Sunday, April 29, 2018
Rita grew up poor, as her abusive father abandoned her. She stayed poor by joining a contemplative order, The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. Then she had spine surgery that threatened her ability even to walk. Well, forget about her, right? Bad luck and anonymity in a cloistered order. She would become someone who could not do much because she did not have much. Rita had other ideas and would not let her "life" deter her. She did walk again. So she goes and founds a monastery in Alabama, Baptist Country. From here she begins to write inspirational booklets that seem to catch on. She does not stop there. Impressed by the Baptist entry into television, she decides to produce a TV show for a local station. She knows nothing about TV producing, but does it and gets a local station in Baptist country to air it. Mind you, this was a poor kid, no advantages of education, money or connections who just does stuff. She is not done. In 1978 with a mere $200 and twelve cloistered nuns, all with no TV experience, turn the monastery garage into a television studio. Thus is born Eternal Word Television Network, known as EWTN. The Catholic Church with all its bishops, committees, expertise, connections and money could never figure out how to do something on this scale in TV. Rita showed that committees rarely start anything. They more often keep things from starting. Oh, you may know her by her TV name, Mother Angelica.