Oct 5, 2009 / 15:12 pm
Pope Benedict XVI has awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal to Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network and also EWTN executive Deacon Bill Steltemeier. The medal is the highest honor the Pope can bestow upon laity and religious.
Bishop of Birmingham Robert J. Baker conferred the awards in a brief ceremony following Sunday benediction at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama.
Noting that yesterday was the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Bishop Baker recalled the lasting impact that the Italian saint made on the renewal of the Church. He then remarked that “We also have the privilege of acknowledging the contributions to our Church of another person in the great Franciscan tradition, whose link to St. Francis is through St. Clare … Mother Angelica.”
Mother Mary Angelica, 86, is a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration who founded Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Irondale, Alabama in 1961. She began EWTN in a garage on the monastery property in 1981. In 1999 she relocated the monastery to the grounds of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville.