Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, dead at 92

Mother Angelica, founder of the Alabama-based Eternal Word Television Network, died Sunday at the age of 92, according to the network.

Her death on Easter came after a struggle with the "after effects of a stroke," EWTN said in a statement on the network’s website.

“Mother has always and will always personify EWTN, the network that God asked her to found,” said EWTN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Warsaw said in a statement. “Her accomplishments and legacies in evangelization throughout the world are nothing short of miraculous and can only be attributed to divine Providence and her unwavering faithfulness to Our Lord.”

Mother Angelica was born in Canton, Ohio in 1923 as Rita Antoinette Rizzo. At just 21 years of age, she entered the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland on Aug. 15, 1944.

She received her religious name – Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, a year later.

She launched EWTN in 1981 in Irondale, Ala. The Catholic satellite network provides 24-hour-a-day programming for 144 countries with nearly 400 employees.

“We have all lost a friend, a mentor, a spiritual mother, a voice of conscience, and a source of laughter and encouragement,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life in a statement. “I was able to thank her again personally for all she has done when I said Mass in her room just two weeks ago on March 13th and blessed her with a first class relic of Pope Saint John Paul II.”

"Her voice and her message will be with us for a long time,” Pavone said. “Thanks to the continued growth of the media apostolate she founded -- an apostolate in which we eagerly participate -- people will be able to learn and laugh with Mother Angelica for many years to come. We should all recommit ourselves today to echoing her messages," he added.

Reverend Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama, said in a statement of WBRC-TV, "Mother Angelica brought the truth and the love and the life of the Gospel of Jesus to so many people, not only to our Catholic household of faith, but to many thousands of people who are not Catholic, in that beautiful way she had of touching lives, bringing so many people into the Catholic Faith."

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