An Interview Like "Nun" Other!
by Timothy Mason
Mother Angelica is a woman with a message, and as the founder of the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN), the largest Catholic communications network in the world, she is in a unique position to spread that message to anyone who has access either to a satellite dish or to an Internet connection.
When Mother Angelica and I sat down for our conversation at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in Hanceville Alabama, I was met with a message of healing and a message of knowing Christ.
I would like to thank Mother Angelica for taking the time to speak with me and for sharing her faith and life with the world and with us.
Onerock: Looking back, how has God been working in your life?
Mother Angelica: Awesomely!
Onerock: Have you been able to see God's direction throughout your life?
Mother Angelica: Yeah, I've been Catholic all my life, but my parents were divorced when I was six. After that, I only saw my dad seven more times, but it ended good. I went to Catholic school, I never got along with the nuns, but I was kind of in and out every six months. So finally, in sixth grade, my mother took me out and I went to public school. [Life] was very difficult for us. I think she must have loved my father a lot, and she cried every day. We just had a very difficult time. I remember one time we used the same tea bag for an entire week. After a week, it doesn't taste too good. I went to Mass once in a while, as good Italians do. They will fight for the pope, but they don't go to Mass. But I didn't know the Lord. I knew of him, but I didn't know him.
Then I got very sick with a stomach obstruction. We were very poor, and the poor don't just call a doctor and say, "I'm sick." My mother met a woman and it was said that she was cured of cancer and that our Lord had spoken to her. She was known to have the stigmata. She said to my mother, "Why don't you bring her over here and she can sit in the chair our Lord sat in? She can say a prayer and maybe she will be healed."
We went over there and it was a "shot gun"' house. I went in and I talked to her. She was very nice, very kind. It was a little kitchen chair our Lord sat on. She gave me a prayer to the Little Flower and she said, "Say that for nine days."
After the ninth day, I knew I was cured. I went into the kitchen, because we were living with my grandmother, and I said, "I'm cured!" Italian grandmothers don't take things like that well. My mother saw me getting dressed and asked where I was going. I told her I was going to Mass. She said, "We don't have a car, you can't walk three miles in the snow." I said, "Yes, I can." I went to Mass and I came home and have been ever since.
I went to Catholic school. The sisters were good sisters, and I think they probably talked to me about Jesus, but I didn't know him at all. I didn't know that He loves me. He healed me, and I don't know why. It was the beginning of God's intervention in my life, with no merit on my part.
Eventually I had to wait until I was twenty-one to enter the convent in Cleveland. When I got to Cleveland, that's where I entered, the average postulancy was six months, and mine was fifteen months because I was always sick. They would send me home. In those days, if you couldn't kneel, you didn't have it. So, when I got off my knees they would look like grapefruit they were so swollen. [My knees] hurt so bad that I went to the infirmary, and said, "My knees hurt." [The nun] said, "I know they do, but if you can't kneel, they are going to send you home." So finally the bishop asked me, "Do you really want to stay here?" I said yes and he gave me six more months, no longer.
Soon this couple from my hometown donated this huge estate to have a monastery that was for [Eucharistic] Adoration. Well, it was because of those terrible knees that they sent me to the foundation, which they never do. They never send novices on a foundation. And so, all along the way from that day to today, He has had his hand in my life.
Do you like the Chapel?
Onerock: I love the chapel.
Mother Angelica: I hope that the chapel, the Temple make people look at themselves and mostly at God. The castle, I hope, because we have knights in there and it looks very much like the 13th century, will give them courage, and strength for them to fight the Good Battle. I would like the youth especially to become knowledgeable of valor and chivalry, and of all the things that young men should be. I would like to show them that there is something else better to know that there is something greater and more wonderful available.
Onerock: You mentioned that earlier in your life, you experienced something that has become an epidemic in today's society. When you were six, your parents were divorced. How did you get past that? How did you move beyond the hurt?
Mother Angelica: I can't say it was God because I didn't know him. I felt that when I was six, I had to really take care of my mother. She would cry every day. I did very poorly in school. When I say that I worked hard for my F's, I mean it. I think God watched over me without me knowing it. I had major adult problems, very young. And that's what has happened, there are so many problems that are greater, and above and beyond our age. I would say today and I would encourage those with divorced parents to look at things the way they are. You've got to go with the one who loves you.
I wished that the sisters had said to me at one point or another, I wish that someone "of the cloth", as the Irish say, had said to me, "Sweetheart, I can't change your life, but Jesus loves you, hang in there."
Nobody wants sympathy, but I think we all need it. Not pity. This is something different. We all need sympathy, meaning, "I know what you are suffering, I appreciate that you are suffering." I think at times we get so caught up in the world that the things that really come from the heart seem weak when they are really strong.
I would say to you, don't go wild. That isn't going to help you. Don't try and forget, because it's there. You can't lament, "My father doesn't love me," or "My mother doesn't love me." You have to go to the one who does.
It's so widespread now that in a classroom, there are very few that have what you would call a "nice" family. Something's got to change and it's going to change. I've got great confidence in you. People could change if they are challenged and they begin to know Jesus. Know Jesus. Know Mary.
For more information on Mother Angelica, you can check out EWTN.com, Homepage of the Eternal World Television Network.