They say God works in mysterious ways, but no one would have predicted He would choose a Poor Clare nun with no broadcasting experience to build a media empire.
EWTN’s future foundress was born on April 20, 1923. Young Rita Rizzo experienced two miracles that would shape her later life. Through them, she realized God loved her personally, and she began to love him back. In 1944, she entered a convent and became Sister Mary Angelica. After a series of crippling ailments, she promised God if He would allow her to walk again, she would start a monastery in the South.
In those early days, survival was a challenge for Our Lady of the Angels monastery in Irondale, Alabama. To support their work, the sisters sold fishing lures and roasted peanuts, and Mother Angelica gave parlor talks, using her wit and charm to win over the audience. As she gained popularity, Mother was frequently invited to speak to groups or on radio. But it was on a visit to a Baptist run television station in Chicago where she famously declared “Lord, I gotta have one of these.”
Armed with only $200, and 12 cloistered nuns with no television background, Mother turned the monastery’s garage into a television studio. In 1981, EWTN went on the air as the country’s first Catholic satellite television station. Mother became a television star hosting a popular and still running show, “Mother Angelica Live.” Despite innumerable challenges and millions in debt, the network grew supported only by viewer contributions.
Today, EWTN is the largest Catholic media corporation in the world. Its 11 TV channnels are broadcast in multiple languages to over 425 million TV households in more than 160 countries and territories. With extensive efforts in newsgathering, radio, newspapers, websites and publishing, it spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a worldwide audience desperately searching for the Truth.
All because of one nun who refused to take “no” for an answer, and instead relied on God to provide.