Apr 19, 2013
On April 20, Mother Angelica will celebrate her 90thbirthday. She was born defeated. That is, the child of an unhappy marriage.When she was still a child her father left her mother. The latter helpless anddistraught was incapable of coping with this tragic situation. She and hersmall daughter lived in utter poverty. How devastating for an alert little girl to realize at an early age,that she was the fruit of a marriage that should not have taken place. Her existencewas not “justified,” for all of us know deep down that the marital embraceshould be an expression of love. Later she was granted the grace of defeatingdefeat. Like St. Francis of Assisi she will declare God to be her father.
Although going to a Catholic school, she was not given the lovingattention she needed for many of the nuns did not understand the plight of achild of divorcees. Her life was dim indeed. But one day, as she miraculouslyescaped from a deadly accident, she understood that God loved her and had givenher life for a reason. She decided to become a nun even though she had toovercome the opposition of her mother who heavily depended upon her.
A convent of Poor Clares in Ohio accepted her, even thoughshe did not have much to offer: neither an outstanding education, nor anymoney.
She was given menial tasks. Once while cleaning a parlor,her foot got caught in the cord of the vacuum. She fell backwards, and theearly prognostic was bleak indeed: it seemed that she would be crippled forlife. (For more on this, read Raymond Arroyo’s outstanding book). God had hisplans, and even though she had to wear braces and walk on crutches, shedefeated defeat once again. She lived a “normal” nun’s life. That went on forquite a while, and then she felt the calling to found a Poor Clare Convent in theDeep South, in Alabama where the percentage of Catholics is minimal. She had toconvince her superior who understandably raised many objections. One of themwas money. But refusing to be defeated, Mother Angelica – apart from makingfish flies – invented all sorts of modest means of earning the sum needed forthis wild project. Once again, she won. As a matter of fact, she achievedanother amazing victory; her mother entered the monastery and joined the tinycommunity.