuns for EWTN, which begins airing in March 2003. In Dec 2002 Mother also appears in a pre-taped segment on a live program saying "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.".
In 1946 Mother Angelica, still a young nun, Sister Angelica, has an accident that injures her spine, causing her ongoing pain and requiring her to wear leg braces for most of her life. In May 1993 during a hospital stay the severity of Mother's cough shatters a vertebra in her spine, damaging a nerve to her right leg and causing her excruciating pain. She now wears a new back and leg brace and can only walk with crutches.
On 4 Oct 2009 Mother Angelica receives the papal medal (Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice) from Pope Benedict XVI for her distinguished service to the Catholic Church.
On 24 Dec 2001 Mother has a second stroke and collapses. Her only chance of survival is immediate brain surgery. Medical personnel say if Mother does not die within the week, she will be a complete vegetable. A week later, she can not only move her legs, but feeling returns to the left side of her face. On 25 Jan 2002 Mother Angelica returns home although she will experience seizures of varying intensities over the next two years. She is confined to bed for long periods of time. Her language skills deteriorate.
On 5 Sep 2001 Mother Angelica has a stroke which results in the paralysis of half her face. On 11 Dec 2001 with one eye patched as a result of her stroke, Mother Angelica falls cracking her left arm above the elbow. The next day, she is given the wrong plasma to thicken her blood, which contributes to her perilous condition.

Personal Quotes (2)

We (my mother and I) were like a pair of refugees. We were poor, hungry, and barely surviving on odd jobs before my mother learned the dry cleaning business as an apprentice to a Jewish tailor in the area. Even then, we pinched pennies just to keep food on the table.
If you combine all the love of every person in who ever existed from Adam and Eve to everyone alive today, that's still not as much love as God feels for you right now.

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