Friday, December 21, 2007

Mother Angelica - Nun, Saint, CEO

I just finished Raymond Arroyo's MOTHER ANGELIA: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles.

I'm late reading this remarkable book about a even more remarkable woman. I guess I didn't expect much more than platitudes of an employee about his employer. Big mistake.

The book reads more dramatically than the best crime mystery. And there are crimes in this book, if not by the liberal bishops of the Catholic Church (why can't the Vatican dismiss them as rebellious children they are) or the mafia syndicate bosses Mother gets to fund and build her projects.

But led of God like none other, she is as John Paul II called her has he gripped her face and wimple "The Grand Chief! The Grand Chief!" He couldn't straighten out the liberal church in America, but the nun with only a high school education could.

During the last 1/2 of the book, I felt that if the Catholic Church hierarchy and it's membership in America was 1/2 as true to Christ's calling as this woman was, the anti-Catholic bigotry by some few radical Protestants, and ignorant pagans, would be silenced. The American Catholic Church, in many ways, deserves the bad press it gets. I saw it growing up in Dearborn, MI, I've experienced it in the halls of conferences with arrogant priests who refuse to wear collars, and I've read the columns, and heard the homilies that sound more like moral relativists and Protestants than men of God who have promised obedience to the Pope, and we've all seen it in the recent priest scandals. Now, come the stories surrounding Mother Angelica that reinforce my own experiences.

It is sad, but joyous at the same time. The parallel between some of the American bishops the Pharisees in Jesus' time are perfect. If you don't think the Pharisees exist today, read it here. Aroyyo mentions names, and properly so. But, the joyous part of this book, is to see God mightly at work with someone the world would normally think totally incapable of doing it. God likes using people with little education and making them smarter than the rest of the world. I can say that, I have a earned Ph.D., and I don't think I'm 1/12 as smart or led of God as people like Mother Angelica or my good friend Steve Ray (who, although he has only a formal high school education has written a book being used by seminaries.)

There's a big lesson in all this. Obey God. Give yourself totally to him. Be smart. Study where you can, and learn lessons. And, as in Mother's case, see the great value of physical suffering. If Christ had to suffer the way he did to change the world, doesn't it make sense that we have to be open to it as well.

Read this book. It should change your life, or give you hope. If it does neither, you're dead.


  1. Great post. I'll be reading the book after a few others I have going at present. I love Mother A.

    As far as college degrees go, my heroes are the 'wise' such as St. Faustina, with only a 3rd or 4th grade education. St. Therese,a Doctor of the Church with no college degree, or St. John Vianney, considered too 'dumb' to be a priest. Or perhaps the children of Fatima, or St. Bernadette and most of the seers and visionaries whom Our Lady deigns to be "open" and "receptive" to her messages. That gives a very average high school grad like me much hope. : )

  2. As for the American Catholic Church, it's as Mother Teresa said:

    "In the West there is loneliness, which I call the leprosy of the West. In many ways it is worse than our poor in Calcutta." (Commonweal, Dec 19, 1997)

    You're so right about the American Catholic Church, Stan. The arrogance of some in the hierarchy is appalling, and yet, the wheat and the tares are growing along side until the High Priest of all, and the Divine husbandman 'weeds the garden' on that final day.

    As for suffering,if we say we're followers of Christ and refuse our crosses, our sufferings or try to be 'rid of them' with a pill and a prayer,well, then I'd say we're fooling ourselves and that is extremely sobering!