Mother Angelica: Our Friend and Collaborator

The Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, extend our deepest condolences to our friends at EWTN on the death of Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. Our love, thoughts, and prayers are with you and the congregation of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.

In the following tribute, Fr. Joe Roesch, MIC, the Marians' vicar general in Rome, shares what Mother Angelica meant to the Marian Fathers and to the world.

The following is the transcript of our tribute, written by staff writer Chris Sparks:

The Changing of the Guard
It's a very difficult thing to say goodbye to someone of the stature of Mother Angelica. There's a certain sense on Catholic media right now that the life of the party has just left, just stepped out into the night.

She helped the Church hold the line in the face of a million and one changes of culture, of society, of assumptions about morality and human nature, about the very possibility of coming to know the truth. She stepped up to defend the Holy Father and the faith when even portions of the Church seemed to be in disarray. She helped give us the present generation of apologists and evangelists, authors and speakers, a rich heritage of revitalized cradle Catholics and zealous converts alike carrying on now in her stead. All of this and so much more came from the legacy of one cloistered nun with a great heart for God.

It's like the passing of St. John Paul II, really: There's the sense that one of the greats has ended their time here on earth, one whose legacy was and is immense, whose impact will be felt for decades to come. We are witnessing the changing of the guard, the old watch stepping aside, having done their duty and done it remarkably well.

Also like St. John Paul II, Mother Angelica was a great friend of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception and a devoted promoter of the Divine Mercy message and devotion given through St. Faustina Kowalska. "The relationship started quite early," recalled the Very Rev. Fr. Kazimierz Chwalek, MIC, provincial superior for the Marian Fathers in the United States and Argentina. "We really collaborated on promoting the Divine Mercy. Mother Angelica's heart was really open to it." In 1985, for instance, she invited Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, then head of the Divine Mercy apostolate for the Marian Fathers, to come on her show and talk about Divine Mercy, calling it her "favorite devotion."

The show was the prelude to a nine-part presentation on the Divine Mercy Novena, running from Good Friday to the Feast of Mercy, the Second Sunday of Easter. During that first show, Mother Angelica said, "I think the network is the first one to be able to offer this novena to the people. I'm just so thrilled over that."

In 1989, Divine Mercy Sunday was filmed on Eden Hill and run for the first time on EWTN; in 1990, the first live broadcast on EWTN of the Mercy Sunday celebrations at Stockbridge took place, a tradition which continues on April 3, 2016, Divine Mercy Sunday and this year's Jubilee for those Devoted to Divine Mercy Spirituality. A few years later, it was at Mother Angelica's prompting that the praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet was filmed at the National Shrine, a program which has run regularly on EWTN ever since. "She ran the Chaplet three or four times a day" at one point, remembered Fr. Kaz. "There was an unspoken communion of mission."

That communion of mission between the Marian Fathers and EWTN continues on shows such as Women of Grace, EWTN Bookmark, and Franciscan University Presents, among others; in special presentations such as the Knights of Columbus' Guadalupe: The Miracle and the Message, in which Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, is one of the experts on Mary to share about one of the greatest apparitions of all time, and You Did It to Me: Putting Mercy Into Action, the series hosted by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC.

That communion of mission makes it all the more powerful that Mother Angelica died on Easter Sunday, in the midst of the Divine Mercy Novena that she so loved and promoted, in the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Mother Angelica has died, and we are all the poorer for the loss. Even throughout her silence these many years since her December stroke in 2001, she still suffered and prayed for EWTN, the Church, and the world.

She still contributed, still lent us all grace through her sufferings fueling her intercession.

Mother Angelica has died. A great light has gone out of the world. Who, then, shall take her place?

In one sense, she's irreplaceable. In another - well, the same Holy Spirit that inspired her, that guided her many apostolic works over the years, that gave power to her prayers and strength to her soul, still works, still abides in the Church. Jesus is still with us in the Blessed Sacrament, and the covenants between God and humanity endure.

Mother herself would certainly call on all of us not to spend too long mourning her, to get on with the work of the day, for the age is dark and there are souls to save. The world, the flesh, and the devil confront us with ever mounting challenges, but where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (see Rom 5:20), and the Lord looks to us to labor in the vineyard, gathering in the souls of all mankind.

So mourn Mother Angelica, and then rise up, people of God, taking up the tools she herself spent so much time using and promoting. Turn to the Sacraments and especially the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to redemptive suffering and the whole war chest of the Church's devotions and prayers, to bring about the conversion of your neighbors, your enemies, your family, and your friends. Steep yourselves in the truths of the faith, in the writings of the saints, in the fullness of Divine Revelation in Scripture and Tradition. Become transformed by the renewal of your mind so that you, like Mother Angelica, can share the fullness of the faith to all you meet.

And pray! Get to know God by spending time with Him. Become more like God by immersing yourself in His Word and His Eucharistic Presence, by loving as He loves and doing as He did: proclaim liberty to the captives of sin, death, and hell; bring sight to the blind; let the oppressed go free; and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord (see Lk 4:18).

Love the Lord as Mother Angelica did, and we shall not feel her loss too keenly, for there shall be a thousand more like her springing up within the Church to spread the Gospel to all nations. Imitate her fidelity to God's call, and we shall all be blessed.

Let us pray:

Eternal rest grant unto Mother Angelica, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May she, and all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


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