That garage, by the way, still stands. It’s now a control room on EWTN’s Irondale campus.
2. A surprise in the Yellow Pages
After deciding to go her own way and build a television station, Mother Angelica sought to expand into the still-nascent world of cable and satellite television. She was told that to do this, she’d need a satellite dish, a license, and a lawyer.
She was advised to get the lawyer first.
Mother Angelica’s birth name was Rita Antoinette Rizzo, and both of her parents were of Italian heritage. So perhaps it’s not too surprising that when she was presented with a list of Washington, DC-based attorneys to potentially help her get a license to broadcast, she immediately was drawn to the one with the extremely Italian name: Bob Corazzini.
“She said, well, Bob's an Italian, he's gotta be a good guy. Let me give Bob a call,” Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Network, recounted to CNA. “And so she phoned Bob at his Washington, DC office and explained that she was Mother Angelica, a cloistered nun in Birmingham, Alabama, and she wanted to start a cable television and satellite programming network.”
Warsaw said that Mother Angelica was met with stunned silence on the other end of the line. So she repeated herself.
“And finally Bob said, 'well, okay',” said Warsaw.
What Mother Angelica had no idea of knowing at the time was that Bob Corazzini was not only a lawyer in Washington, but he also was a lawyer who exclusively did communications law. And as luck--or perhaps Providence--would have it, he would actually be heading to Atlanta in the near future to meet with a client, and he would be able to meet with her in nearby Birmingham.
(That client, naturally, was Ted Turner, and Corazzini was heading to Atlanta to discuss the formation of a small little television network called “CNN.”)
3. The satellite dish
Having secured a lawyer, Mother Angelica then turned to the next big hurdle in breaking into the world of cable television: obtaining satellite dishes.
Satellite dishes are, as one can imagine, expensive. And an order of cloistered nuns is, as one can imagine, not exactly swimming in cash.
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So Mother Angelica did the totally rational thing of ordering the satellite dishes and saying that she would pay for them when they were delivered. And then began to pray. Big time.
“And finally the [delivery] day came and the truck driver called and said, ‘I've got your satellite dish. You need to have a check for me before I can offload it for you.’ And she said, ‘well, come to the property,’ knowing that she didn't have the money,” Warsaw told CNA.
“And so she, as she did in all things, when things got difficult, she went to the chapel and she went before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. And she said, ‘you know, Lord, I guess I've messed this up.’”
Mother Angelica thought that perhaps she had not fully understood God’s will, and out of desperation, prayed “is there anything you could do to help me with this?”
One of Mother Angelica’s nuns came to the chapel, saying that there was a man on the phone who wanted to speak to her. Initially, Mother Angelica brushed her off, and then changed her mind and answered the call.