|Mother Angelica (far right) at age 19 with the mystic Rhoda Wise|
In a miraculous instant, Mother Angelica tosses away both crutches and leg braces that she wore for 42 years.
By: Glenn Dallaire, May 2015
***UPDATE: Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016: Mother Angelica was called from this life today, Easter Sunday, to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from on-high. It is providential and a sign that she passed on the great feast of Easter. God arranges such things to encourage us and support our faith. May her soul rest in peace! "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants." (Psalm 116)
Through the ever popular long-running television series "Mother Angelica Live", many people throughout the world are very familiar with Mother M. Angelica, the foundress of the global Catholic television network EWTN. Many viewers of her network (this writer included) may recall some of the details of the miraculous healing that she received back in 1998 through the intercession of an Italian mystic named Paola Albertini--although at that time she fervently endeavored to keep most of the details of her miraculous healing under wraps.
What was known at the time was that on January 28, 1998, while saying the 4th decade of rosary with the mystic Paola Albertini, she went from using two crutches and wearing leg braces on BOTH legs, to tossing both crutches and leg braces aside, to having two restored legs and walking completely normal. We will delve more into this remarkable cure later in this article, but what most people do not know is that Mother Angelica was actually miraculously cured on another occasion some 54 years previously---that is, when she was only 19 years old.
|Rita Rizzo (Mother Angelica)|
In January of 1943, when Mother Angelica (Rita Antoinette Rizzo) was age nineteen, she suffered from a painful condition known as "dropped" stomach, which involved a bulging lump in her lower stomach which made it extremely difficult for her to eat, and caused her to wear a tight corset around her waist to help mitigate the pain. The story of her miraculous healing is recounted in the book "Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles” by Raymond Arroyo.
To summarise the story, the young Rita Rizzo [Mother Angelica] was at her wits end because of the severe pain that she was experiencing in her stomach. Thankfully, a sympathetic friend brought her to a Ohio mystic and stigmatic named Rhoda Wise on January 8, 1943. (Those interested in reading more about Rhoda Wise can read the article I wrote about her here). At this providential meeting, Rhoda told young Rita Rizzo to make a Novena (9 days of prayer) seeking the holy intercession of St Therese of Lisieux, and she gave her a Novena prayer pamphlet to St Therese to recite, asking the intercession of St. Therese for a cure for her stomach illness. On the last day of the Novena to St Therese, that is precisely on Sunday, January 17, 1943 Rita Rizzo woke up in the middle of the night with a strong, sharp pains in her stomach -
"It seemed like something was pulling my stomach out", she later stated.
When she arose later that Sunday morning, she immediately thought of putting on the corset around her waist as she was often obliged to do to avert the pain, but she "heard" and inner voice telling her to get up, and then suddenly she realized that the usual pain was gone, and that she was miraculously cured. She looked into the mirror and indeed the bluish color around her waist and also the bulging lump on her lower abdomen was completely gone. And time has shown this cure to be permanent because over the many passing decades the stomach pain and swelling has never returned.
Concerning this first miraculous healing she stated:
"When the Lord came in and healed me I had a whole different attitude. I knew that God knew me and loved me and was interested in me. I didn’t know that before. All I wanted to do after my healing was give myself to Jesus.”
Mother Angelica's second miraculous cure
Before we begin the recounting of the story of Mother Angelica's second cure, it is important to point out a very public doctrinal tussle that was occurring at the time of her healing, because it seems to have played quite a large part in her miraculous cure. The doctrinal tussle was with the very liberal Cardinal Roger Mahony, who at that time was the Archbishop of Los Angeles.
When Cardinal Mahony issued a pastoral letter which to Mother Angelica watered down the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, Mother Angelica critiqued him, point-by-point, on her television program. Here the reader should remember that throughout the 25 years of his heading up the Los Angeles diocese, Cardinal Mahony was notorious for his support of various liberal agendas, such as his very public support for the homosexual "Rainbow Sash" movement, where at one Mass for example where there were some of the Rainbow Sash members present, he made an announcement encouraging them to come to the altar to receive Holy Communion. Additionally, unlike a number of other Bishops in the USA, he refused to withhold Communion to politicians who supported abortion rights. In fact, Cardinal Mahony had publicly celebrated such politicians, such as in 2005 when he held an an inauguration in the Diocesan cathedral for a pro-abortion mayor elect Antonio Villaraigosa, while just outside the cathedral some devout Catholic pro-life advocates who were protesting this inauguration were being escorted off the premises by Cathedral security guards.
On another occasion, Cardinal Mahony refused to give Communion on the tongue to a young woman saying to her "No, this isn't done here." Fortunately, Cardinal Mahony was eventually publicly disciplined and sanctioned in 2013--albeit after his retirement in 2011--by his successor Archbishop Jose Gomez, who dealt a humiliating and rare blow from one Bishop to another by censuring and removing Cardinal Mahony of all of his administrative and public duties, primarily for his role in covering up and protecting pedophile and actively homosexual priests during his tenure as Archbishop.
But going back to Mother Angelica's doctrinal battle with Cardinal Mahony over his not very zealous thoughts on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, insiders have reported how the Cardinal went ballistic with anger over Mother Angelica's criticisms, of which she flatly refused to offer any apology, even when Cardinal Mahony's machinations with a few other liberal Bishops got her threatened with interdict (the loss of the Sacraments) and the possible closure of the religious Community she founded.
It was during this very public confrontation with Cardinal Mahony that the second miraculous cure in the life of Mother Angelica occurred. She was 74 years old. The story is told in the book "Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles” by Raymond Arroyo.
The story begins in the few days prior to the actual day of her healing, when there came to the monastery an Italian mystic named Paola Albertini along with a translator and two other friends who came asking to meet with Mother Angelica. Mother normally shunned such requests, and besides she was quite busy running the TV and radio networks, along with the religious Community which she had founded. However, at Paola and her companions repeated insistence, Mother Angelica eventually agreed to meet with her briefly on January 27, 1998.
|Purported Italian mystic Paola Albertini|
But going now back to the story, after some initial conversation, Paola--through her Italian translator-- requested that she and Mother Angelica should recite the Rosary together the following day. Reluctantly, Mother Angelica agreed to recite rosary with Paola after her live television show at 8pm the following evening, that is on January 28, 1998.
After the "Mother Angelica Live" show, Mother Angelica met with her in her office and together they began reciting the Glorious Mysteries--Paola in Italian and Mother in Latin. At the Fourth decade, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary into heaven, Paola raised her eyes towards a portrait on the wall above Mothers desk of St Francis reaching up towards the crucified Christ. Sister Mary Claire who was present at that moment stated that suddenly there are was a "bright glow" surrounding the portrait, and Paola announced that "Our Lady is here".
Paola then gave a message to Mother Angelica purportedly from the Blessed Virgin Mary:
"What joy you give to the Heart of Jesus your beloved Spouse!....Defend the holy Eucharist even with your own life. Yes, Jesus still today is being made a fool of and sneered at..... I bless this location; I bless you, my daughter, and with so much love I tell you: Don't stop! Go forword for the love of Jesus, unperturbed along the way that Jesus traced for you since you were in your maternal womb..."
While they then continued praying the fourth decade together, Mother Angelica had a sudden "feeling" that God wished to heal her. She then said to herself interiorly:
"Lord, all of these years You have used me as a comfort and an example for all of the handicapped and crippled. If You want to change this it is okay with me".
Moments later, Paola asked if she could pray for Mother. When Mother Angelica consented, Paola fell to her knees and recited a prayer in Italian. After several minutes, Paola then requested that Mother remove both of her leg braces.
It should be noted here that while she was a young novice religious some 42 years prior to this miraculous event, Mother Angelica had severely injured her spine with a floor buffer machine, while waxing and polishing a floor. This painful injury made it necessary for Mother Angelica to wear leg braces on both legs, and along with this it also necessitated the use of two crutches, thus allowing her to walk only with great difficulty.
In obedience to Paola's request, Mother Angelica unfastened both of her leg braces and then motioned to Sister Agnes to remove both of her shoes. Sr. Agnes did so very reluctantly, because she was worried that Mother would fall without her leg braces. Sr. Agnes was quite justified in in her concern because as she herself stated: "I had seen her try to walk [in the past]; her foot was just floppy. It would drag."
Paola then took Mother Angelica by the hands, and led her across the floor, as a mother would do for her young child first learning to walk. The nuns accompanying Mother very nervously walked on both sides of her, worried that she would fall. Suddenly Mother faltered with her feet flopping inwards. "Come! Do not be afraid" Paola stated full of confidence.
"I walked to the door", Mother recalled, "and then I had a hard time turning around, because both legs were going every which way".
"Let her be!" the mystic shouted to the nuns, who were trying to hold Mother up.
"Mother, let's not do this" Sister Agnes then pleaded.
"Agnes, I feel this warmth in my ankles. Do not be afraid." Mother Angelica replied, as she continued to move towards Paola.
Her legs became more and more stable as she walked across the room, her feet and legs straightening into the proper position, the weakened muscles regenerating and strengthening with every moment. When Mother Angelica paused for a moment, Paola placed a crucifix on her back and her legs. "Lets walk" she then ordered. Mothers wobbliness and unbalance was now gone and she walked almost normal, unlike she had done in 42 years. She then opened the door and peered out at the security guards down the hall and stated:
"Look no braces and no crutches!"
In a burst of sudden (and quite understandable!) exhilaration she took the hands of a visiting guest who happened to be passing by at that moment, and to his great amazement she spun about the studio kitchen with him, radiant with joy. She then bounded up the television studio platform, which only an hour earlier she could not possibly make it onto without assistance.
And so we see that it was God's will to heal only her legs, but to leave the back injury as it was---this "thorn" and its accompanying suffering, perhaps to show once again that suffering has a purpose and meaning for those who accept it and offer it to God. "For we know that all things work for the good of those who love God" (Romans 8:28).
With her trademark humor, that night Mother Angelica said to the EWTN TV audience that she had trouble remembering what to do with her arms while she walked, after 42 years of using them to maneuver her crutches. But, she said, "I think you're supposed to swing them, so I have begun doing so". She also showed off her new-found strength by executing a few dance steps for the EWTN television live audience.
"I never asked for this healing," she said. "I was convinced that it was an apostolate for me."
And she also added: "I think we forget that the Rosary is powerful."
During this same live broadcast of "Life on the Rock" with Jeff Cavins which occurred the night after her healing Mother Angelica stated: "The purpose of this healing is to increase the faith of viewers and employees at the Network. He [Jesus] did it for you,” she said, and in a veiled allusion to the doctrinal scuffle with Cardinal Mahony she stated:
"Never in the history of the world has there been so much blasphemy, disbelief, error, schism and cruelty towards the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Father is going to make up for that, and Our Lady is going to make up for that in a brand-new way."
Mother Angelica also cautioned that others with physical pain and illness should not necessarily expect miraculous healing. Instead, she said that when medical means cannot produce healing, people should “offer up” their pain “as a way of saving souls.”
For his part, Cardinal Mahony's spokesman, Father Gregory Coiro stated "I have been telling people in jest that the healing [of Mother Angelica] was for my benefit, so I cannot be accused anymore of criticizing a crippled nun."
Nevertheless, to this writer and to most others Mother Angelica's remarkable healing and the accompanying purported message of the Blessed Virgin Mary made it quite evident whose side God was on in this doctrinal dispute between the traditional nun and the liberal Cardinal.
|A young Rita Rizzo (Mother Angelica)|
"What I saw were muscular legs with a rounded calves, and not the legs they should have been at her age and activity level. These were the legs of someone who had walked a lot."
After hearing the surprising story from his colleagues, Dr. Richard May, a Birmingham internist, examined Mother Angelica's legs quite unobtrusively (without her really recognizing the reason) while she was in the hospital for another matter.
To Raymond Arroyo, he then described both him and Dr. Patten as being "...cynical curmudgeons: A Methodist and an Episcopalian not given to rush after miracles."
Mother Angelica is currently 92 years old and is living in the monastery she founded in Hanceville, Alabama. In late summer 2001 she fell and broke her arm, and then shortly afterwards she suffered a series of debilitating strokes late in 2001, the first one beginning right after the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, culminating with a severe stroke on Christmas Eve 2001. Currently (as of May 2015) she has been bedridden for the past 6 years. Back in 1945, after one of her visions, Rhoda Wise, the mystic in Ohio who helped to obtain Mother Angelica's (then Rita Rizzo) first miraculous cure, sent a message to the newly veiled Sister Angelica. She wrote: “Tell Rita that every little worry will be erased from her heart. For each insult, each heartache, more stars.”
-Those interested can read the news of the passing of Mother M. Angelica on Easter Sunday here , as posted by EWTN and her fellow nuns at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.
|Combination St Padre Pio /St Gemma Galgani relic locket rosary|
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