Rita Antoinette Rizzo, the Catholic nun who later took the name Angelica, was born on this day. She is popularly known as Mother Angelica. She is famous for launching the world’s largest Catholic television network -EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). Indeed, EWTN is allegedly the world’s largest religious media network.
Mother Angelica was born in the United States, to parents of Italian origin, as is evident from her former surname Rizzo. She spent her childhood in poverty during the Great Depression. At the age of 21 she entered the Order of Poor Clares, specifically its branch in the United States, called the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (PCPA).
In 1980 Angelica organized a television studio in the garage behind her monastery. On the Feast of the Assumption, 15 August 1981, they got a cable channel under the name EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network). They broadcast via satellite to cable companies and into homes. Also, viewers could watch the EWTN program using their own satellite dishes.
At first they broadcast only from 19:00 to 24:00. They had a live talk show hosted by Mother Angelica, children’s Christian programs, and a variety of shows produced by Catholic groups. They televised the praying of the rosary, but also shows about cooking, and even some westerns.
Since 1985, the EWTN began to broadcast 12 hours a day, and since 1987 a full 24 hours a day. From the year 1991, they have also held the Mass every day. Sadly, Mother Angelica suffered a stroke in 2001, and she no longer performs regularly on television. She received the medal “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” from the pope and was named the most influential Catholic in the United States.